3 mistakes students make that can impact their future


You’ve heard it before: the choices you make now will shape your future, and for our children this is especially true.

Most students will naturally avoid anything that requires extra work, so they make choices that they feel are “safe” and never unlock their true potential. Others are more adventurous and make daring choices that leave you scratching your head saying, “What were you thinking?”

Here are three common mistakes students make that can have an impact on their future plans:



Before picking an elective or required course, students should make sure they are prepared for it. Choosing the wrong classes or taking too many demanding classes at once can spell disaster. It may be a lifelong dream of your child to learn a foreign language, but taking on Chinese or Arabic in their 10th grade year may not be a good idea.

Before committing, students should think about the possible consequences. If your child finds out that it is too much for them to handle, they should drop the class! It is better to drop the class and maintain a good overall GPA. Choose something else instead. Do they really want to end up attending summer school, repeating the class, or even worse, failing out of school? Why risk it? Make deliberate choices. Visiting the school counselor can help your child talk their things through.



When choosing extracurricular activities, don’t go overboard. Having too many extracurricular activities limits students’ ability to be dedicated to a full experience because their time is spread too thin.  Focus on one to three activities and really get involved. The objective is to show longevity and growth in the chosen activity or volunteer effort.  

Whether it is attending college or seeking employment, showing what you have accomplished holds a lot of weight. For example did the extracurricular activity lead to a special recognition? A leadership position? Failure to show active participation or long-term commitment in an organization or volunteer position can result in lost scholarships, decreased chances of college/university acceptance, and even lost job opportunities.



Most students live day by day, and graduation seems like something that is eons away. However, time passes very quickly and before they know it, ACT/SAT test dates are set, college applications are due and for some regret sets in. Regrets because they may lack a class to graduate, have a low GPA, or a low ACT/SAT score.

To avoid being in that position, encourage your child to take their studies seriously. Encourage your child to take every opportunity to be present in every moment at school. Zoning out is not an option. Learn about all of the opportunities you have at school.  

Recently, I asked a student who attends a local school what she feels sets her school apart from her friend’s schools, she bluntly said,  “We are not allowed to coast. We are challenged everyday. We are required to focus and they aren’t.”

Finally, it is important for parents to be actively involved with their child’s education and talk to them about the impact of being uninformed or complacent with their choices.  Their choices can either create a smooth or rocky pathway to the school year ahead and beyond.  They need to understand that there is a balance that must be maintained with their class load and extracurricular activities.

Encourage them to be present in the moment. They can miss a lot just coasting. As they start this new year, plan now for the year ahead. If your child aggressively seeks information on what they need to succeed in school, they are well on their way to success.  If they are not, then we as parents must help them make informed decisions to stay on the right track.  There is too much weighing on their choices, and we need them to make choices that will create positive outcomes in their future.

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