Motivating Your Child!

Shutter girl FIVE.jpg

Your child is intelligent. You know this. Actually, you know this all too well. Sometimes students are so intelligent and savvy that they know how to do just enough to get by or just enough to perform well but perhaps still not up to what you, the parent, see as their true potential. There is nothing more common (and infuriating) for parents than a child who seems to be “settling” or “coasting.” We’ve worked with thousands of students and families, and so we have unique perspective on this dilemma—especially when it comes to tutoring for the SAT and ACT. The question then becomes: How do I motivate my child???

Like most things in life, it’s a good idea to start by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Obviously this isn’t the easiest of tasks when it comes to teenagers, but trust us and go for it. Let’s say I’m the student: What’s on my mind? Well, I probably want to know why I need to prep for these standardized tests. More than likely I don’t want my mom or dad telling me why, but I do want to know why

Because, as a student, my schedule is already pretty busy—maybe even insanely busy. Oh, and don’t forget I’m also filled to the brim with teenage rebelliousness and angst. Alas, it’s important for parents to acknowledge: your child has a lot on his/her plate, including schoolwork, homework, clubs, sports, as well as all of those other "priorities" like their social lives that—regardless of parent's preferences and ideals—can feel like A TON of work and stress. Once you acknowledge these stresses, you can get on your child’s level and then discuss how/why it's important to find the time to practice for the SAT and ACT. If you really want to break through, start by mentioning that test prep is all about putting THEM in the driver’s seat. 

Here’s how our tutors break it down for students: The SAT and ACT are actually silly tests that will by no means define your happiness or success in life. HOWEVER, scoring as high as possible on the SAT or ACT bolsters your chances of getting into your top-choice colleges. In other words, the higher you score the more choices you’ll have, as well as control over these choices. 

The fact of the matter is colleges have to choose between tens of thousands of students who often appear similar on paper when it comes to things like grades and extra-curricular activities. Is it fair to ask students to take a 4-hour test to help colleges distinguish between these students? Maybe, maybe not. These tests and the tutoring that comes with them can often feel like just more busy-work for students who feel overwhelmed already.

But here’s the other thing our tutors explain to students: The good news is that these tests aren't nearly as difficult or intimidating as they seem. They're actually much easier than the schoolwork you’re already doing in school. At the end of the day, it’s all about HAVING OPTIONS. You know you’re going to spend at least four years studying (and socializing) away from home. Doesn't it make sense for to give yourself as many options as possible. And why not give yourself the BEST options possible? 

This is just some of the advice we have for parents when it comes to motivating your child. Hopefully you find it helpful and useful. Remember, just like most things in life, it always helps to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Using this approach, you might just find that your child is ready to take on test prep with the intelligence and zeal you know exists within that teenage mind!