How to Help Your High Schooler Set Goals

By Sylvan Learning

Timely topics
Help Your High Schooler Set Goals

To your teen, it might seem as if high school is going to last forever. But you know better. Setting goals provides teens with concrete landmarks to help them along their academic path. Having set goals to follow will give your teen focus and help he or she build self-confidence.

Here’s a look at the kinds of goals your teen should be setting and why they are important.


  • Of Course Those Courses Matter. How can you help make your teen’s academic schedule beneficial to him or her? Keep your teen’s college and career goals in mind when choosing courses.


  • Think Ahead to Test Time. Tests are a fact of life for high school teens. Whether dealing with subject tests, mid-terms and finals, or standardized tests, your teen’s high school career will be peppered with test dates. Well ahead of test time, help your teen set up test preparation goals. If you think your child would benefit from extra help studying or preparing for tests, Sylvan is here for your family! Our study skills and test prep programs are perfect for giving your teen an extra boost! Contact your local Sylvan center for more details.


  • Extracurriculars Are Not Extraneous. Both colleges and employers think extracurricular activities are important because they showcase skills, commitment and responsibility. In addition, these activities benefit your teen by helping to build independence, confidence and experience. Sometimes, they even help your teen figure out a career path. As your teens set goals for the things they would like to achieve outside of school, help them keep their overall schedule in mind, as well as their college plans.




  • You Talking to Me? Have your teen talk to the school’s counselor. The counselor can help your teen select courses and narrow down college and career choices. Setting up goals with the counselor provides a clear framework that helps them keep things in focus.


  • Hello College, Here We Come! No matter which year of high school your teen is in, college visits should be on your goal list. Freshman year is not too soon to start looking at colleges. In fact, it’s much better to start early, and you can start locally. Visit different colleges of different sizes, with different kinds of campuses, if possible. Different campuses have different “feels” to them, and visiting will help your teen figure out which atmospheres are most appealing.


  • Face the Financial Facts. High school means study time for you too. Your goal during your teen’s high school years should be to learn about college costs. That includes learning about financial aid: how it works, what’s available and if your family qualifies for it. It also includes learning about the differences between loans, grants and scholarships. The earlier you learn the ins and outs, the better, because it’ll give you the opportunity to plan ahead. Then, you can sit down with your teen and have a frank discussion about the fiscal facts. Based on that discussion, you can help your teen set realistic college goals.


The more your teen sets and meets goals, the more he or she will realize the benefits and importance of goal setting.