Helping Teens Advocate For Themselves

There is no doubt that when teens get to college they need to be able to advocate for themselves, mom and dad and their teachers from high school are no longer watching over their shoulder reminding them about overdue homework, getting better grades, attending classes, taking notes, studying for the tests, completing long term projects on schedule and checking in with the teachers for progress updates.

Here are a few tips to help your teen transition to college and/or a career:

  • Your teen needs to know what they can do, how they learn and what makes it easier for them to understand the world around them to succeed.  

  • He/she needs to have ongoing communication in high school with the teaching team to understand more how to succeed and overcome challenges.


  • Help your teen to learn how to communicate by helping them to ask questions for what they need in a respectful manner particularly when they don’t understand what is expected, then listen to the answers, write them down by taking notes and then make a plan. 


  • Your goal is to help your teen gain confidence that it is ok to ask questions in a respectful manner.


  • Help your teen to learn to email their questions to a teacher with special attention to their spelling, grammar and tone. However as equally important is to teach them to reply to the teacher’s email answer with a “thank you for your help”.  Learning courtesy is so important to keep the door open for further communication.                            
  • Help your teen to identify and recognize his/her support team including family members, former teachers, counselors and principals, and at the college level which resources will be important to reach out to.


  • If your child has an IEP, your teen should be participating in every IEP team meeting to understand the plan and advocate for himself tobe able to communicate his/her needs in college or the workplace.                                                                                      

 Here are some great self advocacy resources to share with your teens

Nancy Frede is an ESE Educational professional who works with students from Prek - Grade 12 to learn how to succeed in the classroom making better choices for their future college and careers. Nancy is active in local libraries, youth programs and schools in southwest Florida and CT working with both teachers and students to be more successful in their daily life. Her fees are geared to those who are financially challenged. Please email or call 508/380-3737.