Helping Your High School Student | Butler Community College

Helping Your High School Student

Taking college classes as a high school student is a great way to get a jump start on educational goals. As a parent, you play a critical role in your student's success. 

  • It's a college level course. This goes without saying, but your student is now in college.  With that comes a great deal of excitement, but also trepidation.  Many students love that they are taking classes alongside adults, but many can find this daunting.  We find that the best thing a parent or guardian can do is to encourage your child to think of themselves as a college student, with all the responsibility that comes with that role.  Gone are the days of mom or dad calling the teacher to intervene on their behalf, now they are in driver seat and must advocate for themselves.  We are here to help them succeed in partnership with you, but the expectations are going to change from high school to college.   
  • Encourage self-advocacy. The most beneficial thing a student can learn is the ability to advocate for themselves.  College can be confusing, difficult, exciting, fun, and frustrating all at the same time.  However, if a professor or director are not aware of an issue the student is having, there is not a good way to intervene or help them.  It is important they learn to advocate for themselves, their needs, their challenges, and their confusion from the start.  Help teach your child the value of communicating, especially with professors. College faculty and staff cannot share all information with parents due to FERPA. Self-advocacy is critical to student success. 
  • Prepare your student. Often, the difficulties a student faces are not intellectual, but emotional or social.  Prepare them for the rigor of the course, but also help them understand and process the emotions that come from being thrown into an adult environment.  There will be some excitement from this, but some interactions may be confusing or foreign to them.  Remember, for their entire education to this point they have been in classrooms where everyone is their age and going through similar experiences.  Now they may be in classes with people of a variety of ages and at different places in life.  Helping them understand this will benefit them as a learner.  In addition, practical interactions will help them perform in the class.  Go over the syllabus with your student, ensuring they (and you) understand what is required in the course, important due dates, and specific policies an instructor might have.  The key to success in any college course is attendance and participation, helping your student understand the attendance requirements, where and when the class meets, and any extra requirements will greatly benefit them.  Further, if there are questions about policies or requirements, this is a good opportunity for you to help them advocate for themselves in asking the professor. 
  • Time management is critical. College courses often require a great deal more time studying, preparing, and working than a high school course.  There are always exceptions to this, but at times many of our high school students are surprised by the rigor and high expectations of college courses compared to their prior educational experiences.  Ensuring that your student attends class is the first step, the second is making sure they are managing their time in a way that allows them success in the courses they take.  We realize that high school students are busy, often involved in multiple extracurricular activities, working part-time, and other activities.  As a parent or guardian you can be instrumental in helping them learn to manage their time to get everything done.   
  • Communication is key. If a student is falling behind in a class, have them communicate with their instructor, as there might be tutoring available. Students can also reach out to the Director of High School Academic Partnerships, their Early College Academy director, or the Director of the Flint Hills for assistance and resources. Remember, if your student is receiving dual credit, the course counts towards their high school graduation.