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Help for Parents of Teens Not Ready for College

Updated on May 31, 2015
brakel2 profile image

Helping others through her research and writing meets an important goal for Audrey. She has spent many hours on this goal in her career.

Help for Parents of Teens

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be”, is a quotation from Shakespeare that can be applied to teens. Often students do not know their potential for achieving a college degree. However, parents can obtain help through the schools. Some teens may have a dream of a college degree but may not be emotionally or academically ready for college. The underachievers and those who have limitations may be failing or doing average work but have the capability to achieve academic excellence. Some famous people could be role models for them.This article will cover some underachievers, the barriers to achievement and the road to success. The book below about parents helping underachievers achieve success should improve relationships and help teens meet their goals.

Help for Parents of Teen Underachievers

College Graduates
College Graduates
Failure is not an option for these teens who dream of attending college.
Failure is not an option for these teens who dream of attending college.


Colin Powell earned a C minus in high school and later went on to attain a master’s degree and become a famous political figure. A student who had a C minus average and a 14 on her ACT graduated from college and has a lucrative career A great book tells how underachievers can go from a C to an A can be seen above.. Los Angeles schoolteacher, Erin Gruwell took her low achieving class from the bottom to the top in District test scores. “Freedom Writers” is a movie about the success of these students. These examples show that such students can make it to college. Many schools today only accept above average students. Parents must work with the teens who are capable of doing better to assist with their goals..


One recommendation as a help for parents is to recognize achievement. Among them are: poor self esteem, influence of friends, drugs and alcohol, crime and poverty, laziness or boredom, immaturity, failure to form good study habits, and lack of parental or school guidance.

Road to Success

Love listen and motivate” your teens by spending quality time with them and learn what inspires them,

Consider a tutoring plan to assist with academic problems. The student who scored 14 on the ACT had tutoring help in remedial math in college. This indicates that help for teens may need to continue into college.

Be aware of any drug and alcohol issues and seek help if needed. One parent and student solved a problem by consulting a physician on the alcohol issue.

Discipline wisely to create certain boundaries and praise teen only when deserved. Showering a teen with praise may send the wrong message and be detrimental to success.

Make a joint decision about homework. The best time may be right after school.

Become acquainted with friends and parents of teens. If the teen hangs out with others who think getting good grades is not “cool”, talk with the teen about success, pointing out that being different is a challenge worth undertaking. If college is the dream, grades are so important..

Consider journaling as a help for parents and teens - Some teachers use this method as a help for teens in crime and poverty areas. Students write about bad experiences, thus releasing these thoughts from their minds. Parents could suggest this program, if indicated. Erin Gruwell used this method, as depicted in the movie “Freedom Writers.” In addition, parents can apply for the school lunch program, which helps hungry children who otherwise might not do well in school.

Maintaining contact with the school is another help for parents and teens. Working with the guidance counselor and teachers helps with high school and college planning. and determining progress and deficiencies.


The successful teen may have a better choice of colleges, while the teen who has not attained full achievement might look at smaller colleges or community colleges where the requirements for admission may be lower. If all efforts fail, and a decision against college results, an option might be for the teen to work for a year and then try again or opt for a vocational or other career. Fortunately, every student could have the same chance of long-term success, especially with parental support. An important point to remember is that many successful people do not have a college degree, and, no matter what the choice, a parent can be proud of the teen’s success in life. .


Successful laborers
Successful laborers

The Success of Jillian

Jillian looks happy about her success.
Jillian looks happy about her success.

Jillian's Dream

Her name is Jillian,* and in high school, she scored 14 on her ACT. .Tall and slender with long golden hair, she was in the top two thirds of her graduating class with a C- a suburban school system in the southwestern United States.. Unfortunately, she had been doing binge drinking and associating with undesirable friends.r. Finally,her physician set her on the right path on the alcohol issue ,and, with guidance from her family, she became more selective in choosing friends..Jillian was a classic example of one of the underachievers in her class.

The guidance counselor declared that it was against all logic to send her to a four-year college and made other suggestions. Not wanting to give up the dream, she and her parents followed their hearts instead of logic, and Jillian enrolled in a four-year college near home. One of the requirements for conditional acceptance was that she take remedial math and pass the exam..

It was a tough four years for her. She required some tutoring, and luckily, her family had a friend who was brilliant. The tutor was young, and proved to be a guardian angel. Jillian hit the books and graduated with a BA degree Today, Jillian, works for a brokerage firm earning very good money. She has taken all the licensing exams, some several times before passing, but she persevered.

