This being my first year out of high school, everything is completely different. The amount of free time in between classes, the amount of homework given and the way tests are made. Everything about college is a complete shell shock from high school. Although high school was somewhat difficult for me, it also happened to be the best four years of my life. This is just some advice for how to handle high school whether you're already in it or going into high school next fall, I hope this article helps you to open your eyes a little more to what the next four years will be like or even if you could relate to some of the stuff you're about to read.
Making the transition from middle to high school can be an exciting, albeit intimidating process. Often times the student body is larger, and you’re a new fish in a much larger pond. For others the surroundings might be the same, but the academics are challenging and the expectations are much higher. Your freshman year of high school marks the beginning of an important high school journey – one that will, hopefully, lead you to a great college education. There will be growing pains; the start of high school may be exciting, but it will be a big adjustment. There will be new classes, new teachers, new students, and often an entirely new campus to navigate. There will be opportunities to explore new interests. High school holds a wealth of opportunities for freshman students. From new clubs and organizations, to sports teams and other activities, there’s no shortage of extracurricular for you to explore. College may seem far off, but you will need to prepare. Colleges look at all four years of academics, not just junior and senior year, so start your freshman year off on the right foot by performing well in your courses. If you’re having difficulty understanding some of the material, don’t be the shy freshman who silently struggles – ask your teachers for help.
You made your way through 9th grade, and now you're probably wondering what to expect your sophomore year in high school. It's not as nerve-wracking as your freshman year, where everything is new. Instead, being a Sophomore means knowing enough to start your focus on college and/or your career path after high school. Being a 10th grader means taking things a little more seriously while being more comfortable in your surroundings. You're no longer "fresh-meat", but you're also not an upperclassmen yet either. Being a sophomore is being that awkward grade where you're almost stuck in the middle. Classes get a little bit harder now that you're in your sophomore year, teachers no longer baby you. You'll be expected to do more work and take more responsibility. One of the biggest obstacles of your high school career will be taking the SAT and/or ACT. Some students take only one, but others will take both. If you're planning to go to college, these tests are pretty much mandatory, and they are weighted pretty heavily in admission decisions. The best way to improve your testing abilities is to take the pre-SAT and/or pre-ACT tests. Suddenly your sophomore year becomes about thinking forward to college. You start to think first if you want to go to college. If you don't, what will you do? Then it becomes what college you want to go to. You know you have some time to decide where you're going, sure, but the thoughts start to seep in during this year. Finally, you're starting to learn to drive! Some sophomores are lucky enough to turn 16 during first 2 quarters, but most will turn driving age by the end of the school year. While there is all this anxiety mounting about the college talk, this is the year that you will likely get your driver's license.
The junior year of high school often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Junior year is one of those middle years lost between the fear and excitement of the first year of high school and the joy and bravado of the senior year of high school. In the hierarchy of importance, however, the junior year deserves a high ranking because of its pivotal nature. Junior year selection of classes and the grades you receive in them is very important because it is the last full year of grades that admissions folks will review while deciding your fate. You’ll want to stick to a tough regimen of college-prep classes, including some advanced-placement or other honors classes, if possible. Don’t go crazy with the courses and overload yourself, but the courses and grades you receive in your junior year are very important. From start to end of junior year, it is filled with standardized tests. Taking the old SAT/ACT was probably one of the most stressful things I've ever experienced. The SAT classes were complete hell, but it was completely worth it. Be sure to study all you can because these tests are what could make or break you when applying to colleges. This is THE time to get organized for handling the college material that will be coming your way in the mail, in your email, and from college fairs and visits to your high school. By the end of your junior year you’ll have a list of no more than 10 to 15 colleges.
This is it. The last homecoming, spirit week, pep rally, SATs, ect. You get your college decisions and then by May you know where all your friends are going and where you'll be spending the next four years of your life making new friends and new memories with so many different people. This is the year to go all out and make it the best yet. Your grades STILL matter, no matter how deep into "senioritis" you are, you have to keep up your grades for when colleges you've applied to or been accepted to request a report update halfway through the year. Speaking of, "senioritis", it's going to hit you real quick. It’s important to know that senioritis, while playfully named, is no joke. Colleges can rescind your offer of admission if your performance drops. Also, succumbing to senioritis can leave you very little prepared for a college course load, as you can get used to putting in the bare minimum to get by; which won’t fly next year. Senior year will be exciting, but very emotional. The 10 final months of high school you have will go by so quickly you won't even realize it until your name is called for you to receive your diploma. Make your 4 years of high school amazing and you'll never regret it a day in your life.