Study Habits Of High School Students How Can I Get Better Grades

Get Ready For High School

Study Habits Of High School StudentsGetting your student ready for high school is an exciting time for both of you. Exciting, but there are also anxieties and fears to deal with as he goes from BMOC (Big Man on Campus) in Middle School to Low Man on the Totem Pole in High School. Here are some of the main issues your student might need to deal with in moving up to high school.

Making friends

First and foremost on a teen's mind is socialization. The student might have friends in their class from middle school, but sometimes kids go to different high schools depending on the area they live in. There will be kids coming in from different middle schools, so many of the faces will be new in the Freshman class. Your student might worry about not knowing any of the upperclassmen. Will they be nice or will they be mean to the new kids on the block? The unknown will cause angst until the first week of school is underway and those questions are answered.

How to deal with worries about socialization

High schools usually have an orientation day to acquaint kids with their teachers and the school building. This is a great time to meet other students and parents. If you're the outgoing type, approach as many students or parents as you can, ask for a way to contact them, then arrange a summer pool party or BBQ to have the kids get together before school starts. Your own fears about new friendships might be eased as the parents can be the clue to what kind of friend their child will be to your son or daughter.

Will my classes be more difficult?

Reassure your student that they will be able to handle the new classes. High school level classes build on what was learned in middle school, so if they did well last year, chances are they will be just fine in high school. Teachers won't be expecting their students to know things they haven't been taught. The difference with high school classes is that this is the point when teachers stop spoon feeding information and schedules to their students. There is an emphasis on the student taking more responsibility for time management, being a self starter, and turning in quality work. Students may find that their grades drop during the first half of their freshman year, but will pick up once they've caught on to the new game rules.

Parents should be supportive during this time and encourage their student to find solutions to their problems through counselors or tutors. by taking action themselves, rather than having their parents step in and contact teachers, the student will become more confident in their problem solving abilities. Becoming independent is a very important part of your student's high school experience and adolescence. Be a smart parent and let this happen or you could have your student attached to your apron strings indefinitely. Not a pretty thought, is it?

Getting involved in extracurricular activities

One of the great things about high school is the variety of activities offered both during school hours and outside of school. Encourage your student to get involved in clubs, sports or leadership programs. Most high schools will have a Club Rush with tables set up to give information about all the clubs available. Choose the ones that are most interesting, but remember that time will be needed to study and to relax. Don't get so involved that the first year of high school becomes overwhelming. It will be more rewarding to join one or two clubs and be active the entire year rather than joining lots of clubs that the student eventually drops out of.

Dealing with general anxieties

As the responsibilities and expectations increase, so might your student's anxiety levels. If you see changes in behavior that indicate a troubled mind, approach your student right away. Has your kid started nervous habits or changed sleep or eating patterns? Are they touchier when you try to talk to them or cry more easily? It might just be jitters due to the upcoming start of high school, but it could be serious enough that you might want to consider third party counseling.

When my son was feeling the pressures of starting a new school in a new country and being the youngest in all of his classes, he jumped at the opportunity to talk to one of the school counselors. I asked why he didn't go earlier. He said he was afraid to hurt my feelings by going to someone else to talk to. I assured him that my feelings weren't hurt and was pleased he chose to talk to a counselor rather than deal with whatever issues he had on his own. I praised him for taking that important step to get help. He has finished his sessions with the counselor and is a much happier person.


The grunge look is out, so start your freshman year looking good and feeling good. Have that haircut well in advance so it doesn't look like you got it cut just for the first day of school. Make sure it's clean and styled appropriately for school. You will be remembered for the kid who showed up with a multi-colored Mohawk for the entire 4 years, so think about what you want people to focus on before you leave the house that first day.

We've all been around someone who hadn't used deodorant. Remember your reaction? Yeah, me, too. Don't be that person. Your nervousness will cause you to perspire more heavily. That first week of school is going to be crazy enough. Be sure you're confident others aren't avoiding you because you smell sweaty. The same goes for brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. If you've covered all the bases you'll feel better about talking to the other kids and sitting next to them.

