Look at those faces, a range of emotions easily detected in their smiles, or lack of, due to excitement and/or apprehension about the first day of high school. Most certainly it brings back memories of the first day of kindergarten. As some describe it, “The smell and fear of the unknown.”
Actually, all returning students, regardless of grade level, experience an emotional strain about the countdown to the main event. However, the most anxious will be the incoming freshman class.
And why is that, you might ask, since students of many grade levels will be entering new schools? That’s true, but the freshman class will collectively be the largest high school grade level experiencing new changes.
As a counselor, I assisted many new students, grades 10-12, transition to my school for thirty years, but it’s different for freshmen. They are dealing with change that could affect their initial success in high school. At least the upperclassmen have passed the introduction to high school, whereas the “newbies” are beginning a new phase of life.
A supportive parent can be an asset during this transition, just be careful, though, not to enable your child. It is expected that this transition will help develop skills of self-advocacy and assertiveness necessary during this developmental phase. I can remember many freshmen who would have surprised their parents with their independent problem-solving actions. Not only did they handle it themselves, but they did it quickly.
The most obvious apprehension for some students is change and anxiety about the unknown, which we all experience. I can recall the following anxious questions:
What will happen if I get lost and can’t find my way to class?
- Will older kids push me in my locker and shut or lock it?
- Will they put me on top of the snack and soda machines?
- Will they try to pick a fight with me, take my lunch, or steal my personal belongings?
- Will they bully me in front of my peers and/or on Facebook?
It’s helpful to remind freshmen of earlier life transitions, so as not to think of high school as being “the first.” Starting kindergarten/first grade, going to middle school, first night away from home, and other milestones are life transitions they can relate to as they prepare for high school. If the freshman is ready for a future analogy, in four years, the process begins again with the transition to college.
Reminding them that transition is a recurring learning experience, even for adults, can eventually ease their fears. However, if any extreme physical and/or mental stressors appear, do attempt to immediately resolve those issues. Factors of concern should include sleepless nights, psychosomatic disorders, emotional and behavioral changes, and the unexpected development of school phobia/refusal. Consult with medical and school specialists for helpful interventions.
Getting acclimated to the new environment can be comforting to an apprehensive ninth grader. I highly recommend attending the freshman orientation. It allows the student to become familiar with the school, and to navigate a route for getting to his/her classes while grades 10-12 are out of the building. I also had freshmen request an appointment to meet me, prior to the first day, to discuss high school transition, as well as getting acquainted with their new counselor.
If school has already started and the student is still unsettled, a meeting with the counselor to discuss adjustment strategies could be helpful, as well as assigning an upperclassman mentor. Parents can be just as anxious as the student, so don’t let them see you sweat.
Boston University will be hosting two receptions on Sunday, September 20th for Metro DC area juniors and seniors. Scroll down to read the announcement for locations and designated times. Registration is required; RSVP on BU’s website.
Are you a high school senior hoping to play NCAA sports in college? If so, read the new guidelines that will pertain to current seniors, Class of 2016, who want to play D-I sports, and current sophomores, Class of 2018, who desire to play D-II athletics.
If You Enroll AFTER August 1, 2016:
To be eligible to practice, compete and receive athletics scholarships in your first full-time year at a Division I school, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following requirements:
1. Complete 16 NCAA core courses:
• Four years of English;
• Three years of math (Algebra 1 or higher);
• Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it);
• Two years of social science;
• One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science; and
• Four additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy.
2. Complete 10 core courses, including seven in English, math or natural/physical science, before the start of your seventh semester. Once you begin your seventh semester, you may not repeat or replace any of those 10 courses for GPA improvement.
3. Earn at least a 2.3 GPA in your core courses.
4. Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score that matches your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale for students enrolling on or after August 1, 2016.
If You Enroll AFTER August 1, 2018
To be eligible to practice, compete and receive an athletics scholarship in your first full-time year at a Division II school, you must graduate high school and meet ALL the following requirements:
1. Complete 16 core courses:
• Three years of English;
• Two years of math (Algebra 1 or higher);
• Two years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if your high school offers it);
• Two years of social science;
• Three additional years of English, math or natural or physical science; and
• Four additional years of English, math, natural or physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy.
2. Earn at least a 2.2 GPA in your core courses.
3. Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score that matches your core-course GPA on the Division II competition sliding scale.
What is a SLIDING SCALE?
The NCAA Eligibility Center uses a sliding scale to balance your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you will need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible. If you have a low core-course GPA, you will need a higher test score to be eligible.
To obtain further information about NCAA and its guidelines, download the NCAA publications at http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/CBSA16.pdf. The information is pertinent to middle and high school families.
I hope you had a restful and enjoyable summer. With classes now in full swing we are excited to have our amazing new freshman class on campus. Check out our 2015 freshman profile which is a helpful guide to advise students and families about Georgia Tech and our admission process.
Director of Undergraduate Admission
P.S. Why should students apply to Georgia Tech? Here is our complete list of reasons, unabridged.
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The hot days of August are here, which means one thing…you have already returned to school or will be back very soon. Regardless of your circumstances, embrace this important fashion message….you can fun with chic, but appropriate, back-to-school attire.
As teenagers plan their 2015-16 school wardrobe, they should think like a professional and make sure their fashion statement is appropriate. This is particularly true the first day of school when the fashion show runway consumes every corridor in the building. It’s nice to get the approval nod from the spectators, but it’s even better when your style and flare represent good taste.
If you’re not sure your outfit is suitable, I strongly suggest you read the school’s policy on “appropriate attire,” before entering the building. As a counselor, I kept extra t-shirts in my office for those occasions when administrators or teachers felt a student’s top was too revealing or the language on a shirt was vulgar.
Some students had to call home and ask a parent to bring “more appropriate” clothes to school or borrow a sweater from a classmate. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for fashion…you should check out my closet. However, there is a time and place for everything and don’t assume anything can be worn at school. Would you wear something tasteless to a job interview?
Here are some fashion “no-no’s” to use as a guide:
1. Skirts and dresses that are too short and/or too tight
2. Revealing tops; exposed cleavage
3. Gang insignia
4. Inappropriate language on clothing
5. Hats/caps (not allowed in some schools)
6. Tops that are too short and/or too tight
7. Pants that are worn too far below the waist/mid-thigh area (also called low-riders)
8. Undergarments that are visible (boxers, panties)
This list is a general guideline. Inquire at school, if in doubt, before making an embarrassing fashion statement. When male students came to my office for an appointment wearing low-riders, they had one choice to make before they could sit…pull up the pants or stand. In case you are wondering, yes, those pants were quickly adjusted.
Just a heads up! Due to the “unknown factor” with the Redesigned SAT, many juniors are being encouraged to take a fall SAT-Reasoning (current test), spring ACT, and/or June SAT-Reasoning (redesigned version). The issue with the March SAT is that it’s the first redesigned test and the scores will not be released promptly, due to norming issues. It’s expected that the situation might be better for the June SAT. As a result, the speculation is that the fall SAT centers will fill quickly with current seniors and juniors. There is an assumption that ACT centers will also fill quickly due to an increased registration of juniors this year, as an alternative to the SAT, especially in some areas.
As a school counselor I always encouraged my students to register early for spring SAT’s, at the beginning of the school year, so they would not jeopardize their testing site choice. However, the rationale for the early registration now is somewhat similar to my reason and yet a little different. Therefore, if you are considering a current SAT administration don’t wait too late to register.