Vol.2, No.4

Preparing a teen to graduate high school

Getting your teen to high school graduation can be hard work! Here are some tips to help you prepare for that exciting event.

Teen at her graduation
Photo Credit: Jason Stitt
Preparing for high school graduation should begin long before the senior year of high school. Teens who are still sophomores or juniors should give some thought to finishing their program of study and preparing for higher education or a career. Here are some things that parents can do to help teens ensure a timely and complete high school graduation.

1. Make sure your student completes all required courses. Depending on the school system in which your child is enrolled, there are usually a certain number of English (or language arts), math, science, and social studies classes that must be successfully passed in order to be eligible to receive a high school diploma. Meet with the school counselor to go over your son or daughter's transcript and check to be sure all requirements are met. These may include a foreign language class, physical education, and a certain number of electives.

2. Keep tabs on your child's grade point accumulation (GPA). This will become one of the chief indicators of his or her academic performance that colleges and universities will consider when deciding whether to admit your child to their institution. Encourage your teen to maintain a B-level grade average, which is not terribly demanding unless your child has special learning needs or limitations. In addition, arrange for him or her to take the SAT or ACT test during the junior year of high school. There are study classes that can be taken to prepare for the test, and it usually can be taken once for practice and again for a better score. Ask the guidance counselor for information on these.

3. Suggest the addition of special skills courses. Classes focusing on writing, reading and literature, critical thinking, computer programming, diversity, and family management are some of the newer topics to emerge in high school curricula in recent years. Your child will do well to take as many electives as he or she can successfully manage without compromising the GPA while still maintaining a balanced lifestyle. These will look good on a record transcript that will become another indicator for college admissions screening.

4. Introduce your child to real-world experiences. Part-time summer jobs, a driver's license, and volunteer or mission work helps to round out a child's developmental growth and prepare him or her to take a place in the community. Set an example by doing some of these things on your own or with your child to spur her interest and pull him out of a shell of shyness.

5. Teach personal survival skills. Learning how to pick up after himself, cook a meal, and balance a checkbook are vital tasks that everyone needs to master before coming of age and living on their own. Start when your child is still a preteen to teach house chores, financial budgeting and planning with an allowance and savings, and even some child care insight through help with younger siblings or occasional babysitting jobs.

If your teen learns a good portion of the things indicated above, he or she should be in great shape for graduating high school with a high degree of knowledge and confidence, ready to meet the world and take care of herself.