Starting high school

Going from elementary school to high school can feel like you're starting all over again. You will be meeting new friends and teachers, your classes will be more challenging and you will need to learn to balance extracurricular activities.

You may have many different feelings during the summer before starting high school. Maybe you are:

  • Scared
  • Excited about meeting new people
  • Worried about leaving some old friends behind
  • Sad about leaving elementary school

All of these feelings are completely normal. Remember to try to relax and take it easy. This can be a very fun and exciting time in you life!

Meeting new friends

One of the first challenges of entering high school is making new friends. Because your high school will be made up of kids from different elementary schools:

  • You won't know everyone in your class
  • Your classes may be bigger
  • There may be more people in your school

Trying to meet new people can be fun and exciting or scary and lonely. Remember that just because you make new friends doesn't mean that you can't stay close to your old friends.

You will also now be part of the youngest group in the school rather than the oldest group. This change can be a little hard to get used to, but remember all the kids in your grade are going through the same thing.


One big change when you start high school is the number of teachers - you will now have a different teacher for every subject. Being exposed to different teachers and teaching styles can be hard to get used to but it can also be a positive thing. Just think - if you don't see eye to eye with a teacher, you won't have to be in their class all day!

Classes will be more challenging

If you develop effective test-taking and study skills early on it can make this change easier for you.

  • Organize your time
  • Avoid cramming all your studying in at the last minute
  • Make a study schedule to help avoid homework pile-ups
  • Consider starting a study group - study groups usually consist of anywhere from two to 10 students and can be helpful because you can share your notes and ask each other questions

Learning to balance extracurricular activities

Learning to balance work and play is an important part of high school. The choices can be exciting but sometimes overwhelming. Your extracurricular activities may include:

If you are overwhelmed by your busy schedule it may mean that your time is not balanced. It's time to re-examine your schedule if your academics, family relationships, friendships, or other life activities (like eating or sleeping) are being affected. Talk to a friend or a trusted adult to help you prioritize your activities.

  • School clubs
  • Sports teams
  • Spending time with family
  • Spending time with friends
  • Lessons (like music, dance, sports)
  • A part-time job

If you do find starting high school overwhelming, remember to take things one day at a time. If you need to talk about anything, talk to a trusted adult or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

Last reviewed: September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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