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Congrats, you’re officially transitioning into high school! We compiled a list of tips for starting high school to help you make the most of your experience.

1. Make a visit before school starts

Be sure to attend your high school’s freshman orientation if offered. You will have the chance to check out school campus and receive your schedule for the upcoming school year. If you have any older friends or siblings in high school, ask them to give you a tour of the school!

2. Get involved 

Many clubs will hold meetings in the first month of school where freshmen can come and check it out. Your school may also have a club fair where you’ll be able to see the entirety of student organizations offered! Make sure you involve yourself in clubs or sports that interest you. That way, you’ll be able to meet new people who share the same interests!

3. Pick fun electives

High school may be the first time you’re signing up for elective courses. You can choose from classes in music, art, photography, creative writing, carpentry, computer science, and so on. Pick something that sparks your enthusiasm, but that isn’t too challenging. You’ll want to see how you do in your core classes (Math, Science, English, History, and World Language) before piling on the work with tough electives.

4. Don’t skip class

First impressions are everything, and attendance counts. Some schools will put your number of absences on your transcript, and colleges will see that. You don’t want to have a ton of absences your first year of high school. 

5. Do your best

Even though most people think that junior and senior year are the most important, freshman year grades still count towards your GPA. You might not be thinking about college just yet, but you might consider it in a couple of years. You don’t want bad grades from freshman year haunting you on your college applications!

6. Ask questions in class

Half your class probably has the same question as you but are too afraid to ask. Your peers will be so grateful that you have the nerve to actually raise your hand and ask the question. Asking questions also shows your teachers that you are engaging with the lesson!

7. Learn to manage your time

Believe it or not, students who are busier (i.e. involved in extracurricular activities) obtain higher grades. This has a lot to do with the time management skills that are necessary for a hectic schedule. If you struggle to balance school work and extracurriculars, check out our tips for time management! With a little more practice, you’re on your way to enhancing your productivity!

8. Write down all of your assignments

Use a planner, and write it all down. If you don’t want a planner, use apps or set reminders on your phone. No matter the style you prefer for organization, there is an option for everyone!

9. Learn to speak up for yourself

When you encountered a problem in middle school, the adults in your life likely took care of things for you. When you start high school, your teachers will view you as a young adult and expect you to feel comfortable talking to them. If you’re having trouble keeping up in class, dealing with a bully, or even experiencing problems at home, you should be the one to talk to someone about it. Get to know when your teachers and school counselors are available whether it be during lunch or after school. If you need to talk to someone privately, your teachers and school counselors will be more than happy to do so.

10. Do your homework

Doing your homework will help reinforce what you’re learning in class and improve your overall course grade. If you happen to forget your homework or you had an emergency, it’s always better to address your situation with your teacher rather than keeping quiet. Most teachers will give you partial points for turning in late assignments. When telling your teacher about your missed homework, honesty is always the best policy. Be sure to ask for extra credit opportunities to compensate for the points you’ve lost!