Getting the most out of the fall semester
We're already halfway through the fall semester and I do hope getting back to school has been a positive experience for your kids and that they're thriving in the classroom.
When we look at the high school population, it's hard not to notice that we essentially have two classes of 'freshmen' students, one class of students who probably still feel like freshmen, and seniors (more about them below). While most of our students are happy to be back - masks and all - it has been quite an adjustment to be back on campus.
Since every student is different and unique, it's hard to come up with a 'one size fits all' plan. If your student is struggling with academics, have him talk to his teacher. If they're having a hard time getting work done, maybe some help with time management might do the trick. Maybe all they need is to have someone help them slow down and ease the stress of school work.
Class of 2025: 9th grade is all about acclimating to high school. Help your student understand that this is the year to try out new clubs and activities. Grades are important and they should keep an eye on their GPA but definitely help them spread their wings and try new things. This is especially true for students who are in a new environment and don't have too many friends. Activities and clubs are a great way to make new friends with similar interests.
Class of 2024: In normal times, these kids would've already had a year in high school but since that's not the case, help your student find activities and clubs that help them pursue their interests. I've had more than a handful of sophomores and juniors say that they just can't move past the fact that they've 'lost' a year. Sometimes it helps to see the bigger picture so remind them that those feelings are warranted but not to let those feelings overshadow everything else. They still have time to volunteer and get involved in activities. Help them make the most of this current year and jump right into activities that spark joy.
Class of 2023: If your junior has been actively involved in clubs and activities during the past year, they should find it relatively easy to move into leadership positions this year. If that's not the case, help them find their calling. As a junior, they need to move faster and solidify those extracurriculars so that they can be more actively involved in the spring semester. The reason extracurricular activities are so important in college applications is because colleges and universities are looking for well-rounded applicants. Not every student will be the Class President and that's not our goal. The goal for your student should be to follow their passion and dig deeper to find activities that interest them. Having too many random activities doesn't really help and most kids don't have the time or the energy to do that. Help your junior choose a couple of things that they're passionate about and take it from there.
Check my previous posts for more information on the aptitude testing I do with my juniors to help them along.
Class of 2022: Application season is upon us and many seniors are busy with early application deadlines. The good news is that these students are finally back in school but it's also harder to get into a rhythm at school and also stay on top of applications and essays. If your student is finding it difficult to write, ask them to talk to their English teacher and see if they can give them some guidance. Writing is hard for many people and college essays are one of the hardest tasks your kids will have to face. On top of that, writing about random topics is much easier than writing about yourself and your interests. Brainstorming helps and the first draft is always the hardest. But writing will get easier with some effort. Good luck to all of our seniors as they finish those Early Decision and Early Action applications.
Here's a little humor for all of us who love Math/Science from the book “Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality” by Ben Orlin. Enjoy!