Freshman year of high school is a BIG transition for kids. Most students will move to a new building, take more intense classes, meet new kids, and start seriously thinking about their future (you hope). This year sets the stage and helps determine kids’ success for high school and college. To help your child going have a productive and low-stress freshman year, we have put together six tips that you can start over the summer.
1. Go to freshman orientation. Most high schools offer a freshman orientation before the school year officially starts. Go! You’ll learn the layout of the building, basic rules and get to see the classrooms. If your school doesn’t offer an orientation, see if you can get in the building before the school year begins and take a walk around. Knowing the school a bit is a sure way to decrease first day jitters. High school freshman are notorious for getting lost on campus, help your child avoid this reputation!
2. Join clubs. If your child plays a sport, sings in the chorus and loved helping with the middle school yearbook, encourage them to keep it up. Involved kids could start thinking about taking on more responsibilities and leadership in the activities they love. Keep in mind that there are some activities that colleges seem to value over others. These include drama and debate, which showcase a student’s ability to think on their feet and portray self-confidence.
Have a not-so-involved kid? High school is a great time to try something new from drama club to robotics, many schools offer diverse ways to do something other than academics. Check out your school’s website during the summer to see what activities are offered. Share ideas with your child and make a list of what they may be interested in. High school freshman that get involved in campus activities are more likely to make friends faster and with similar interests as them!
3. Identify your “village”. We all know that it takes a village to raise a great kid – and keep us parents sane. Take a few minutes this summer to figure out who will be in your village for high school. What friends can your child lean on if they hit a tough patch? Do you know who your child’s school counselor is? What support services does the school offer for academic support? Take a look at the school website, local PTA site or Facebook page to see what is offered. And know the signs that indicate your child may need a tutor.
4. Create a study and Homework Plan. Creating a homework and study plan with your child is just important now as it was in middle school. High school usually brings more homework and multi-step projects that require some planning. Help your child put together a fun calendar that they can manage once the school year starts. We love whiteboards, online calendars or if you’re really ambitious, chalk board paint for their room is a fun way to stay organized.
5. Take challenging courses. If your child wants to take AP classes later on, now is the time to work hard and earn great grades. Take a look at your school’s courses for each year of high school and make sure your child is taking the most challenging classes they can and still have success. Remember, a B in an AP class is usually better than an A in a standard class. High school freshman who push themselves early one, are more likely to be ambitious later in life during the college search and beyond.
6. Relax. Finding time to get enough sleep, good food and low-key “hanging-out” is important too. High school should be fun! If you feel like your child is getting too stressed, surprise them with a movie or game night, take them out for their favorite dessert or go for an outdoor adventure like a bike ride or hike. It will keep everyone feeling great and enjoying this new stage of life.