Tips for Helping Your Teen Make Freshman Year Great

By Huntington Learning Center

In what probably feels like a blink, your child became a teenager and a high school student. Freshman year is a time of transition, which might take your teen by surprise. How can you help them start high school off on the right foot and make it a successful year? Here are a few tips:

  • Talk about the importance of grades. Middle school was a trial run in many ways, but in high school, grades truly matter. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is cumulative, which means that a low grade on that freshman year report card will stay with your teen for the remaining four years of high school. Talk with your teen about how critical it is to work hard from day one freshman year. Remind them that grades are one of the top factors considered by college admission officers.
  • Have your teen create a strong organizational system. There’s no room for poor organization in high school. Your teen will be responsible for staying on top of several classes, including all notes, assignments, due dates, and papers passed out in class. Set up solid routines at home like nightly tidying of their desk or workspace, and encourage your teen to create a system for keeping the backpack and binders organized. If your teen attended orientation and received a school agenda or planner, help them learn how to use it effectively.
  • Establish open communication. The next few years will be filled with change for your teen, and as exciting as that can be, it does bring some stress as well. And with many schools starting remotely, your teen’s high school career might not exactly be starting off how they envisioned. Assure your teen that you’re there to listen and offer support, whether school challenges arise or remote learning proves difficult.
  • Talk about when to ask for help. High school might have some bumps in the road, but your teen needs to realize that problems can quickly go from small to huge if left uncorrected. Remind your teen of the consequences of falling behind in high school and talk about how important it is to establish a good relationship with teachers. When your teen struggles, they should ask for help – sooner than later. If needed, you can explore one-to-one tutoring to correct any skill gaps caused by the COVID-19 slide.
  • Discuss a good routine. High school students have a lot on their plates. Your teen absolutely must become adept at managing their time by using a planner and calendar and a reliable organizational system. Talk about the best time for your teen to get homework done and how to manage the remote learning schedule effectively.
  • Incorporate some fun. High school is supposed to be filled with new opportunities to explore and meet new people. If your teen is starting out learning from home, it might not feel quite as exciting, so make sure you help them find ways to connect with classmates and get engaged in school life as much as possible. Maybe now is the time to explore a new passion or be creative about getting involved in the high school community. Be positive and encourage your teen to seize opportunities when they arise.

High school is an exciting new chapter and a chance for your teen to start fresh, ignite passions, and take initiative on creating their best future. Help your teen make it a great year in light of the unique circumstances.