Can you or your student salvage the semester or is it too late for academic coaching?
It’s the end of the semester and your student is at risk of failing their classes or facing academic probation. They’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and like there’s no way to salvage their grades. While the situation may seem insurmountable, a little support can go a long way–and it’s never too late for academic coaching! With guidance from a coach, students can create an immediate action plan to get their grades up, solicit help from their instructors, and build the emotional resilience they need to finish out the semester on a better note with improved performance, less anxiety and a plan for next semester.
The wait and see approach
Parents often call us at the end of a semester and say, “I’ll just wait until next semester to start them with coaching so we can start fresh. Let’s wait and see how the rest of the semester goes.”
Unfortunately, we’ve seen the wait-and-see approach work…never. The reason? Because when a student is struggling with executive function challenges, from ADHD or just being weak in certain skills, they do not just improve because of good intentions or ultimatums. The sooner students can start getting back on track by developing their executive function skills, the sooner they can implement new habits, tools and independence. Starting now will improve their skills and outcomes this semester and allow them to start stronger next semester.
Finally, the wait-and-see approach can damage a student’s ability to have hope and feel motivated to succeed in the future. Repeated failure takes its toll on a student’s confidence and stress levels. Allowing them to fail once again this semester will only make next semester harder. We’re passionate about this because we’ve seen the repercussions of letting students flounder for too long. It can be harder to get them to believe they’re capable and full of potential, even though they truly are.
Getting back on track now
Assessing grades & creating an action plan
One of the first things a coach will do is evaluate a student’s grades to see where they’re at, and figure out whether or not they can pass their classes. They look at their remaining assignments and exams and assign them ‘what if’ or best case scenario scores. For example, if a student needs a C in their core program course but has grades in the 60s, they might need a minimum of a B on remaining exams and a C on their final project. With this information, the coach will collaborate with the student to help them achieve those goals. This involves prioritizing and scheduling time to study and work on assignments, projects and extra credit. Coaches hold students accountable for completing this work on time, while offering guidance through academic and emotional roadblocks. This approach gives students concrete ‘next steps’ and helps them avoid overwhelm and distraction.
Communicating with instructors
Another way students can salvage their grades is through communication with their instructors or school resource centers. Sharing their struggles, asking for help, and demonstrating their commitment to their professors can help them secure the support they need. Unfortunately, this process can be emotionally challenging for students, and they might experience shame or embarrassment. This is where an academic coach can be a valuable resource.
Not only can a coach help the student separate their self-worth from their academic struggles, but they can work with the student to craft emails or role-play conversations. They help students identify who they should ask for support and brainstorm effective language. They work with the student to identify the late work or extra credit assignments that would have the biggest positive impact on their final grade. Going through this process with a coach can also teach them how to advocate for themselves in the future.
Coaching offers emotional support
Any student can start to feel defeated or burnt out at the end of a semester. But if they’re already at risk of failing, it can be even more difficult to stay motivated. In addition to providing concrete direction, academic coaches can help students cope with the negative emotions that stand in the way of their success. Having someone by your side can make all the difference, especially when faced with significant challenges.
Studies have shown that students with ADHD report an improved sense of wellbeing as a result of academic coaching, which paves the way for more ‘effective and efficient learning.’ Emotional regulation skills and resiliency are key when it comes to overcoming obstacles. Regardless of the outcome of this semester, the study strategies and self-regulation students build with their coaches can help them stay on top of their grades for the rest of their school career and beyond.
A Thrivister student success story
College student Sarah struggled with ADHD, depression, and migraines, which made it difficult for her to complete her coursework. By the end of the fall semester, her grades were hovering in the 40% range and she was at risk for academic probation–and considering dropping out of school entirely. Her family contacted Thrivister, and Sarah began working with a coach immediately.
With the support of her coach, Sarah shared her struggles with all of her instructors. She let them know that she was working with a coach and her doctor, and committed to salvaging her grades. Most of her professors agreed to let her work on extra credit or turn in late assignments, and Sarah and her coach created a strict 30-day plan for success. They worked on developing better study habits, and Sarah stayed accountable to her coach along the way. By the end of the semester, she had achieved a C in her core program classes and avoided academic probation. She went on to register for the spring semester with a renewed sense of confidence in her academic abilities.
Students with executive functioning challenges can succeed in school, even if they’re getting down to the wire with failing grades. With support from a coach, they can develop the schedules, strategies and the self-advocacy skills they need to turn their semester around. Explore the coaching process, or contact our team today to learn more about how we can help!
M.Ed., BCC, CSS and Co-founder of Thrivister
As co-founder of Thrivister, my purpose and passion is to help young adults with executive function challenges to thrive: manage, organize and be successful in their academics, careers and life. My successful EFS Coaching Method and journey as an ADHD coach, career service specialist, author, blogger, podcaster and board-certified coach for over a decade, has laid the foundation for our platform.
We believe opportunities are plentiful for someone with executive function challenges when they have the support and resources behind them. It is our mission through Thrivister to help as many people as possible be successful academically and into their future careers and life.
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