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9th Grade: A New Year and a New School!

Posted on 09/16/2016, by Dr. Ellen Fithian to Parents of 9th Graders (0 comments)

Every grade in high school presents its own challenges, but freshmen face some of the biggest adjustments— learning their way around a new building, being  in classes with older students, encountering higher academic expectations…. even figuring out how to open the lock on their locker!  It often seems overwhelming. What can parents do to help?


Have your teen think back to the beginning of middle school. Things seemed confusing at first, but she soon learned her way around. Also, urge her to reserve judgment about her courses. Some teachers intentionally begin a freshman year course with tough assignments to signal that high school will be more demanding than middle school, but then they sometimes lighten up after a few weeks.

Encourage Involvement. 

One of the best ways to make friends of upperclassmen and start to feel at home in a new school is to become involved in activities. Freshmen are often hesitant to join, however, due to shyness or wariness about committing to an organization they know little about. You can help by reviewing the options with your freshman and discussing which activities might interest him. 

I generally advise freshmen to sample several clubs at the beginning of high school. Over time, however, they should choose the few that they enjoy the most, make a significant commitment to those and drop the others. Colleges prefer the applicant who has demonstrated excellence and leadership in a few organizations to one who is merely a card-carrying member of ten.

Freshmen should also try to find a service activity in an area of interest; this can be in school, the community, a church, etc. The key point is to find one that’s personally meaningful. (Read Extracurricular Activities and Service Activities for more on these topics.)

Remind your teen that every student in his high school, from student body president to captain of the football team, started as a lowly freshmen. The first few weeks of high school are stressful, but in no time he or she will feel right at home.

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Posted on 09/16/2016, by Dr. Ellen Fithian (0 comments)




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