The Mystery that is High School

April 13, 2017

Dear Families,

As we begin our initial descent to the conclusion of the year, I find myself struggling to settle on a topic for this week’s article.  I could address the cliche that spring fever definitely fills the halls of the middle school. Students exhibit signs that their beloved summer break is just days away. Students remind me on a regular basis that the number of school days dwindles daily.  But, I question the benefit of that type of article. I fail to see the value in discussing what we all know to be true.

Last weekend, Hunter and I sat down to complete a course credit check. This ritual began when Maddy was in high school. Each April, we verify what courses are completed and what courses remain. We check the courses against the college entrance requirements for the schools identified as top choices. Maddy knew fairly early on what she wanted to study. Our credit checks with her began and ended rapidly. After visiting many college campuses, Maddy applied to one school. She just “knew” it was the best fit. Hunter provides more excitement.

As I reflected on this, I realized it may be beneficial to share our experience with you. Reality suggests that high school will begin and end faster than middle school did. I believe our 8th-grade families shake their heads in amazement. In four short months, they embark on their high school journey. I’m confident that our 7th-grade families question how they could possibly have an 8th grader. Sixth-grade parents wonder how they can possibly be a third of the way through middle school.

So, to all my families, I want to provide the following information:

  1. I encourage you to know the difference between the two types of graduation requirements. There are high school graduation requirements and requirements for the college bound student. While high school graduation requirements allow students to attend junior colleges such as ACC, they often fall short of the requirements of 4-year schools.
  2. I encourage you to begin exploring colleges in your freshman year. While some colleges require only 2 years of World Language others require 3. While some schools require 3 years of math, others require 4. Often taking 4 years of math moves students up on the consideration list.
  3. If you are considering out of state schools, learn their desired entrance exam. Some prefer ACT, others the SAT.
  4. Investigate the Western Undergraduate Exchange schools or WUE now. Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) We are saving over $15,000 a year sending Maddy out of state to Northern Arizona University. Yes, you read that correctly.
  5. Know your student. Don’t look to the right or the left. Don’t worry about what others are doing. For example, World Language was painful for Maddy. She struggled mightily. After meeting with her counselor, she determined to take only 2 years of World Language and only explore schools that required only 2 years. It reduced her stress and allowed her to flourish in her other classes.

While our soon to be 7th and 8th-grade students still have time to enjoy middle school, contemplate the pace of this year. Before you know it, you will find yourself standing in the place of our current 8th-grade families. Perhaps having this information will ease the stress of the unknown. I like to have a game plan. I feel empowered by knowledge. I hope that I provided you with some helpful tips for your future academic journey.

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley

Food for Thought:  This week’s links focus on the parents of our 8th-grade students. However, the articles are great for all parents nearing the adventures of high school. I included 9 important reminders for parents of high school seniors. I can’t tell you how many times I came across articles that I wished I had read long before my children reached the age for which the article was written. 7 Essential Tips for Parents of High School Freshmen and TO PARENTS OF HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS: 9 IMPORTANT REMINDERS

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