This experience taught Jillian and her family to never give up on a dream, and to believe in taking risks in life. They decided that being logical is not always the answer and the alternative might have been for her to be “stuck in a corner” in life. Jillian was an underachiever who went from failure to success. A movie "The Blind Side" explores the life of another underachiever who followed a similar path to Jillian. The movie will inspire anyone who wants to follow a dream.

*not her real name

Teens Having Fun
Teens Having Fun


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    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Grace -I agree that the C average person can make it in college with the right motivation. My daughter had tutoring in college, as she was not good at taking tests. It takes a lot of hard work to be a parent, and I do not believe in giving up on yourself or your child. as indicated in my hub. Your story is proof of that. You and your daughter seem to be overcoming the odds that worked against you, and I admire you for that. Sometimes we have to keep fighting to get what we want. Schools exist that take C average students. I had good grades in high school, but college was difficult for me. It is a whole different world. Both my children were C students and have college degrees and good jobs. They have matured because of what they overcame, just like your situation. Bravo and good luck to you in all your endeavors. Don't ever give up.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for your hub brakel2. I was a straight A student in HS but dropped out because I had a baby between my Junior and Senior years. My Senior English teacher tried to 'prepare' us for college by making a syllabus for his class alone that included enough coursework in the first semester that would have deterred the best of us. Due to the fact that I not only had a child to care for but I had to work, my parents required half of my income, I ended up dropping out. My English grade after the first 9 weeks averaged to 19.

      Years later I got my GED and decided the best thing for me was to complete at least a year of Community College. After my first week of classes I reflected back on that first 9 weeks of my Senior year of High School. Comparatively my entire semesters coursework was considerably lighter than that one English Teachers first semester. Thankfully I did not let his abusive teaching style deter me from moving forward with my goal.

      My third child is now planning on attending college. Her father is the problem this time. He states that he is not ready for her to leave home. He and I have not been married for quite some time. He has been neglectful toward her (encouraging her toward the 'hide in your computer' mentality) and a very lazy example. Since she was born we've been discussing education, grades, aspirations and college. She's a Junior in HS now and has made plans to move in with me for her Senior year of HS. After graduation she plans to immediately go into a Local Junior College. She has an A/B average with 3 C's. Her HS counselor is encouraging for her but again, her dad is holding her back.

      I found your hub while trying to find some information to help him make a better decision. It is people like gmwilliams that I try not to let under my skin. How can educated people make such horrible mistakes? Just because a child did not mature enough through High School to see some of the lessons they missed, does not mean that they can not make it through college. I am sure the opportunities gmwilliams had while growing up were not the opportunities I had but by continuing to discourage people like me, and now my daughter, how does that help? Who knows what my daughter will be? She wants to be a linguist and teach in Japan. I want to still own my own business. I know that completing my education will make my business more successful, so that is still my plan.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Thank you for reading my hub GM and for your comments, Unfortunately, many high school students have the capability of doing better but fall by the wayside for some reason or another. Nowadays, many colleges do not accept C students, so you have a point. But what about the Colin Powells, as mentioned in my article?. What would have happened to him? It makes for a good debate.Thanks you for your comments with good points to back them up.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Good hub brakel2! I believe however that no student with a C average is college material. College is for the academically astute and self-motivated student. In my opinion, only students from the top fifth of their class should attend college and/or graduate school. In other words, only A and B students should attend college as they will not undone by its academic rigors.

      I believe that C students are not suited for the academic rigors of college and/or graduate education. Let stop kidding each other. A C student is better off either working after high school or entering a less stressful vocational training institution.

      There are too many unqualified students attending college today and that is why a college degree is almost baseless today. Courses are watered and dumbed down because an influx of C students are enrolled in college and a college degree is equivalent to a high school education today. This does not make sense.

      I believe that we should go back to the day where only A and B students are admitted to college with no exceptions. C students clearly have no business attending college. Leave college attendance to the smart people. Let C students do regular jobs and leave the good jobs to the A and B students who graduate from college.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      8 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Kachis - I hope that you did enjoy reading this hub and thank you. I will look for your hubs.

    • brakel2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Selig 

      8 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Eileen - Thank you for the great comments. I will look for your hubs.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      great hub full of useful information. We hear so much about success, but we all need that extra encouragement to help us on the way.

      It is hard to get out of the dulldrums when things look bad Great hub thanks for sharing

    • kachis profile image


      8 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria.

      i like it. keep it up


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