Each school year brings new opportunities. Although attending a new school can involve some butterflies as kids acclimate to their new classmates and teachers, the transition from grade school to high school is typically one of the more dramatic transitions students have to make.
Although starting high school can be an overwhelming experience full of change, there are many ways for students to ease this transition.
• Take part in high school orientation. Orientations help students acclimate to their new surroundings. Orientation sessions can provide insight on coursework and help kids learn about the campus and any amenities it provides. Learning the layout of the school in advance can help calm any first-day jitters students may encounter.
• Arrive prepared. Make sure all summer assignments are completed so you start off on the right foot. Unprepared students are likely to be apprehensive.
• Adjust to new sleep-wake schedules. Summer vacation may have been filled with late nights and sleepy mornings, but now that school will begin anew, it’s time for students to gradually readjust their schedules. That will make it easier to wake up for school. Many high schools begin the day earlier than grammar schools and middle schools. It may take a few weeks to grow accustomed to the earlier hours, so start waking up earlier as the summer winds down.
• Plan to arrive with friends. Seeing familiar faces can help students feel more secure. High schools tend to be larger than grade schools and include kids from various neighborhoods, but chances are your friends will be attending the same school as you. Carpool with friends during the first week of school so your first steps on campus are with friends.
• Enroll in a mentoring program. Some high schools pair freshmen with upperclassmen so younger students can learn the ropes of the school. New students can benefit from these personalized guides and should feel comfortable asking questions about teachers and school protocol.
• Participate in clubs and extracurricular activities. Another way to feel more comfortable at a new school is to participate in activities. High schools offer numerous extracurricular activities that cater to an array of interests. Band, choir, sports teams, debate teams, student government, and foreign language clubs are just a few examples of enjoyable extracurricular activities. Joining such groups can introduce you to like-minded students.
• Arrive to class on time. Teachers may be more lenient the first few weeks of school, but over time they will expect students to learn their schedules and arrive to class on time. Students can make arrangements with friends to share lockers or employ other strategies to make it easier to get to class on time.