Want to Finish Strong this Academic Year?

Are you feeling worried or concerned about keeping up your studies? Maybe you’ve lost your motivation or having trouble focusing on school work?

You’re not alone. Without the valuable structure of a classroom environment, many students are drifting through the semester, unsure of what they need to do when.

“”School at home”” looks very different from one family to the next. Some schools are offering a robust curriculum through online classes; others are sending over assignments for students to complete independently; still others are not offering much guidance at all.

It’s important for students to have a routine that keeps them grounded, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. The antidote to not knowing what comes next is to carve out a small piece of life that feels under control.

Keep Your Studying On Track

Consider, for a moment, how much structure was built into the regular school day. You knew exactly where you needed to be and when. If a class met on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, you needed to complete your homework by Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday. Your teachers offered reminders to help you get things done.

Much of that structure and support system is gone now. In its place, we have the brave new world of school at home. It’s disorienting and less than ideal, but it doesn’t mean your academic life has to fall apart.

Instead, have the opportunity to develop a new habit that will continue to benefit you when school gets back to normal. It’s called the On-Track Review. Follow this simple process, developed and used by Signet’s expert academic coaches, to ensure your student is making the most of school, even under these unusual circumstances.

On-Track Review

Some students will be able to move through the On-Track Review independently. Others may need an adult, such as a parent, to hold space and help them navigate this process.

Step 1: Set up a weekly appointment.

Carve out 30-60 minutes every week to complete the On-Track Review. Try to keep the appointment consistent—at the same time and on the same day each week. Build in extra time for the first session, as it may take a little longer to understand how the process works and get caught up.

Step 2: Complete a course scan.

Inventory each of your classes with whatever materials they have available. This may involve learning platforms, emails, downloaded documents, textbooks, etc. For each class, ask the following questions:

    • What happened last week?
    • Is there anything that’s not completed?
    • What’s coming up this week?
Step 3: Create a weekly to-do list.

Using the information from the course scan, create a list of all the things that need to get done for the upcoming week (including any previously assigned tasks you haven’t yet completed). Each item should be as specific as possible (e.g.,, instead of “”Do reading,”” make the task “”Read pages 34-59″”)

Step 4: Assign each task a date for completion.

Get those to-dos locked into a calendar by planning which activities will be completed on which day. Distributing all the tasks in this way helps you even out your workload, get organized, and stay focused throughout the week.

Step 5: Work the plan.

This step is simple: execute the plan you created for yourself.

Step 6: Proactively manage obstacles.

It’s normal to find some assignments confusing or overwhelming. Look ahead at your assignments and make sure you have everything you need to get things done. If a gap arises in resources or knowledge, who will you turn to for help? A classmate? Teacher? Parent? Anticipating challenges helps smooth the way for completing your assignments throughout the week.

Step 7: Identify a support system.

If you need extra support, a parent may be able to help. Note that parents should be helping you, not doing this process for you. Some students may benefit from setting time aside 2x/week and only looking ahead a few days at a time.

Our academic coaches are also available to offer guidance and advice. Family dynamics are delicate under current circumstances. If getting help from a parent isn’t going to be productive, your family might consider reaching out to our experts for support.

Picture of 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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