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Help Freshmen Students Adjust to High School

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 8/2/2012

The transition to high school is difficult for some students. This article provides tips to encourage ninth-grade students to get involved and start out strong in high school.

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    A Big Change for Most Students

    Moving up to high school is a difficult transition for some students. Children do not really care for change. High school feels very intimidating. Help them adjust to grade 9 and get prepared to excel in high school with the following tips.

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    Assign Teamwork Activities

    Help students make new friends by having the class work in groups or assign students to work with a partner for certain projects. Encourage students to make new friends as they start high school rather than just hanging around with their same friends from earlier grades. Give students other opportunities to work in groups as well; offer extra credit for participating in one group volunteer effort per marking period.

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    Encourage Them to Join Activities

    Alert students that getting involved in school and community activities is important because it will help them build new friendships. Being active in school or community volunteer work will also look great on resumes and college applications. Inform them that colleges often expect students to have volunteer work on their list of high school activities. College recruiters associate such activities with leadership skills.

    Scholarships often require volunteer work, as well. Help ninth-grade students understand that they should take advantage of a wide range of activities to find out what really interests them. They should try new activities as they start high school. Have an older student talk to them to convince them that one never knows where a hobby may lead; sometimes it even helps a student decide to pick a career that relates to a certain activity.

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    Talk About GPAs

    Encourage students to work hard in grade 9 to have a strong grade point average (GPA). Tell freshmen students that when they apply to college, their four-year high school transcript of grades will be examined. Explain the importance of obtaining consistently good grades if they hope to be accepted to a competitive college. Inform them that most colleges expect applicants to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in high school. College grant and scholarship money, which does not have to be repaid, is avialable only to those students who meet the 3.0 GPA requirement or above.

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    Build Self Confidence

    Create writing assignments that help students analyze their goals for life and write about their strengths. Help students understand via their writing that everyone is unique and has special skills and strengths. It is also helpful to have students work with a partner as the year advances and have the partner write a list of the other student’s best qualities. Helping students to focus on their positive traits helps them see their unique abilities.

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    Talk to Guidance

    Finally, talk to the guidance department if a student does not seem to be adjusting well to high school. It is easier for classroom teachers to notice this than guidance counselors, who do not see the students as frequently as the teachers. Reach out and get help for students who seem withdrawn or upset at the transition to high school.

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