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How Do You Prepare For the Transition to a New High School?

Authored By: 
George Higgins, Headmaster

By now, the letters of acceptance have been delivered and you’re choosing the high school you want your child to attend in September.  Once the contract has been signed and the deposit sent, it’s time to prepare your student for the transition to high school.

Over the next several months, several things can be done to help make this move go smoothly.  A little planning now will pay off in the fall.

Start by taking a look at the academic requirements at your new school.  Find out the courses that will be taken next year.  If possible, ask for the syllabi so you can review the expectations of each teacher.  Does you child possess the skill level required to enter these classes?  If not, many parents enroll children in summer courses that will enrich or review concepts to strengthen a student’s academic foundation before beginning school in the fall.  Having a strong understanding of the fundamentals of a subject will provide a safer starting point for new courses.

Find some good books and continue reading over the summer.  The key to a good comprehension in any course is the ability to read and process the material.  Students will see a dip in their skill level over the summer if they spend several months not exercising their brain.  Most schools can provide you with a suggested reading list.  Often times, schools will require students to read a couple of those books over the summer.  Even if they don’t, you should require it.  The content can be a subject the interests the student; the prose should be something this school deems sufficient.  A good reading list will provide enough options to make everyone happy.00

Finally, look for fun activities that involve a small group of teenagers.  Maneuvering the social intricacies of high school intimidates many students and honing those social skills comes from supervised interaction with other teenagers.  Identify areas that interest your child, and chances are, you can find a summer program somewhere in New York City that focuses on it.  It could be a dance or acting class, an art or film class, or kickboxing or yoga.  It should be something that isn’t academic and involves something your child is curious about, or at least “could” be curious about.  (I know that some young teenagers can exhibit a total apathy for everything.)

As scary as the transition from middle to high school or one high school to another can be, it is manageable and can even be exciting if you take a few steps to make sure that there aren’t any surprises.  If you stumble upon something you didn’t anticipate, just ask for help.  The staff in high schools will be as friendly and supportive as the school you just left.