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10 ways to easily transition from middle school to high school

10 Ways to Easily Transition from Middle School to High School

The transition from middle school to high school is a crucial time for in-person and virtual learners alike. It brings academic, psychological, and social changes, and it means learning to adapt to a whole new environment and new expectations. But while the transition can be stressful and challenging, it’s also exciting!

Entering high school gives students the opportunity to make new friends, explore their interests and career goals, and prepare for college and/or other future endeavors. In this article, we’re breaking down our top 10 tips to help you prepare for high school and make the transition from middle school to high school as smooth as possible!

1. Practice Time-Management Skills

dice spelling STUDY on desk

High school requires students to take a more active, independent role in their studies. Most high school courses have fewer assignments than middle-school students are used to, with each assignment representing a larger part of your overall grade. That means the time you spend working on homework or studying for a test is especially important.

Here are a few ways you can work to develop the independent time-management skills you’ll need in high school and beyond:

  • Try making a calendar.
  • Schedule time to study for each course.
  • Start every day by making a to-do list.
  • Learn to say “no” to outings with friends when you need to focus on your studies.
  • Limit distractions in your workspace.
  • Make sure you take breaks.

2. Seek Advice From Older Peers

If you have siblings, cousins, or friends that have already transitioned from middle school to high school, they can be a great resource as you start to prepare for high school. Ask any older peers in your life what you can expect from high school classes and how to adjust to the new social environment.

3. Set Goals For Yourself

Whether you’re studying for an exam, learning a new skill, or preparing for a big game, goal setting can keep you on track and help you succeed. At Summit Learning Charter, we encourage students to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely).

Consider taking the time to actually write your goals down on a piece of paper and pin them up somewhere you’ll see every day, like on your bedroom wall or in your locker. This can help solidify your goals in your mind and motivate you to achieve them.

4. Look for Extracurriculars to Join

three students gathered around computer

One of the most challenging aspects of transitioning from middle school to high school is that you’re dealing with new academic and social expectations at the same time. One of the easiest ways to integrate into your new school and make new friends is to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, volunteer opportunities, or the student government.

Joining extracurriculars in high school helps you prepare for college applications, make friends with similar interests, and try new things! It can also help create a sense of belonging and help you build a strong circle of support, which can truly transform your high school experience.

5. Learn How to Handle Peer Pressure

The desire to fit in and the pressure to conform to the behaviors of your peers can be pretty overwhelming. But it’s important to stay true to yourself and your own values, regardless of what other kids are doing. Here are a few tips for resisting peer pressure in high school:

  • Find friends you can be proud to know.
  • Learn to say “no” when you don’t want to participate.
  • Avoid getting into situations that may be hard to get out of if you want to.
  • Trust your gut.

6. Explore Career and Personal Interests Through Electives

In addition to the core academic requirements, most high schools give students the chance to take electives. These courses are your chance to explore your interests, gain important non-academic life skills, and try new subjects.

At Summit Learning Charter, we offer a wide range of electives as part of our virtual high school curriculum to give students plenty of choice! They include:

  • Choir
  • Personal Finance
  • Fashion and Design
  • Art History
  • Work Experience
  • Health Science Concepts

Many students feel a lot of pressure in high school to figure out exactly what they want from their future academic, career, and life plans. But while it’s helpful to consider these things during high school, it’s also important to remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. In fact, this is the time to keep an open mind, try new things, build skills, and explore your interests without feeling the need to make all your high school activities a career or identity choice.

7. Rely on Existing Friends, and Make New Ones

two students smiling at each other

Unless you’re moving to a new school district or making the switch to online school, chances are you’ll probably know some of your peers from middle school or other activities. It’s always a good idea to rely on your current trusted friends and support one another as you make the transition into high school. As you get more comfortable, try to reach out to new friends too. Many people make friendships in high school that last a lifetime!

8. Communicate With Teachers and Counselors

Cultivating strong relationships with your high school teachers, counselors, coaches, and other mentors can help make the transition from middle school to high school much easier. They can be a wonderful resource for advice, guidance, support, and encouragement.

But these relationships can help you in your life far beyond your high school years. A great reference or letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or other mentor can make or break a college or job application down the line!

9. Learn Stress-Management Strategies

three girls on a dock making hearts with their hands

The high school years can be a transformative and high-pressure time for most students. It’s completely normal and very common for teens to experience stress and anxiety as a result.

Learning to cope with stress in healthy ways will not only make your high school experience easier, but acquiring stress-management skills in high school also sets you up for success in your future endeavors. Here are a few effective strategies for coping with stress:

  • Take breaks and get outside when you can.
  • Try daily journaling.
  • Exercise regularly and try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Prioritize sleep.
  • Try an app with relaxation exercises or guided meditations.
  • Reach out to friends, family, or other supportive people in your life.

10. Start Preparing for College Early

Transitioning from middle school to high school is a big deal, and your high school years are likely to be full of friendship, new experiences, and new perspectives and skills. But it’s also a time to prepare for the next big transition in your life – which for many students involves attending college!

Consider participating in internships, using your electives to try out fields of study that could become your college major, and start preparing for admissions exams like the ACT and the SAT. At Summit Learning Charter, we even offer students the chance to take FREE college classes while they’re still in high school through our Early College Program.

Get the Most Out of Your High School Experience at Summit Learning Charter!

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Every student is unique. At Summit Learning Charter, we believe in empowering students and their support systems with the flexibility, resources, and experiences they need to take an active role in their education and achieve their goals. SLC is a tuition-free, fully accredited public charter school sponsored by the Estacada School District.

We’re here to answer any questions you may have, discuss your goals, and help you get the most out of your high school years in a way that works for you! Learn more about SLC’s virtual academy and contact us to get started.

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Sean Gallagher

Mr. Gallagher has been working at Summit Learning Charter since 2008, the school's founding year, and has been the Principal since 2014. Sean has been an educator for 27 years working in alternative education, teaching English, and school leadership. Sean's passion as a school leader is constructing Summit towards continual growth and student centered solutions.

Program Dates:
September 6 to June 16

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