What Does it Take to Get a Strong GPA in High School?

By Huntington Learning Center

Parents of brand-new high school students: we know you want to help your student get this adventure off to the right start. Big picture, you know that earning good grades requires effort, but what exactly does it take? Here is some wisdom about achieving a strong GPA in high school to share with your teen:

  • Keep up with the work. The simplest and best advice to share with your new high school student: do the work. Don’t fall behind, and don’t get into bad habits early on (e.g., procrastination). Remind your student that doing homework and assigned reading will make their lives in high school a lot easier, and prioritizing things in their life to stay on top of all school responsibilities is vital to their success.
  • Pay attention. Another simple-but-true tip: stay engaged in class. That means not just listening, but listening actively. Your student should take good notes, check in with themselves as their teachers are talking to ensure they understand material being covered, and ask questions when they don’t. Class participation is a great way to enhance learning.
  • Find the right study techniques. When it comes to studying, no two students are exactly alike, and what works well for one might not work as well for another. Your student should pay attention to how they learn and study best and embrace those methods. Your student might prefer light music or white noise to studying in silence. They might find themselves most focused immediately after school instead of waiting to do hard work later in the evening.
  • Self-advocacy is a must. Your student is probably figuring out already that in high school, learning isn’t passive. There will be times that they will need to reach out to teachers for help outside of class or to guidance counselors for support with their learning. Make sure your student speaks up when they need to. Doing so will help them perform better on homework and tests, thus improving their GPA.
  • Constructive criticism is meant to be helpful. Your student must realize that in high school, teachers will give feedback often, and they must be willing to accept and learn from that feedback. If your student earns a lower grade on an essay, rather than toss it aside in frustration, they should look through the comments provided and reach out to the teacher to understand what they could do better next time. Teachers want your student to succeed!
  • Stick to good habits. Strong students stick to solid habits. Help your student learn to structure their time and use it efficiently so they don’t waste hours on unnecessary tasks. Show them how to set up systems that will keep them on task and focused (e.g., timers, checklists and a planner system). Teach them how to plan ahead for every assignment or project and budget enough time to earn the grades they want to earn. And lastly, make sure your student always reads teacher communications. That’s how they can ensure they meet expectations on homework and are prepared for tests (which will help them earn good grades).

If your student is off to a rocky start—or you’re concerned that they might not have the academic stamina to continue to earn good grades as school gets progressively more challenging—contact Huntington. We offer tutoring programs in subjects ranging from reading to writing, from math to science, that are personalized to meet each student’s individual needs. Reach out today at 1-800 CAN LEARN.