First of all, you advance up the ranks as follows: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. You first earn the rank of Scout. Each rank has its own set of requirements. You must complete every requirement to earn the rank.
For example, for the Scout rank, you’ll need to complete all the requirements for rank (as listed on your White Card and in the Scout Handbook). Then you need to get a review from an older scout. Once you have that (and hopefully receive a full recommendation to go for rank), you’ll take a Test Board to be tested on your scout skills knowledge. When you pass, next up is your Board of Review (a short review going over how your scouting experience is going so far), and then on to the last step … a Scoutmaster's Conference. In the Scoutmaster's Conference you meet with the Scoutmaster and you discuss your future in Scouting. Don’t worry he won't bite, it’s his job to help you succeed in Scouting! After talking with him, you will be awarded the rank of Scout at the next Court of Honor.
Read the “Road to First Class” section below for all the nitty-gritty details.
How can parents help their son?
Keep in mind that a parent is not allowed to sign off requirements for advancement. There are other ways you can help your son advance, though. You can make sure that your son knows what he still must do in order to earn his next rank. Review with him before a Board of Review. Show support for him. But remember that Boy Scouting is about the boys maturing and independence. Senior Scouts would like to be asked questions by the scout, NOT by the scout's parent.