Laying the Groundwork for Achieving Better Grades

Report-Card-Freebies-300x284If your student is capable of achieving “A”s but is happy with “B”s, how do you ignite the desire to do better? They have to want it. You can nag, plead and punish, but all that nudging may only amount to a lot of unpleasantness.

Note: This is not about getting into Harvard or Yale, it is about motivating the underachiever.

The #1 recommendation amongst college counselors is to go on some super college campus tours with your sluggish student. Make it fun, choose an attractive campus, go on a beautiful day, buy a t-shirt, be open-minded and attend the information session. Visit a school that has a lot of school spirit or attend a big football/basketball game. If you have not done this be forewarn, lots of families are doing this. Whether it is consciously or unconsciously parents groom their children to do well by visiting their alma mater’s games and reunion events.Hustle Lincoln

When attend a college information sessions, which is strongly recommended, a highly selective college
will tell your student that they expect to see  “A”s, and a few “B”s are okay. Your kids are hearing it from the source. And they will also say hat the student should take challenging  classes in high school. No more nagging folks, the Admissions Rep delivers the message for you!

You don’t have to spend big bucks to visit a great college, choose one that you can make as a day trip.

Most Influential Information Sources in Application Decisions

These recommendations are not about getting into a prestigious schools, it is about creating options and possibly earning merit awards. The higher your student’s GPA and SAT/ACTs are, the greater the possibility for scholarships, grants and merit awards. Choose a school where your child has grades that are in the top 25% of their enrollment and merit scholarships may come their way.

It is not too early to visit a college with a freshman, especially since achieving “A”s is always easier during 9th and 10th grade than 11th and 12th.  Dial down the pressure and let them know that this is just information gathering. One rising high school junior visited some competitive colleges during a summer vacation. When he realized that good grades might get him into a really cool school, he went back to school in September ready to work. Consequently, he made the honors list the next four semesters. Clearly, he could have earned a few “A”s in the early high school years.  Since your GPA is cumulative those 9th and 10th grade grades can be helpful or hurtful to the big picture.

Success breeds success. Once a student gets on a roll of good grades, teachers unconsciously may favor the student. (See How to Boost your GPA – Without Studying). Furthermore, since most schools’ better teachers are teaching the honors level classes, wouldn’t you want your child to be in that classroom verses the goof off, zoo-like classrooms?

If teachers have said that your child “does not apply” themselves, a few fun college visits could be the tool which motivate them! If all else fails, offer them $20 bucks for every “A” they bring home or book they read. Just kidding… in the meantime go on a college visit.