Sometimes, students come to us interested in academic coaching but unsure if it’s the right fit. Their hesitations often take the form of assumptions like. . .
“I’m getting good grades, so I don’t need academic coaching.”
“I’m too busy for academic coaching.”
While it’s true that academic coaching isn’t for every student, it can be beneficial for most. Today, we’ll debunk misconceptions about academic coaching and provide our expert opinions on what makes a student ready (or not) for this type of support.
Debunking Common Myths About Academic Coaching
Let’s start by breaking down the two most common misconceptions about academic coaching readiness:
Myth #1: Students with good grades don’t need academic coaching
There are many dimensions of learning beyond the purely academic. The most successful students use their high school experience to learn and thrive in all areas, not just the ones tied to academic performance.
Students who get good grades may very well be struggling to keep up in other dimensions of learning critical to their development. Their challenges may be more abstract—like experiencing high stress, difficulty functioning independently, or uncertainty about their future.
With the right attitude, any student can benefit from academic coaching—even ones with good grades who always turn their homework in on time!
Myth #2: Students can be too busy for academic coaching
We often meet students who are genuinely interested in academic coaching but don’t want to start until they can devote themselves to it fully. But believe it or not, feeling “too busy” indicates that students could benefit from this service sooner rather than later!
Academic coaching can directly help students feel less busy and overwhelmed, teaching valuable skills for rearranging priorities, managing time, and organizing schedules.
Signs That a Student Really Isn’t Ready for Academic Coaching
Misconceptions aside, there are a few real signs that a student might not be ready for academic coaching:
- They’re not open to making a change. Parents often approach us seeking academic coaching on behalf of their unwilling teenagers. But academic coaching is by and large a student-led support method, so without student buy-in, it’s not going to work.
- They’re too rigid. A major tenet of academic coaching is encouraging students to try new ways of doing things. Some students may want to improve but are too inflexible in their thinking and assumptions. In these cases, it’s difficult to help them overcome their old ways of functioning.
- They’re resistant to vulnerability. Engaging conversations are the driving force of successful academic coaching. Students must exhibit a fundamental willingness and ability to be self-reflective and vulnerable during these discussions. Some younger students aren’t quite there yet developmentally and may not be ready for this service.
3 Signs Students Are Ready for Academic Coaching
More often than not, students are ready for academic coaching—even if they don’t know it yet. How can we tell that academic coaching will be successful for a student? It’s simple. . .
- They want to be there. A student is interested in the process and acknowledges that areas of their life could use improvement.
- They’re capable of self-reflection. Even if a student is just on the cusp of this ability but is willing to have deep conversations, we can work with them.
- They have a vision of what they want to accomplish. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about an entire life plan! A student’s goals could be as simple as wanting to be less stressed or improving their relationship with their parents.
It’s important to keep in mind that, unlike subject tutoring, academic coaching isn’t meant to be a quick fix. It’s an opportunity for students to work over time to build skills like confidence, emotional intelligence, and resilience that will benefit them in college and beyond.