Social-emotional skills: monitoring goals & managing stress to support academic success

More and more schools continue to embrace social-emotional learning as an area that overlaps and directly supports students' academic success—and for good reason. Social and emotional skills, which include monitoring one's goals and managing stress, can help students overcome challenges, achieve their personal and academic goals, manage their time more effectively, and boost their confidence and motivation.

Here are some steps students can take to monitor their goals and manage their stress levels.

Monitoring goals

Students put themselves in a better position to achieve their goals when they keep track of their progress. Thinking about how far they've come and what still needs to be done can be good opportunities for students to celebrate their accomplishments and continue improving their goal-setting and time management skills for the future.

Pausing to celebrate wins, no matter how small, is a great starting point. Students can do this at the end of every day or as they check tasks off their list over the course of the day, building short breaks and small rewards into their daily routines. Keeping track of what they've achieved and telling others—like family and friends—about those successes can boost students' confidence levels. Acknowledging the hard work that went into each accomplishment helps students recognize the progress they're making and stay motivated to keep it up.

Managing stress

Stress can affect how students perceive situations and how they decide to react. Recognizing when they're feeling stressed is an important first step. Students can regularly check in with themselves to identify how they're feeling and the situations that have prompted those feelings. In fact, the simple act of naming when you're feeling stressed can help instantly lower your blood pressure and ease your stress levels. For this reason, it can be helpful for students to write about their feelings or talk to a trusted friend or family member.

Becoming more aware of the physical symptoms they experience when stressed can also help students feel more levelheaded in challenging situations. By counteracting their physical symptoms of tension, students can signal to their bodies and minds that they're in control and everything is okay. For example, if you experience irregular breathing when stressed, you may find it helpful to practice controlled breathing exercises.

  • Intentionally inhaling and exhaling for set periods of time can calm the body’s stress response by slowing your heartbeat and lowering your blood pressure.
  • Box breathing involves inhaling, holding your breath, exhaling, and holding your lungs empty for four counts each.


To support students' social-emotional development and their academic success, we've developed a new, four-part Academic Mentorship program. The program focuses on the independent study skills and social-emotional strategies that our experts know students need in order to build their confidence and stay on top of their academic and other commitments. To learn more, reach out to us here.

Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


About ArborBridge

ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.

Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

About Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

As one of the highest-performing tutors in ArborBridge’s history, Erin coaches tutors and develops tools and trainings to disrupt old habits and empower new strengths. With a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Erin worked as a classroom teacher and student services director prior to joining ArborBridge in 2017. Her decade of success as an educator has prepared her to ensure that programs are tailored to individual students’ needs.

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