Hoping for a smooth freshman year? These 5 steps will help your student nail it

Transition to high school can be mostly positive with these wise words

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Has the moment really come already? Is a child who seemingly was in diapers yesterday now ready to start the final phase of K-12 education, otherwise known as high school?

Starting high school can understandably create some nervousness among parents and kids who not only have to adjust to a new school and a new environment, but they do so with fears of being the subject of ridicule as freshmen by sophomores, juniors and seniors who are certainly happy they aren’t freshmen anymore. 

But fear not!

That sometimes-dreaded first year can be nothing but a positive experience with the right steps taken.

Here are five tips or things to keep in mind as your son or daughter begins high school, according to myOptions.

Freshman year starts an important clock

Yes, it's true that college doesn’t start to become a big focus until junior year or so, but make no mistake -- the freshman year plays a critical role in having more college options once the upperclassmen years arrive.

Get behind early and the academic hole dug will have a profound effect on the grade-point average and what college a child will be able to apply for in a few years, should college become the desired choice for a student after high school. 

RELATED: 3 tips to help avoid 'senioritis'

Become involved

Whether it's sports, music or any other extracurricular activity, getting acclimated to high school life will only get easier by being involved. Friends in all grades, even juniors and seniors, can be met, skills will further be developed, a routine can be established and the best part is that studies show students who are involved in extracurricular activities perform better academically, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. 

Select good electives

One perk of high school is that kids get to select what classes they want to take beyond core classes in math, science or English. There are several options for elective courses that kids can take in areas such as music, art, photography or computers, so make sure they take ones in which they will be most interested and perform the best in. 

Get familiar with surroundings

Most, if not all, schools offer orientations or other events for freshmen before the first day of school. It would be wise to attend and take advantage of those opportunities so kids can get familiar with the building and know where places such as classrooms, lockers, the main office, cafeteria and bathrooms are. 

Kids need to be more assertive

Up to this point, often it's the parents or guardians who've been the ones to help resolve issues with children at school.

In high school, there is an increased expectation among teachers and counselors that kids are at the age where they can speak and stand up for themselves. Getting to know and trust people such as counselors, teachers or administrators is a must when problems such as schoolwork or bullying come up and a conversation needs to take place. 

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.