5 Keys to High School Success

Father helping High School daughter with homework.

If you are wondering how to help your child succeed in high school, you are not alone. While the start of a new school year is an exciting time that marks new educational milestones, memories, and accomplishments , carrying that momentum throughout the year requires a combination of planning and teamwork.

Even though many online high school students work mostly independently, it's important to continue providing guidance and motivation (beware of senioritis!) on the road to success. Whether your student is new to online learning or gearing up for a new semester, these tips for supporting online high schoolers, and these online high school success stories, should help inspire you!

  1. Make a student success plan together

    Schoolwork can be overwhelming in higher grade levels when students receive more complex and time-consuming assignments. Avoid unnecessary frustration by helping your teen to make a plan for the school week. For example, if he or she has a big project coming up, suggest breaking it up into parts instead of tackling it all at once. Your student will feel much more confident when there's a doable plan in place!

  2. How a solid team could be the key to success

    More parental involvement is one of the many great perks of online school. However, it's still important to encourage students to reach out to their teachers and school counselors for support. Seeking out and engaging with adults during high school will help them to develop their communication skills for both college and the workforce. Frequent interaction with school counselors is also useful for high school students who are looking for course and college guidance.

  3. Talk about and start the college application process

    It's never too early to start discussing college plans! In fact, the earlier students start preparing, the less stressed they will feel down the road. Ask your teen what his or her goals are for the future and begin researching different colleges and application guidelines together. Not only will your student be making strides toward the future, but also this can serve as a fun bonding experience before he or she leaves the nest.

  4. Set limits on technology use

    Since smartphone usage tends to be particularly high for teens, consider setting some rules and limits. For instance, to prevent distractions during the school day, you could take the smartphone away until all required assignments are complete. Your student may not be too pleased about the new rules, but setting smartphone limitations will help make the school year much more productive and successful!

  5. Maintain an open dialogue

    While you might struggle to get more than a one-word response from your kids (especially during the teen years), it's important to regularly check in with them. High school can be an emotional and nerve-racking time for students as they prepare to transition to a new chapter in their lives, so make sure to ask often how they're doing. Even though it's a simple question, your student will most likely appreciate having a constant supporter and cheerleader in his or her corner during an exciting but sometimes challenging time.

Online High School Superstars

Learn how Connections Academy®–supported online schools helped these high school students achieve success.

Meghan Bernard, TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School (TECCA), Graduate

Determined to play tennis in college, Meghan Bernard choose online high school instead of a traditional bricks-and-mortar school to focus on perfecting her game. By balancing her tennis and school schedule, she learned the importance of time management and grew to be a more self-sufficient student. Meghan ended up achieving her goal—she is now a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst's tennis team!

Savannah Moss, Georgia Connections Academy (GACA), Grade 12

Savannah Moss switched to online school during her freshman year of high school to better cope with an illness. Learning from the comfort of home with a personalized schedule made it possible for her to get necessary medical treatment without compromising her education. Savannah, now in recovery, is looking forward to graduating from GACA in the spring of 2018.

Mallory Griffin, Pearson Online Academy , Grade 12

Mallory Griffin enrolled with Pearson Online Academy 's K–12 online private school when she and her family moved from Louisiana to Brazil. She enjoys learning with supportive teachers, a challenging curriculum, and classmates from all over the world. Through her career exploration course, Mallory even discovered what career she would like to pursue after graduation. She plans to become a librarian.

Tish Marsh and Elliot Verburg, Michigan Connections Academy (MICA), Graduate and Grade 12

Busy figure skaters Tish Marsh and Elliot Verburg are training for the 2022 Winter Olympics, so they enrolled in MICA for a chance to pursue their dreams while receiving a high-quality education. They both appreciate online school for giving them the chance to complete schoolwork at a time that works best for them.

Destiny McCray, Georgia Connections Academy (GACA), Grade 12

Looking for a more welcoming and supportive academic environment, Destiny McCray and her family opted for online learning at GACA. Now that Destiny can learn with fewer distractions—at a pace that suits her—she is much happier and more engaged with schoolwork. After graduating, she would like to attend college and pursue a career in psychology.

Emily Lichte, Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), Graduate

Emily Lichte is pleased that she chose online school. During her time at ORCA, she was able to maintain jobs and a busy athletic schedule, earn college credits, and take more control of her own education. Emily, who is the first one in her family to graduate, received a full scholarship through the University of Oregon's Pathway Oregon program to study chemistry.

High school may sometimes feel like a daunting undertaking for teens, but you can help them remain calm, focused, motivated, and successful by staying actively involved in their education.

How do you support your high school student and help him or her achieve success?

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