My daughter started second grade (in-person instruction!) Thursday morning. Off she went, clad in a little purple mask and a tiny plaid dress.

We don’t know how the year will go. Maybe kids will all be home by November. Maybe they’ll manage to dodge all sickness and everyone will make it to May. 

Who. Knows. 

The only thing we can all do is make the best decisions we make for our families and our kids and keep moving forward, right? Even if your child’s in high school, you’ve got the same worries. It’s hard to see your child’s retreating back disappear into a long hallway.

The blight of the academic changes last semester left many high school experiences high and dry, and you might wonder if your child’s high school career is crumbling.

Here are a few ways you can keep your high schooler on track! Don’t forget to get my high school checklist for quick tips for launching the college search at the start of this year.

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Check in on Academics

High school disruption happened to an unprecedented level this spring. However, that doesn’t mean that your child can’t catch up or choose to go a different route. 

Here’s what I mean by this. Here’s a quick scenario. 

Jessica didn’t do well in Algebra II last semester. The combination of no in-person instruction and trying to get extra Zoom help from her teacher still didn’t work well. Her teacher had a hard time explaining some of the concepts to her without seeing her worksheets in person. 

Jessica’s not sure what she should do this semester. She’s back in school for the time being, but she’s also back to online learning.

Here’s another scenario:

Ben missed a whole semester of individual trumpet instruction from his band teacher. He wants to be a college professor and brass instructor when he graduates from college. He still practiced, but he needs individual instruction. Zoom classes from core classes like math, science and social studies took up all his time. 

Even if your child is in classes right now, you may need to be prepared for another at-home semester. You may have other options. Don’t settle if the experience last semester wasn’t the right route for your child:

  1. Take the class somewhere else. Look into a community college option. 
  2. Get into class with another teacher. 
  3. Find out what tutoring options are available or whether in-person instruction is a possibility.  

Tap into Extracurriculars 

Lots of things got pushed to the wayside this spring — including extracurricular activities and athletics. Some states plan to move forward with the fall athletics season as scheduled and others have already modified plans, including shifting the entire fall season to 2021. 

Meet Coaches Online

Naturally, college coaches have shifted to digital recruiting. This means coaches will rely more heavily on online recruiting networks like Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) to discover, communicate with, evaluate and recruit talent.

Help your child beef up his most recent information, including grades, highlight video and more. This will make student-athletes more searchable to college coaches. Recruiting will depend on what happened last year.

Can your child do camps, showcases, tournaments and more? If so, sign up.

Check out this summary from NCSA:

  • 80% of college coaches do not expect impacts to their athletic program’s scholarships.
  • A majority of coaches say that COVID-19 will impact their recruiting timeline for their 2021 class.
  • 39% of coaches believe that their recruiting timeline won’t encounter delays. 
  • 46% of coaches expect a recruiting delay. 
  • 15% of coaches believe recruiting will speed up.

Try to Continue Clubs and Organizations

Even if your child starts the year with at-home learning, find out if there’s a way to continue student council, Key Club, National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America — whatever it is that your child’s into! Get on Zoom, help coordinate if you can. Find out who the teacher sponsor is of the club and organization so your child has the best chance of continuing those activities. 

It might be impossible to continue certain activities with remote learning (like running club) so look for alternatives. Can your child start a solo running club and members keep track of their running individually? 

Be creative and help your child brainstorm other ways to continue extracurricular activities. 

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Know that Colleges Understand

Know that above all else, colleges understand what students are going through. If your child says, “I couldn’t complete my last semester of Future Business Leaders of America because of the pandemic,” they’re going to understand. In fact, admission offices are looking for more ways to evaluate students and come up with ways they can evaluate your student’s character, motivation, creativity and more. 

So, in light of the pandemic, what did your student do? Did he come up with a way to help people during the pandemic? Did she gather supplies for people in the hospital during the pandemic? 

The more your child can do to stand out, the better that college application will look.

Just don’t worry about missing out on things — more than ever, colleges will have to roll with the punches.

Don’t forget to download my free high school checklist you can be taking now for the college search!

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