Students With Good Grades Need Help, Too

One of the most common misconceptions parents have about academic coaching is that it’s only necessary for students who have poor grades.

They assume that if their children aren’t exhibiting any obvious struggles related to academic performance, then they must not need personalized, 1:1 support.

But sometimes, students with good grades need help, too.

The truth is that students have many dimensions of learning beyond 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 stay afloat in other dimensions of learning critical to their development. These struggles could look something like this:

  • Exhibiting poor study habits like staying up all night
  • Putting too much pressure on themselves to perform well
  • Difficulty functioning independently without the structure of high school

When students lack a solid foundation of growth and development to make up what we call “the whole student,” they may find themselves unprepared for life in college and beyond.

Going Beyond Good Grades to Educate the Whole Student

Grade and test scores are markers of academic performance, and they have a useful place in measuring progress and comparing a student to their peers. However, the outsize importance placed on these measures, due in part to the competitiveness of the college admissions process, often means that other dimensions of learning are overlooked:

  • Psychological: The psychological dimension is all about a student’s mental and emotional well-being. Ideally, students are learning valuable life skills such as recognizing and managing their feelings, being able to express their needs and desires, and caring for themselves in a way that supports personal health and wellness.
  • Social: The social dimension has to do with students’ relationships with those around them. Growth in this area might look like learning how to be a good friend, romantic partner, child, or co-worker. Students may explore values such as loyalty, forgiveness, and setting clear boundaries, along with developing strong communication skills that allow them to foster healthy connections with others.
  • Spiritual: The spiritual dimension covers a student’s deeper self, however, they choose to define that. Spirituality can be developed through a traditional religious path. But it can also grow through thinking about meaning and purpose in one’s life. When students explore their spirituality, they have a clearer sense of who they are and how they want to relate to the world around them.

Since a standard high school education focuses primarily on the academic dimension of a student, even students with good grades could be lacking in other areas.

Academic Coaching Is About Educating the Whole Student

If your straight-A student appears disorganized, directionless, or stressed about school, they may benefit from academic coaching.

Academic coaching is inherently focused on school and academic performance, but it’s more holistic than that. It sits at the crossroads of tutoring, therapy, and life coaching, and focuses on each critical dimension of learning.

You may be surprised to find that students’ academic performance doesn’t suffer as a result of addressing other aspects of their life. On the contrary, students may even perform better, without the high levels of stress and burnout that all too often accompany good grades.

Picture of Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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