Helping Your Freshman Adjust to High School

Is high school harder than your student thought it would be?

The transition to 9th grade is a big one. Your freshman is a true teenager now, and they’ve got a host of social issues to adapt to in addition to the academic changes. Add a global pandemic and uncertain school environment, and it’s no wonder they (and you) feel overwhelmed!

The Challenges

Let’s break it down. What exactly makes high school so challenging?

Different grading structure. Your student may be surprised to learn that high school courses have fewer grades. Homework may be assigned but not graded, and there’s often more emphasis placed on milestones like papers, tests, and projects. One bad test score can have a bigger effect on your student’s overall GPA.

More scheduling freedom. Students have the ability to self-determine their academic trajectory the moment they choose their freshman-year classes. Teachers do less hand-holding to make sure students complete assignments, and students must budget their time wisely to plan ahead for long-term projects or studying for exams. That’s a lot of moving parts to manage!

Skills gaps show up quickly. The more rigorous environment means it’s harder for your student to gloss over or compensate for any weaknesses. If a student has a tough time focusing or doesn’t have a good study process, it makes school that much harder. And if students don’t fully grasp core concepts now, they’re building on a shaky foundation for the next several years.

COVID-19 challenges. Just like everyone else, students suffer from a disrupted school environment and reduced social interaction during the pandemic. An asynchronous or remote environment can also make it harder to ask questions and clarify concepts with the teacher or fellow students.

The Solutions

Fortunately, there are solutions and ways to manage all of these challenges effectively. The best things a student can do are 1) develop their organizational skills and 2) learn how to ask for help.

Organizational skills cover everything from how your student studies to where they keep their papers. Your student should have a fully-developed study process for learning and reinforcing new material, a calendar that they actually use on a daily basis, and the ability to build and execute on timelines for larger projects to avoid last-minute cramming. Signet’s Guide to Strategic Organization can help develop these key skills.

Asking for help means your child knows how to advocate for themselves, especially in this virtual school environment. Whether they’re reaching out to a teacher, a peer, a school counselor, or a tutor, your student deserves support to help them navigate the challenges of early high school.

As their parent, you may need to advocate for your student, too. If you recognize that your student needs more help than they’re getting or would benefit from a cohesive plan to improve their academic skills, Signet can help.

Our academic coaches use a student-led model, which means we help students set their own goals and then focus on achieving them. Through expert training and coaching, students learn how to make studying more productive and improve their grades—but they also identify what gives school meaning and purpose for them. And when school is enjoyable, students are much more likely to stick with it, even during more difficult periods.

Signet’s academic coaches are especially well-prepared to help with the current school structure. Our team has years of experience in virtual learning environments; all our tutoring is done remotely and is super successful.

If your student needs help getting their academic trajectory back on track, please contact us today! We’re here to help them (and you) deal with the many dimensions of this new reality.

Jay B.

Jay B.

Jay Bacrania is the CEO of Signet Education. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.

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