July 19, 2023

Successful Start to High School

What’s there to know about starting high school? Don’t you just show up? 

Some students do. But in our experience, kicking off your high school career armed with a little knowledge and a game plan makes for a much better – and more successful – high school experience. We hear from our students that high school is decidedly not the same as middle school. There is a transition that takes place and it can be an adjustment as students settle into different scheduling, increased expectations, possibly a larger student body, and a different building.

These changes alone can be enough to navigate for many students. To add additional pressure, the classes and grades college-bound students take starting their first semester of freshman year will be reviewed by a college admissions office and contribute to the GPA used to apply for college acceptance and scholarships three years later. For many students, this is the first time their grades and coursework will impact their future. 

Tips to starting off high school right 

Our advice to rising freshmen is to approach the start of high school with the right mentality and to have a plan. First, students who are college-bound should have an understanding of the importance of their freshman year from the start. This is the foundation year of their high school career including how they set their future coursework, grade point average, and extracurricular path going forward. We all know the students who take a lackadaisical approach to starting high school with the intention of kicking it into high gear their junior or senior year when it “really matters.” With college applications starting August 1st of senior year, most colleges will not even see senior year grades when they make their decision to accept or deny students. Waiting until Junior or Senior is simply too late. This makes a successful start to high school during freshman year even more important. 

With the right mentality in place, it is essential for students to make a plan for how to approach their four years of high school. This plan can be flexible and will almost certainly change along the way, but we know that students who set out with a larger vision of what they want to accomplish tend to achieve more and look back proudly on their experience. They are thankful to have put in a little time and thought to set themselves apart from their peers and see the results (including scholarships and acceptances to dream colleges) later on.

Students should consider the types of classes they want to take and speak with their guidance counselor prior to school starting or during the first semester to map out a plan based on the type of diploma they want to achieve. If there is a goal of completing courses for college credit prior to graduation, be sure to discuss this with a guidance counselor and be aware of prerequisite classes that may need to be completed during freshman or sophomore year. Likewise, students should review the options for school involvement and sign up for clubs, athletics, and volunteer opportunities starting freshmen year to get a feel for what they enjoy and begin building their experience that can lead to leadership positions later in their high school career. 

How Class 101 Can Help 

Class 101 advisors begin working with students as early as eighth grade to help set students on a path to success. We also offer a free workshop for middle school students and rising freshmen to lend our advice and help make their transition to high school smooth and successful. 

At our Successful Start to High School events, students and parents will learn: 

  • -What to expect in high school 
  • -How high school is different from middle school 
  • -Importance of freshman year grades – the foundation of your GPA! 
  • -Tips to start your high school career successfully 
  • -The freshmen year classes colleges want to see 
  • -Types of clubs and activities that help students win scholarships 
  • -What you can do to maximize your high school experience
  • -How to leverage your high school achievements for college acceptances and scholarships How to navigate this transition together as a family 

Attend our Upcoming Event 

Class 101 offers a free event prior to the start of school each year aimed at helping rising freshmen successfully make the transition to high school. We invite you to join us for a free event at one of our Indiana locations: Carmel, Indiana and Bloomington, Indiana. Both events will be held Wednesday, July 19th at 6:30 pm. 

Class 101 has helped thousands of students navigate maximizing their high school experience to help with gaining acceptance to college and receiving scholarships and they will be sharing advice to consider from that angle. Reach out to us for more information. 


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