Tips for Teens: School Achievement

In this mini-series, I have been writing about tips for teens to use right now to change their lives.  Today I would like to discuss these three: 1) Motivated to achieve, 2) Educational Goals, and 3) Current school performance.

Let’s start with being motivated to achieve.  It is so easy to take our education for granted.  I mean, after all, for the most part, it comes to us for free, and we tend to not place much value on those things that are free.  But stop a minute and think about the other countries of the world, you know the ones you study in social studies class.  There are so many kids there who would love to trade places with you and have access to knowledge that can change their lives and current life circumstances.  We are near the end of the first quarter of school already as I write this, and grades often start to slip, assignments are missed and not made up, and if you’re in most U.S. high schools,  you may have skipped a class or two by now.  I want to suggest that you take another look at what your education can do for you.  The importance of attending class regularly, the missing class only if you are too ill to attend. You are ensuring sure that you are legitimately excused and on time to class.  Ask questions in class, record the assignments that are due in a planner, and plan the time that you will need to complete them on time by writing notes in your planner.  Start English essay, choose topic today.  Things like that prompt you to take significant assignments a little at a time and get them completed without the rush.

Our second suggestion is to set some Educational Goals for yourself.  So often would ask kids what their goals were, and maybe they would say to graduate.  That was it, to graduate?  But what about what you want to do after that? How might that goal affect your choice of coursework now?  Choose three professions that might interest you and begin to do a little research on them.  What is the pay, the current employment rate, and the future employment rate?  Find people that are currently employed in those professions and ask them if you could interview them.  Please make a list of questions you would like to ask, and don’t be afraid to ask what their current pay is and how you earn pay raises.  Include questions like, “Would you choose this profession again?”  If you’re not clear, meet with your school counselor by appointment and tell her that you want some help exploring career choices.  They have many ways to assist, like software, surveys, and various college files in the counseling center.  Take time to work on that right now so that by your junior or senior year, you can choose some coursework that will lead to preparation for the selected field.

The third suggestion is to look at your current school performance and take stock.  Are you doing your best?  Why or why not?  Are you getting enough sleep?  Do you have too many other activities that are interfering with your focus on school?  Remember that school is your primary job, and the other stuff is nice, but if it is taking away from your school performance, look at cutting back or dropping a few things to make for more time.  Then be sure that you apply that time to school performance.  If you need help with your grades, seek help from a school counselor or a tutor.  Tutors are available during school, after school, or often from neighborhood centers where tutors and activities are available for students.  Make friends with someone in your challenging class(es) and ask them if they would mind exchanging phone numbers with you so that you could get some extra help.  By being original, setting goals, and appreciating the opportunity you have for a world-class education, you are intentionally planning for a great future.  Be that person today, and take these three to the highest level of application in your life.

For another look at School Achievement, please see my blog post on Beyond High School, What’s Next? – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Parental involvement is a topic of which I have written many time, here is another look at it How Parent Involvement Leads to Student Success –


Yours for a Better Life,