Advice for High School Freshmen

For most freshmen in high school, it has been awhile since you have been the youngest person in school.  One of the adjustments that is needed in high school is re-learning the social totem pole; juniors and seniors are upperclassmen, and they are usually involved in student council, yearbook, and varsity teams.  Freshmen enter the waiting period of getting to learn how high school works and taking on secondary roles for a few years until they are the upperclassmen.

High school has more freedom than middle school and junior high.  Often students have open campus options, so you can leave at lunch. High schools offer a lot of elective choices and team choices.  In early secondary school, electives are usually exploratory so that students can find their niches.  By high school, students should have a sense of their strengths and interests and their elective class choices should reflect their personal interests.  As a freshman, you might be limited in class choices because the upperclassmen will be scheduled first so that they can get the classes that they need for college.

Depending on the size of your town, there will be more students in high school than there were in middle school. High schools often have students from multiple middle schools and junior high schools. There may be students who have been in homeschools or private schools who are attending public schools for the first time.  Freshmen should prepare to see new faces and have some social adjustments as old friends make new friends.   If you had a certain role in your elementary or middle school, such as being the smartest student or the fastest runner, you will find yourself competing against the smartest students and fastest runners from other middle schools who are in your high school.

There is less adjustment time allotted in high school than there is in middle school.  Middle school is a time to learn the ropes of secondary school, so teachers expect high school students to be able to work and organize their lockers, adjust to different teachers’ personalities and classroom rules, and manage homework levels. Schools also expect students to demonstrate abilities to handle social problems.  Although bullying is a school administration concern, most high school freshmen are expected to resolve conflicts, or at least attempt to resolve conflicts, independently. High school marks a decrease in dependence on teachers for guidance and an increase in personal responsibility, and being a freshman is the first stage of that increased independence.