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Academic New Year’s Resolutions

A popular sentiment expressed at the turn of the new year is one you may have read on any social media forum, “New year, new me.” The beginning of 2018 signals an opportunity for young people to turn over a new leaf in many areas of life. Some may hope to shed extra weight, for example, or adopt a new hobby or even increase their social circle. So in the spirit of resolutions, we want to contribute three academic resolutions that high school students can use to boost their performance, reduce their stress and earn the scores they deserve.

Pace Yourself

At the high school level, certain tasks require more time than what is normally allotted for nightly homework. This is especially true in the case of essays, projects, exams and presentations. As parents, you know that your students have a lot of these types of assignments. Fortunately, many instructors post the semester assignment schedule online which provides a golden opportunity to strategize. Instead of late night cram sessions the night before a major assignment is due, dividing the workload across multiple days can aid your student’s retention of the concepts and decrease the pressure they feel to complete the assignment. While admittedly not the most speedy approach, completing projects incrementally means your child remembers more of the information that they learn and stresses less throughout the process overall. How is that for a win-win?

Notebooks, Not Laptops

In the digital age of education, there are infinite benefits. Less carbon footprint from paper waste, fewer heavy textbooks causing back issues in teens and easier access and communication between school and home. According to Harvard Business Review, however, using laptops to take notes sacrifices crucial cognitive processing. Since most teens can type at the rate of their teacher’s speaking voices, they type each word they hear without necessarily listening. The problem appears when it comes time to study the notes because students are inundated with pages upon pages of notes on information they didn’t hear when it was first delivered. The effect is overwhelming and woefully inefficient. By contrast, most people cannot handwrite fast enough to match a speaking pace. Therefore, students who take written notes have no choice but to develop a shorthand in order to keep pace with the lecture. Using a shorthand requires comprehension of a concept in order to annotate it in a different form, i.e. the student must be actively listening and processing. The result? Fewer pages to study and a foundation of concept comprehension already established. Less is more!

Choose Wisely

High school is a time of exploration, maturity and personal discovery. Students are surrounded by countless chances to mingle, to learn and to…get distracted. While parents cannot control most of these distracting influences, students can in small yet effective ways. Making the decision to sit separately from chatty peers in more rigorous classes could be the difference between absorbing the lesson and missing something crucial. Worried about social time? Not to worry, lunchtime, free periods and easier classes are still prime chances for your young one to sit with friends without suffering academic drawbacks. Also, be sure to utilize study hall periods for completing homework and asking for help. Those extra thirty minutes to an hour in study hall offer an opportunity to decrease your child’s workload at home. Moreover, taking advantage of study hall can solidify your student’s ability to request assistance confidently and effectively.

Ultimately, a new year serves as a benchmark from which we can measure change and success. Implement these three academic New Year’s resolutions, and rest assured the benefits will quickly emerge on your child’s report card.