Journey into Freshman Year

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Welcome back! 

If you are a freshman, welcome to high school!

We want to take a few minutes to welcome the newcomers and help them make a good, strong start. Taking the leap into 9th grade is an adventure and thus demands good positioning. Orienting oneself and knowing what is coming is often the best preparation for change, so below are a few of the changes that will come your way this year.

Freshman year is about breaking new ground and exploring new opportunities. In some ways, this is the first year that “counts” for college: all of your courses for grades 9 through 12, and the grades earned in each, will be recorded on your official transcript. Since your transcript (academic record) will one day be sent to colleges, strategic planning should increasingly become a significant part of your daily routine. Managing your time becomes as essential as preparing for tests and papers. School is about to become very busy with responsibilities and new possibilities, so prepare yourself for an exciting and productive high school experience. 

Plan your schedule carefully from the beginning. You will have choices to make in high school, so think about how your course load will unfold over four years and begin creating a map for accomplishing your goals. Seek advice and consider feedback when you choose your classes. Grades are important in 9th grade, but rigor is key when, later, you are looking to impress colleges, so don’t just go for the easy A. Good planning will help you determine the right amount of challenge so that you can achieve balance in your coursework.

You have more independence in high school, so please ask for help if you run into trouble. If you earn a low grade, accept it as constructive criticism. Always read teachers’ comments and figure out how to apply good advice. Consult with parents, a counselor, or a teacher if you are feeling stress. There are many paths to success, and an informed adult can help you choose the right one for you. 

Schoolwork is important, but your talents, hobbies and passions are important too. The start of high school is a great time to try something new. How about the debate team, a new sport, theater (on-stage or behind the curtain as stage crew) or recycling club? School is much more fun when you are involved! Making good friends is very much a part of your school life. 

Read constantly and talk with your friends about topics that are particularly interesting to you. Books, newspapers, blogs, TEDTalks, YouTube videos or micro videos -- all will help you stay up to date with the latest news. Following your curiosity will surely bring you to inspiring places.

As high school begins, for both the new and the experienced student, remember to schedule downtime. Strike a balance and remember the importance of time with family and friends, not to mention keeping some space for yourself. 

Taking positive control is the best way to begin your high school journey.