Ten Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Time at Independent High School

You made it! You’ve taken the SSAT, submitted your application and received your admission letter (congrats by the way). Now it’s time to take the next step to high school, are you ready? Here is my top ten pieces of advice for anyone on to bigger and better things, a.k.a. high school.

  1. Step out of the comfort zone! – Maybe you’ve been a soccer player your whole life, why not try theater? You will never know what your skills and likes are until you try for yourself. High school isn’t about sticking with the old, it’s about stepping on to the new! So go for it, and make sure to leave the comfort zone behind.
  2. Try a sport – While it’s true that high school sports may provide a path towards a college athletic scholarship, athletics are more than just that. The skills, discipline and lessons available only through athletics are often times even more valuable than the chance for a scholarship. Worried about the tryout? Don’t sweat it, many sports like cross country, swimming and crew, will often take anyone willing to put in the time – so go for it!
  3. Join a club – Club’s provide an opportunity to learn outside the classroom, many times about subjects you may find great interest in. But maybe you have a club in mind that your school doesn’t offer, well, create it then! The process of forming a new club is often very simple.
  4. Know the rules – You are going to be learning a lot in high school, just make sure though that you learn the rules as well. From dress code, to cafeteria recycling rules, to the honor code, sometimes rules can get complicated, but it’s important to put in the time to learn them. No one wants to end up in detention over a rule they weren’t even aware of.
  5. Stay connected to old friends – You are going to make new friends in high school, that’s a given, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave middle school friends behind! Things are bound to get busy but holding on to past friendships will help keep you grounded in your new environment, and when you look back, you’ll be happy you did.
  6. Meet the administration – While it may be easy to meet your teachers through class, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time getting to know the other members of the school administration. Whether it’s your new principal, a school religious figure, a secretary, or even a crossing guard, often times it is these individuals who will offer the greatest advice.
  7. Explore opportunities – From jazz band, to robotics club, to college visits, high schools, especially independent schools, offer a wide variety of interesting and enriching opportunities to take advantage of. Unfortunately though, if you don’t seek the opportunities, you may never become aware of them, so it’s very important to reach out and explore all the possible opportunities your school has to offer.
  8. Begin the college process early – Frankly, the college process is stressful. The best way to ensure a smooth and manageable experience is to begin as early as possible. Often times, high schools will offer college guidance, why not set up a meeting? This approach also applies to test prep as well, the sooner you begin to prepare, the less you have to do when it’s application time.
  9. Ask for help when needed ­­– No one is perfect, and there will be a time in everyone’s high school career when help is necessary. There is no shame in asking for help from time to time. Your high school will likely provide many resources for student help; whether it is tutoring services, guidance, or athletic training, the help will be there – all you need to do is ask.
  10. Have fun! – While education will always remain the focus of your time in high school, recreation and social experiences shouldn’t be neglected. So go to a football game, meet your friends after school for pizza, have a pickup game of football or basketball, it is at these activities where you may end up learning about yourself, as well as form lifelong bonds.

Did I forget something? Any Questions? Feel free to leave a comment below! 

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