Over the course of an academic career, the average student switches schools three to four times. Elementary school gives way to middle school or junior high. From there, students will transition to high school. If a student chooses to keep their academic journey going after high school, college or trade school awaits.
Adolescence is a transitional period when many students may be learning how to make decisions and taking their first significant steps toward becoming independent adults. That can make the transition from middle school to high school more complicated than previous transitional periods young people experienced.
Several changes take place in high school that can impact students’ anxiety levels.
• Students go from being the oldest in middle school to the youngest in high school.
• The student body population typically increases dramatically.
• Curriculum becomes more demanding than it was in middle school.
• School hours change, often requiring students to wake up earlier.
• A new school may mean students are funneling in from different feeder schools. Long-time friends may be separated depending on where they ultimately choose to go to high school.
A 2016 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of teens say anxiety and depression are a “major problem” among their peers.
To help make high school a positive experience and less likely to induce anxiety, students and their parents can employ these tips.
Establish a consistent routine
The education resource CollegeVine advises students to build good study habits, create a calm and organized homework environment and focus on studies while keeping distractions at bay.
Encourage extracurricular activities
Activities outside of the classroom are a great way for students to make friends and involve themselves socially with their peers. Such extracurricular activities can lead to strong friendships that flourish throughout high school and beyond.
Just as they might have done upon entering kindergarten, students on the cusp of starting high school can find someone who will be attending the same school and go over schedules and potential meet-up times. They can make plans to sit together at lunch as they both get acclimated to their new environments.
Attend open houses
Families can tour the campus to get a feel for the layout of their children’s school. Ask for a map of the school grounds so students can get an idea of where their schedules will require them to be throughout the course of the day.
The transition to high school is a significant one in the life of a teenager. Families can employ various strategies to make that transition go smoothly.
— Metro Connection