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How to Deal with a Drop in Grades in High School

It’s a frustrating mystery why your otherwise straight-A high school student experiences a sudden drop in grades. They may have started out the year full of enthusiasm and full of promise, only to hit a sudden slump.

There are many reasons why your child suddenly experiences a drop in GPA, but thankfully there are just as many ways that you can help them to get back on track.
drop in grades high school

Why Grades Drop in High School

Here are some of the most common reasons why your high schooler experiences a drop in their grades:

Mid-Year Slump

According to StudyPug, a decline in grades occurs when the winter break finishes and kids head back to school in January.

The reason for the grade drop at this period of the year can be related to many causes: a lack of enthusiasm after the holiday bustle; a lack of energy thanks to the dark, dreary days of winter, or even just a reduced drive thanks to the disrupted routine.

Whatever the cause, many people see the mid-year slump in their students.

Change of Life/Routine

If you’ve recently moved, had a traumatic or altering life event, or preoccupation with too many extracurricular activities, you can expect to see a decrease in grades.

High school students experience stress just like you and me, and any life-altering event would be likely to cause a decline at school.


Your child can feel overwhelmed if there is a lot of pressure to perform in an extracurricular activity. If their days are dominated by soccer practices, piano recitals and more, there is less time for studying and resting. A tired or overscheduled mind is not always the healthiest mind.

Too much TV/Internet

It’s almost impossible to control all the media that our children are exposed to today, but it is vital that some effort is placed into this area.

For example, if your child has access to a cell phone all night, or has a TV/computer in their room, there is a chance that they may be up too late watching shows instead of studying.

Medical/Psychological Issues

It’s important not to rule out medical problems, such as anxiety, ADHA or even bullying, especially if the grade drop is sudden, unexpected and occurs for an extended period.

How to Deal with a Sudden Drop in Grades

drop in grades

Talk to Them

Be patient and listen to their situation and try to be understanding, as perfect grades are not always the ultimate goal in life. As a parent, it is extremely valuable to let your high schooler know that you care about them, regardless of their school performance.

Let them know that good grades are necessary, but so is their happiness. They will feel supported if you take this approach.

Help Them to Set Goals

Help to understand their classes, what they’re learning, and where they’re struggling. You can help them get onto a path of success by guiding them through the process.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open

If your child is anxious about something, experiencing ADHD, or being bullied, you will likely see behaviours in their home life that may include withdrawal, sullenness, and a disconnect.

Ensure that they know that their well-being is paramount and you are there for them.

Chat with Their Teachers

This may not be a socially acceptable thing to do in the eyes of your teen, but if the problem is severe enough, even a simple email to your child’s teacher may help. It may also allow you to understand how you can guide them to success.

Make an Appointment with Your Child’s Counsellor

If you set up a meeting with your child present, you may be able to come up with a game plan for success.

Overall, as a parent, you need to have a good understanding of what your child is capable of doing. Remember, we want to challenge our kids, and we don’t want them to learn just to give up.

Be an advocate for your child and if you believe the work is too difficult, be sure to support them and help them get to where they need to be.

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