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What Should You Look For in a High School?

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

So you’re starting high school next year.  For some, that means that you need to look for a new school.  There are so many things to consider: Will I like the other kids?  Can I be on the debate team and the soccer team?  Do they let freshman have roles in the spring play?  But you may not have a good strategy for finding that new school and making sure that you’ve done what you can to be successful in high school.

Make a list of what you want.  I don’t mean “I want a car” or “I want world peace.” I mean, think about what qualities you’d like in your ideal high school: class size (do you prefer to be part of a crowd, or do you need more support in the classroom?) and extra-curriculars (do you want a school with a strong sports program or are the arts more your thing?)

Rank your “wants” and decide which are “must-haves.” You’ve just created your perfect school…but we know that life is rarely perfect.  Where are you willing to compromise?  What’s going to make you comfortable in your next school?  What is necessary for you to be successful in high school?  Sure, it’s fun to be part of the Ultimate Frisbee team, but you need to have a school with a great science program if you’re going to pursue your dream of being an engineer.

Do your research.  As with science projects, the secret to finding your ideal high school is to find out as much as you can about the “field.” Go online. Go to school fairs. Know the application process for various schools.  Attend open houses or interviews.  Do you know someone who attends that school?  Talk to your friends or trusted adults to get their input and feedback.  This is not something you want to leave to chance or let others make decisions for you.

If you really want to find the right school for yourself, you can’t leave it to chance.  Like most things in school and in life, you have to put in the hard work to get the best result.  Good luck!

You can read the other articles in this series: Preparing for High School - What To Do Before You Get There and Preparing for High School - Now That You're There