Key to Academic Success in High School

Factors that affect academic success in high school (i.e., being an A-student) also start with the letter “a.” They are (1) attention, (2) application, (3) attitude, and (4) ambition. The right combination of the foregoing pithy, yet encompassing attributes are the keys to both academic and lifelong success.

Attention To Task

The successful high school student is alert to what is going on in class. The student is extremely sensitive to not only what the teacher is teaching but also what the teacher expects the students to give back in terms of reading, writing, projects and testing. The good student intuitively knows the first and foremost the student’s job is to please the person who assigns the course grade and affects the student’s future.

Application To The Lesson

The successful high school student knows that application is no more nor less than a willingness to do the work required to be successful in a class. Again, this willingness is focused on the teacher’s intentions, requirements and teaching style. The foregoing implies a single-minded work ethic and the realization that only in the dictionary does “success” come before “work.”

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Attitude and Avoidance Of Struggle

The unsuccessful high school student is a “struggler.” The struggler focuses on extraneous things like the teacher’s personal quirks, the fact that the course is “boring,” or any number of factors that serve as rationalization for lack of attention and the personal commitment involved in the application to the course.

On the other hand, the successful high school student has an attitude generated from the realization that certain things are simply out of one’s control. To struggle with those things opens the student to distraction and failure. The successful high school student overcomes obstacles of the difficult and arbitrary instructor or a subject matter that brings out the student’s weaknesses. Most of all, the starting point to overcoming academic difficulties begins with the positive attitude that every class has something to teach, even if it is a reverse lesson.

Ambition And The Taste Of Success

The successful high school student is ambitious, competitive and hungry for success. The success comes through the teacher’s praise, the high grades and the opening of new learning opportunities that extend a lifetime past high school. The successful student actually gets a charge out of completing a difficult research project, writing a cogent and successful paper, and, most important, engaging in the critical thinking involved in the evaluation of facts and “connecting the dots.”

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The Teacher’s Role

So the factors that affect academic success in high school come from within the student. The truly effective teacher recognizes that each student has all those qualities either dormant, developing, or actively percolating towards academic success. The trick and truly hard work of teaching isn’t so much imparting knowledge. It is getting to the core of the student and inspiring, developing, and encouraging the four attributes discussed above.