TACKLING ACADEMIC CHALLENGES- Parents of College Bound Students

            In the midst of the flurry of activities with life, work and a child’s school and outside activities, parents may or may not immediately notice if there are certain areas in which a student’s academic performance is slipping a bit.  In some cases, this can happen so incrementally that there is barely any attention paid to it until the end of a semester, when the performance becomes part of the academic record!  Certainly, report cards are useful in this regard, although many times kids might not feel overly excited about this.  Each term or semester, the report card provides an assessment of where your child is currently in his or her academic progress.  If there is slippage, then obviously the grades will indicate this.  When parents receive the report card and notice that their child’s grades are not where they had anticipated they would be… then it is indicator that it is certainly time to make some positive changes. 

Now, while report cards are useful in this regard, it is far better to find ways to adjust to academic changes “on the fly.”  This is because fixing an academic challenge in mid-term allows the student to positively affect the actual grade that is reported onto his or her transcript, rather than waiting until the damage is done and then fixing things for the next semester or term.  Naturally, staying abreast of the academic climate during the school year – and not only on vacation – requires a little bit more effort and communication, both on the part of the parent and the student.

Fortunately, this may be easier than most people think.  There are several things that a parent and student can do.  First and foremost, it is vital to maintain communication with your student, as well as with the high school teachers or administration.  You can schedule a meeting with parent, student, and teacher.  By having all three parties present, there is less room for misunderstandings or misinformation.  We do recommend asking the teacher directly what his or her recommendations are, because in many cases this alone can remedy the situation.  History has shown that if grade performance is quickly assessed and addressed, the problem can often fix itself. 

However, if more intervention is needed then it might be time to enlist some reinforcements.  Tutors and instructors may be willing to advise and help in just about any subject.  Some schools even offer peer-to-peer tutoring.  There might be an arrangement that can be made directly with the teacher of the class or classes that are in need of attention.  If the teacher is willing, your child could schedule regular appointments to go over areas of the subject that he or she has been struggling with.  All in all, if you tackle this issue in the middle of the semester then the long-term results are generally far more positive!

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