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Student Life | Changing High Schools | June 2012

Surviving Changing High Schools

By Purvi S. Mody | For StudentAdvisor.com

Question: I just finished my freshman year of high school. We are moving over the summer, so I will be starting a new high school in the fall. I am a little nervous about the change. What can I do over the summer to get ready?

Answer: Moving, whether it is across the country or just to the next town over, means many new changes to your everyday life. Changing high schools means that not only do you have to learn to navigate a new school academically, but you also have to find your footing socially.

So let’s first talk about the academics. Contact your new school or school district immediately about registering for the right courses. Since courses often get selected by current students in early spring, many classes may already be filled. However, if you make your requests before final schedules are released late in the summer or on the first day of school, the administration may still be able to move students around so that you stay on the right academic pace.

changing high schools

Also, try to learn about the school. Does it seem more or less rigorous than your current high school? If you set up a four-year plan, revisit it and see how it will change at your new school. Check out your school’s policy on elective courses, graduation requirements, and access to the courses that interest you the most. You can also read online reviews about teachers, but take them with a grain of salt and form your own opinions when school begins. If you are a little anxious about the difficult of next year’s courses, perhaps read ahead a bit so that you are not blindsided in your first few weeks.

When you do start school, talk to your teachers individually. Let them know that you changed high schools and that you are eager to do well. Chances are they will be a little more aware of your progress and help you adjust. Additionally, make sure to meet with your guidance counselor. Just remember that, with time, you will full adjust to your new setting. Use the resources the school has available to make that adjustment as easy as possible.

Changing schools is just as much about making new friends as it is about new classes. If you don’t currently know anyone at your new school, reach out to your current friends to see if they happen to know anyone. When you move into your new neighborhood, try to get to know your neighbors. They might be your new classmates or can at least introduce you to some other high school students. You can also meet other teenagers by getting involved in the community through summer sports, community service, or other activities. And if you are particularly interested in getting involved in specific activities at your new school, go online to your school’s website and see if the leadership team for that club is listed – usually, at least one officer is listed. Reach out to that person by email or Facebook and ask about summer activities. At the very least, you will have introduced yourself to a few people before school starts.

Dive into school activities as soon as the new year begins. On-campus organizations and sports teams are a great way to meet people with similar interests. Making a friendship group early on will definitely ease your overall transition.

Change can often be scary, but use this as a chance to reinvent yourself. Think of it as an excuse to try new things and meet new people. While you might be leaving your old life behind, technology makes it possible to still stay connected. Look for the good in your new school and neighborhood, and make the most of every opportunity. Good luck!

Purvi S. Mody is co-owner of Insight Education, an educational consulting firm that helps students throughout the country and internationally to achieve their educational goals.

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