Achieving Success for Teens and Parents

  • Thursday, April 11, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 10:55 am

By Al Foderaro

Parents often find that it is easier to place the blame on a school counselor or teacher for their child’s lack of academic success, poor college experiences, or bad job choices. It’s also easier to fault the teachers when a student receives low scores on an exam or a standardized test. Be honest and think about why things don’t go as well in school as expected. Start by analyzing the following calculations to help determine who is most responsible.

A student is usually in school about 180 days a year, approximately 7 hours a day for 12 years. That equals 15,120 hours. During those same 12 years a student is not in school, including weekends and summers, for about 104,832 hours. Therefore, a young person is only in school from first through twelfth grade approximately 15% of their lives and outside school 85% of the time.

During the 15% of time that students are in school, they are exposed to a well-rounded curriculum that is expected to provide a strong educational foundation which will build their futures. It is up to each student to determine just how successful his or her future will become.

Extra Effort Produces Positive Results

Each student decides how much effort he will put into wanting to succeed academically and the level of ability they will attain in areas where they have the greatest interests. Students who achieve success do so not only because of the skills they learn in school, but because of what they learn outside normal school hours.

For proof of that, interview students who have achieved academic success and ask them how many hours they devoted to studying each night and on weekends. Check with those students who excel in a sport or in music. Most likely the students made important decisions to seek additional opportunities outside the school day and school year to perfect their skills and to maximize their abilities to the highest levels.
High performing students often seek tutors to help master difficult subjects, successful athletes seek additional coaching to work on skill development, and students who excel in theatre and music take private voice, instrumental, dance, or acting lessons outside of their regular school classes.

The time spent in a class in school may introduce the subject matter to students and generate an interest, but it is up to each student to decide how much extra effort is needed to raise his abilities to the highest level possible.

It’s Your Decision!

There are many factors that impact how successful a person will become but those students who are self-motivated and possess the discipline necessary to do more than is expected of them will have the greatest chance for success. The more effort students put into making the kind of choices that produce favorable outcomes the more opportunities they will have to succeed.

How much time and effort is put forth outside of regular school hours will ultimately determine the level of success that can be achieved academically, personally, and professionally. It’s your decision!



Al Foderaro is a retired college administrator and instructor living in Georgetown County who is the Founder/Executive Director of Life Decisions Group, LLC and co-author of “It’s Your Decision for Teens, A Commonsense Guide to Making Better Choices” and “Keys to Student Success”.
For information e-mail afoderaro@lifedecisionsgroup.com or go to www.lifedecisionsgroup.com.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.


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