How to Keep Grades Up Throughout High School

By Huntington Learning Center

There’s a lot of truth to the statement that high school is when students’ grades really start to matter. Middle school lays the groundwork and helps students establish good study habits, but high school is when things count. Teens’ performance (i.e. their academic record) will impact where they go to college, whether they are eligible for scholarships and much, much more.

So, what’s the secret to keeping up those grades? The simple answer is effort, but in reality, it’s a bit more complex than that. Here are five tips for teens striving to keep that GPA high all through high school:

  1. Put school first. Students who treat high school as their highest priority will have the best chance of success. Yes, achieving balance is important, and teens should make time for family, friends and things they like to do (e.g. a favorite sport or club). However, high school is a commitment that requires daily studying and homework—and perseverance when things get difficult.
  2. Get the most out of class. Going to class and paying attention while in class are two obvious musts to do well in high school, but it’s not just about showing up. Teens need to use active listening techniques, participate in class discussions to solidify their knowledge, and take notes that help them retain knowledge later on (which makes for more effective studying).
  3. Be organized. Strong organization is the not-so-secret weapon of high-performing high school students. This includes planner use and maintenance, solid time management, prioritizing of assignments during homework time, and of course, organization of the backpack, locker and any papers kept at home (or stored in a Google Drive or similar). Learn more about how to help children be more organized.
  4. Become a skilled note taker. Effective notes will help students retain information delivered in class and prepare well for quizzes and tests. But not all notes will serve students well. Teens should practice good note-taking habits: by recording meaningful facts, grouping ideas, using their textbook and more. Read more about good note-taking strategies for high school students.
  5. Use teachers as a resource. In high school, students need to make a shift from passive to active learner if they haven’t yet done so. A big part of that is self-advocating to ensure their learning needs are met. Teens should establish relationships with their teachers—and not just for show. They should take advantage of any study sessions and reach out to teachers when they need help.

There’s no doubt that the bar is higher in high school and your teen will need to work hard to keep up and even harder to excel. Rest assured, your teen will do well if he puts forth the effort and embraces these tips. The report card will show those efforts, but even better, your teen will become a more independent, proficient student in time for college.