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How to Recover from a Low GPA: A Guide for Parents


As a parent, seeing your student struggle with their grades can be stressful and disheartening. However, it’s important to remember that a low GPA is not the end of the world. While it may present some unwanted obstacles, it’s also an opportunity for growth, learning, and improvement. Let’s talk about how you, as a parent, can effectively support your student in overcoming a low GPA and make changes moving forward.

Understand the importance of upward trends.

When it comes to applying to colleges, admissions officers look beyond just the numbers. They pay close attention to the trajectory of your student’s grades. A GPA that starts low but shows consistent improvement over time is often a predictor for success in college. It shows that the student is developing skills and discipline over time which will be reflected in their college performance. 

Remind your child that every semester is an opportunity to grow as a learner. Continue to encourage them, and help them figure out what they need to be doing differently in order to improve academically. Reflecting and making the necessary adjustments demonstrates resilience, dedication, and the ability to learn from past mistakes: all qualities that colleges value highly. Remember that in addition to considering GPAs, college admission officers look at essays, extracurriculars, passion projects, volunteer work, and more. 

High school is a time for developing skills that go beyond academics. 

These skills include:

Any time your student struggles, it’s an opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Work with them to develop strategies that cater to their learning style. As we said, reflecting on what didn’t work and finding new approaches can lead to better study habits and improved academic performance.

Students with executive function challenges often find it harder to deal with stress and manage their workload. 

It’s important to help your child maintain a positive outlook on school. Encourage them to set realistic goals and break tasks into manageable steps. Teaching stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and regular physical activity, can also be beneficial. By fostering a supportive and understanding environment, you can help your child build the confidence and independence they need to succeed.

It’s important to acknowledge that not all students face the same challenges. 

Differences in attention, learning styles, and other factors can make the academic journey more difficult for some. As a parent, advocating for your child’s needs, and helping them advocate for themselves, is key. Work with their teachers to ensure they receive any necessary accommodations, such as extended time on tests or a quieter testing environment. Understanding and addressing these unique challenges can help level the playing field and give your student the best chance for success.

A low GPA in high school doesn’t define your student’s future. 

What matters more is how they respond to the challenge, learn from their mistakes, and work towards improvement. By focusing on upward trends in grades, developing essential life skills, managing stress, and recognizing the unique challenges they face, you can support your student in turning a low GPA into an opportunity for growth. 

Remember—one failed test, or even getting a D in a class, does not define your student. High school is a time for learning and development, both academically and personally. With the right support and mindset, your student can overcome a low GPA and achieve great success.

Parenting a child who struggles with executive function can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Let Untapped help!

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