Life is full of transitions. Every year brings new changes that can alter your carefully plotted schedules and plans. When will things ever be normal and predictable for a while? Now, before you even realized, high school has sneaked up on you, and you’re facing another big shift in the status quo.
You and your student are facing some great changes and choices. What high school will you be going to after this last year of middle school? Will you have any of the same friends there? Will you be nervous to get new teachers? How can you be sure the educational program at the high school is good enough for your student’s unique needs? And will this all be preparing your student for college in the best way?
Parents and students alike should be proactive about prepping for high school. Here are some main steps to take to that end. Start off with actively questioning high school expectations, standards, and program options. You can use questions such as the following:
Questions to Ask About High School
- What’s your track record in graduating high school seniors and college attendees?
- How do you plan to prepare my student for college?
- Are there any AP or honors courses available?
- How will you prepare my student for life when they leave home?
- What kind of support system do you provide for your students?
- What’s the expected study workload and homework hours?
- What extracurricular activities are available?
- How do you handle conflict management with students, if needed?
Once you’ve established a few answers for those, then both parents and students can take individual and collaborative efforts to prepare for high school. Let’s start with the adults!
Parent Preparation for High School
Your specific steps will change depending on your familiarity with the process (had kids go to high school before?) or any specific challenges your student has in their education, but this is a solid foundation.
- Check out the High School Options - Go and visit the campus to get an in-person sense of the culture, faculty, and facilities.
- Get Community Reviews - Talk to other parents and students about their experiences at particular high schools and check out online reviews as well.
- Look Into Extracurricular Activities - Does your student have a sport or other field of study they’re hugely passionate about? Does the school offer any sort of program for them?
- Consider Summer Camps - Look into high school preparatory camps that will ease your student’s transition into this new education sphere.
- Find a Study Buddy - Getting your student a study partner at the school in question can not only ease their introduction to new topics and grade requirements, but also provide a potential friend in a new social environment.
- Figure Out and Practice the Travel Route - Whether you drive them or they take the busy, get comfortable with the new daily routine so they don’t feel lost geographically while orienting to a new school.
- Establish a Safety Plan - Determine the best way for your student to reach you in case of emergencies, and learn exactly what the school has planned for different scenarios.
Now here’s what students can do for high school preparation.
Student Preparation for High School
- Keep a Positive Attitude - While going to high school can be stressful and scary, try to think of the many opportunities for new friends, new career dreams, and new positive experiences that are waiting for students.
- Don’t Slack on Homework - Just because you’ll be leaving middle school behind doesn’t mean your grades there suddenly don’t matter. Keep up healthy studying habits and take them with you into high school.
- Don’t Get Lazy - Don’t push off important decisions about high school, such as sports or extracurricular activities you might need to sign up for. Getting involved sooner than later will help you focus on the new fun you’re having rather than feeling like a newcomer.
- Communicate! - Keep your parents in the loop about how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to ask for help or encouragement. Also take advantage of any school counselor who can help ease the transition period.
What other steps are you making to help you and your student prepare for high school? We’ll be diving into more detailed questions to ask when picking a high school that’s best for you, so stay tuned!