If you have acne and this is a problem for you, ask your parents to take you to the dermatologist. My son had an acne problem that was mild, but to him it was a huge problem. After following the advice of his dermatologist and not seeing results, the dermatologist prescribed a cream called Duac. It killed the bacteria under the skin and his acne went away almost overnight. My son's confidence level rose as his skin cleared up. It was an amazing transformation. Don't let something like pimples get in the way of your first year in high school. We have the technology!


First impressions can make or break your freshman year and beyond. You are who you are, so be yourself! Dress the way you want others to see you. If you wear sexy, revealing clothes, you will get a reputation you may not really want. Even if the other students haven't taken the time to get to know you, they'll judge you by your style and manner. The rule of thumb is: If you look like you're dressed to go to a party or the beach, it isn't appropriate for school. Go for the comfortable and casual look with good hygiene. You'll look great and feel more relaxed.

If you want to be trusted and respected by students and teachers alike, it's best to be nice to everyone. Be kind to the geeks, the drama club kids, the band nerds, and the punks. Keep secrets to yourself and avoid passing along rumors. Do your best not to be the class know-it-all if you don't want to see everyone rolling their eyes every time you open your mouth. In fact, it's best to keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

Don't try to change to fit into a group. It's better to have one or two friends who share your interests and personality, than a whole group of acquaintances that you never really feel comfortable with, or worse yet, get you into trouble. People will respect you for being true to yourself and you will attract the kinds of friends worthy of your friendship.

Go ahead, be nice to your teachers!

An upperclassman once gave my son a very valuable piece of advice: A little brown-nosing with the teachers can go a long way. That doesn't mean you need to leave a polished apple on the desk or carry your teacher's laptop bag. Show up to your classes on time and at least fake being interested in the lesson by keeping your eyes open and focused on the teacher. Ask an intelligent question once in a while so the teacher knows you're engaged in the topic. If the teacher asks for volunteers, make life easier for everyone and raise your hand. Not every time, just once in awhile. Those who never volunteer are often the ones who are chosen by the teacher. It's better to volunteer for something you have control over and feel confident with than to have the teacher choose you at a time when you don't have a clue. It's the lesser of two evils concept.

My son also found that staying after class once in a while to chat with the teacher was a pleasant and rewarding experience. The teachers he spoke to were more generous when it came to grades and seemed to give my son the higher grade if he was teetering between an A or a B. Teachers appreciate enthusiasm in the sea of freshman apathy and coolness. If there's no time for an after class chat, a comment on the way out the door will also make points. Try, "Interesting lecture! I'm going to look that up on the internet when I get home!" Be careful how sucky-uppy the comments are or you might find the teacher calling your bluff and asking in front of the class what you've dug up with your research. Be honest and be yourself. Your teacher has had hundreds, maybe thousands, of students and knows if you're sincere.

Do your best

It might seem like the cool thing to forget your books in your locker, to be a bit rebellious by handing homework in a day late, being the class clown, or hanging out in the cafeteria instead of going to class, but if you really want to be cool and buck the system, give high school a 110% effort. You don't have to be a nerd to want to get good grades. No one has to know that you spent an extra couple hours researching for a report in Biology. Take pride in your work, your appearance, and your friends, and the rest will fall into place. Even if you don't get perfect grades in your freshman year, no one should give you grief if you did your best. Keep the lines of communication open with your family and take support and encouragement anywhere it comes from. Everyone wants to see you succeed.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

Only people who never try something new don't make mistakes. How boring is that? Even if you're worried you won't be elected class president, run for it anyway. You're bound to make more friends from the exposure and maybe the following year the kids will see that you're exactly who they want for their leader. Try out for the sports you have a passion for. The coach isn't expecting college level athletes. He's there to train the new kids to be their best. Get in there at grassroots level so you can be at your best by your Senior year.

Have fun!

High school is a very special time in our lives and it should be fun as well as educational. Four years sounds like a long time, but they go by really fast, as any Senior can tell you. As an adolescent, you're going through loads of changes inside and out. Keep a positive attitude, get involved with the people and clubs you enjoy, be willing to try out new activities and spread your horizons, and stay away from kids you know will get you in trouble by trying to push their bad habits off on you. Remember, if it's not fun, you're not doing it right.

By Rachel de Carlos -

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