It’s hard to believe that the new school year is right around the corner! For students in North Carolina public schools, that year starts Aug. 26.
While it’s normally an exciting time of year, it can be a bit intimidating for those students entering high school for the first time.
While every new school year is important, the freshman year can set the tone for the entire high school career. Parents need to speak with their teen and impress upon them the importance of that first year. One of the biggest fallacies is that freshman year doesn’t count – wrong! What you do freshman year often lays the path for future years.
So what’s a freshman to do? First, make sure the courses you are taking are challenging. This doesn’t mean loading up on courses that are clearly too difficult or will be unreasonably demanding.
Students often believe that if they load up on honors and AP courses that they are doing well. Not so if you’re not getting A’s! Above all else, colleges look at your un-weighted GPA. Look for a balance of classes that will challenge you, yet allow you to excel.
Second, get involved! Now is the time to try all those activities you’ve always heard about. Look to explore service and academic clubs, student government, the arts, and even athletics. And don’t just look in your school. Get involved in your community, neighborhood and place of worship. This is a wonderful time to see what’s out there. You may be surprised at what you find!
Third, get to know your teachers, coaches, counselors and administrators. These are the people that will be guiding you for four years.
Parents, too, should make an effort to attend open houses and meet the teacher night. If you can’t make it, send an email and introduce yourself. Establishing a rapport early on will make communications more effective, particularly if a problem should arise in the future.
Finally, remember why you are here: To get an education. While it’s much easier said than done, try to avoid impressing new friends or fitting in with the perceived popular group.
High school is not supposed to be about reinventing yourself to what others think you should be. It’s about discovering who you are. So study hard and prepare for a great four years!
Christine M. Hall, Ed.D., is owner of CMH College Consulting in Cary. Hall, who has children of her own, offers advice on the college application and decision process here on Go Ask Mom from time to time. See some of her earlier posts in the box above.