Five Back-to-School Tips for Teens

August 25th, 2016
Hispanic-TeensRaychelle Cassada Lohmann MS, LPC asked some “experts” – a middle school student, a high school student, a parent, and an educator the same simple question: “What advice would you give to a teen about how to have a successful school year?” Read their tips for some ideas you can use.

Top 5 tips on how to have a successful school year from the experts:


Middle School Student (8th grade male)

1. “Try your best. Not everyone can get all A’s, so it’s important to give it your all. As long as it’s your best, then you’re giving it all you’ve got.”

2. “Don’t sleep in class… you may miss something really important, plus you wouldn’t be trying your best if you did.”

3. “Don’t tick off the teacher. That’s not a good way to start the school year.”

4. “Get to class on time. Be ready and prepared and don’t skip class or you’ll violate tip #3.”

5. “Be nice to people. Treat them like you want to be treated (and yeah, that includes teachers).”

High School Student (11th grade female)

1. “Don’t just start with a positive attitude, keep that attitude throughout the year; it’s helpful to your friends and teachers. Also, you’ll be more efficient and the year will seem to fly by. Positivity will also help with getting all your work done.”

2.”Stay organized. School can be frustrating when you’re getting a lot of work and papers, so the easiest way not to get stressed is by keeping everything organized. Make sure to have a separate binder for each class; it will make life bearable in high school.”

3. “If you’re absent for a few days, make sure to get the work you missed. Your teacher is the best one to get you caught up and to explain things to you, because he or she is the expert in the class – not your friends. ”

4. “Stay away from the drama. The only bad thing about school is the drama because so many people get sucked into it and it ends up making people feel awful. Drama can take your focus away from your work.”

5.”If you are dating in high school, don’t give it all of your attention. Don’t let it take your attention away from school. Avoid the drama don’t ditch your friends.”

Parent of a Teen

1. “Believe in yourself and to try to always do the right thing. Sometimes people will do what is cool as opposed to what is safe or nice.”

2. “Keep your focus on your school work. Pay attention in class and complete your homework.”

3. “Don’t procrastinate when it comes to studying and homework.”

4. “Be selective with the friends you choose. Don’t befriend someone who is not a good influence on you. Don’t judge a person, but if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, or if their definition of right and wrong is different from yours, gently stop spending time with him or her. Surround yourself with people you can grow with in a positive direction.”

5. “Create joy in your life by not beating yourself up. If you’re not doing well with something ask for help. No one is perfect at everything, but everything is perfect about you.” 

HS Teacher

1.“Find out the resources that are available to you.”

  • – Do your teachers post assignments on their websites?
  • – Does your school have a homework hotline?
  • – Does your school offer tutoring for specific exams, such as the HSAP, SAT, ACT, etc.?
  • – When does each teacher offer tutoring? (teachers are usually required to offer at least an hour or two of additional hours either before or after school)
  • – Does your library have a wide selection of study materials? (many have a section that offers SAT, ACT, and HSAP prep books for you to check out)

2. Come up with a plan/schedule to help you manage your time after school.  Prioritize academics, athletics, family time, social time, church/synagogue/mass, etc., and devote a specific amount of time to any of the aforementioned that are important to you.

3. Set personal goals for each of your classes and share them with your teachers.  They will appreciate your forethought and respect you for taking responsibility for your own education.

4. Join a club or after school activity! This is a time in your life to figure out what kinds of things interest you… so get involved and see what sparks, or ignites a passion in you!

5. Always be HONEST with your teachers (and everyone else for that matter!). If you had a rough night at home and forgot to do your homework, don’t lie about it. Teachers will respect you so much more for being truthful!  Remember… you will need recommendation letters from your teachers for college, employment, etc. and nobody will recommend someone who is not truthful.

 (Reprinted in part from Psychology Today: August 22, 2013)

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