How Can we Prepare Incoming Freshman?


Madison Hatfield

Lexington, KY. Picture of the front doors at Lafayette High School

As the school year for 8th-grade students draws to a close, the stress of entering high school piles up before they even walk in the doors on the first day. So what can we do to make things easier for these students?

Many freshmen are nervous about entering high school. They are scared of getting lost in such a big school and being late for classes, but there are ways that we could make them feel more comfortable. Every year the counselors at Lafayette go to middle schools in the surrounding areas and talk to the 8th graders about schedule cards and expectations when entering high school at Lafayette. Students will usually complete their schedule cards and have them turned in by early February or towards the end of February. These schedule cards give 8th-grade students a chance to pick what classes they want to take and can help prepare them for their future careers.

While students may not always get the classes they were hoping for, they usually get classes similar to what they wanted, giving them some ideas of other things they might be interested in. Other than scheduling, students worry about other things than just getting the classes they want.

A major concern for incoming students is getting lost on the first day, but that doesn’t have to be a concern for students if they could get more notice of where they’re going ahead of time. If students got their schedule cards done and turned in and got their actual schedule by the end of March, they could have an 8th-grade night with a schedule and, therefore, would give them more time during the 8th-grade night to be familiar with their path through the school on the first day.

A major concern for incoming students is getting lost on the first day, but that doesn’t have to be an issue if they could get an earlier warning of where they’re going on their first day. Schedules are built over the summer while kids are on break, and given to kids at the open house before school starts back. If kids can’t make the open house, they can come at any point in the week before school to walk through the building and get their schedule and first day materials. However, many people don’t know that students have that option. If our school made incoming freshman and their families more aware about this, then more kids would know about the opportunity to walk through the building before their first day of classes.

During the summer, after students have their schedules, the school holds an orientation for students to know how to get around the school on their first day, allowing them to meet some teachers. But then again, that’s only one night, and if the students had more practice knowing how to get around the building, they would be prepared for the first couple of days. However, while having incoming students come on their own time would be very beneficial, this could be an inconvenience with parents working during the week.

One way we could improve the preparation for new freshmen is to have students take an anonymous survey during orientation to see if they have any questions about their first year in high school. That way, if students are shy, they don’t feel as pressured to ask questions, yet they will still get them answered.

Another concern incoming students may have is being lost and not getting all their work done and worried they will have too much work. In reality, teachers don’t give that much work, and when they do, they usually give you plenty of time to complete each class assignment. If it’s too much for you and you’re confused, then most of the time, teachers will help you get the work done. Many teachers think that students have many things to do outside of school and extracurriculars, so they don’t give much homework.
Although they don’t need to worry, most freshman still do, so maybe during orientation, we could give them a rundown of what the classes would be like, such as daily work, homework for the days, and what the class is like daily.

High School is intimidating for many because of the new environment, new kids, and harder classes. Because of this, many incoming freshman are nervous about entering high school, but these solutions could ease some of that stress.