What every parent of a freshman should know

When a student enters high school in their freshman year, everything starts to count. End-of-semester grades will determine your child’s grade point average, or GPA. All courses taken, grades earned and credits accumulated become part of his/her cumulative transcript. Activities, honors and awards from the freshman year can be listed on college, job and scholarship applications.

1. Monitor academic progress.
At the beginning of each semester, discuss your child’s course of study. Check for challenging yet realistic academic goals. If you have access to a computer at work or home, get your Parent Access login information and check your son or daughter’s progress in classes on a regular basis. Email or call teachers whenever you become concerned. Progress reports are given two times each semester, and final grades are mailed after the end of each semester. If your son or daughter is struggling academically, call the school counselor to arrange a conference.

It costs between $100 and $280 per 0.5 credit to make up classes.

2. Encourage involvement in a wide variety of activities.
College, scholarship and employment applications ask students to list their high school activities. Evidence of leadership is especially important. Encourage your son or daughter to consider involvement in many different activities and suggest that he or she consider becoming a class officer. Focus and commitment are important, so select an activity carefully and stick with it. Outside activities (church, community clubs) are also impressive, as is volunteer work.

Tip: Start keeping a record of your child’s activities during their freshman year. Include all school and community activities, leadership positions, honors, awards, unique educational experiences, employment and volunteer work. Remember to update this record at least once per year. This information will be very helpful later when your child is required to list activities and honors on applications and in their PDP.

3. Help your child select appropriate 10th-grade courses.

Schedule changes can be completed only on a space-available basis. Changes must be completed before the 10th day of a semester course. Students who request withdrawal from a course after the 10th day will be issued an F grade for that grading period in that course and receive a “NC” (no credit) for the late-entered course.

In the spring, remind your son or daughter to include you when selecting classes for his/her sophomore year. A four-year plan, including a 13th year goal, is developed with every student. Assist your teen in selecting academically rigorous and appropriate courses that will increase her/his competitive edge in a global economy.

4.  Plan meaningful summer activities.
Many traditional summer activities are very worthwhile. Your student could, for example, join an athletic team, take an interest-based class, develop a hobby, read and/or volunteer for local nonprofit agencies. Many colleges also have excellent summer programs for high school students, and some businesses have summer internships.

College graduates, on the average, earn $1,000,000 more in a lifetime than high school graduates.