October 11, 2012

School Series: What All Middle-Schoolers Should Know About High School (But Probably Don't)


   Like I said last time, I'm not sure how many in-school readers I have. Especially middle-school readers, if any. However, I want this to be on the Internet, somewhere, in hopes of one day some small middle-schooler will read it and learn something. So, if you're not a middle-schooler (and maybe high-schooler, too), this definitely doesn't apply to you. If you are, read and take notes! :)

  When I was in middle-school, all I cared about was making straight-A's. This did not matter at my school. It didn't change any of your classes or make you eligible for anything special; there was no incentive. In my 8th grade year, I thought making straight-A's was more important than it had been in the years previous, for it qualified me for honors classes the next year, in high school. I was wrong: my grades didn't matter; the only resource used for honors-classes placement was an exam we took in December. So getting straight-A's during my entire middle-school career, on "principal's list", was pointless. It won't matter in high school, nor on a college application.
  Why am I reflecting on this? Why is the mood about to get all sorts of melancholy? Because, dear youth, I was only concerned with straight A's-- I wouldn't join clubs because I didn't want any distractions. More importantly (and my main point): I didn't join Spectrum or Algebra 1 because I didn't want to ruin my nonexistent GPA. This is a major regret I have. Spectrum was an advanced reading/language class taught by a grammar Gremlin of a teacher that would've expanded my grammar knowledge exponentially; it would've helped me in my Advanced Honors English class, therefore helping me by leaps and bounds maintain a 4.0 GPA, the only GPA that matters. Algebra 1 was a step-above the pre-algebra class I was assigned to in 8th grade; it was so difficult, half the kids originally enrolled in it had failed out of it by the end of the year. Why do I regret not joining? Math is my worst subject, yet I know that if I had taken that class, I might've failed it, but I would've learned a lot more. Maybe if I had learned a lot more, my Honors Algebra 1 class in the ninth grade would've been a lot easier.

  That's my key point. A couple more things about high school a middle-schooler should know, but might already? Your GPA matters immediately in high school; work hard your ninth grade year so 1) sophomore year will be cake 2) you don't have to spend hours on hours getting up your GPA all those coming semesters, when you still won't be able to get a 4.0 anyway. Also, be ready: your freshman year (9th) and junior year (11th) are supposed to be the toughest ones. And look for scholarships now! You really can never be too early here. And finally: My 8th grade history teacher's girlfriend was on the admission board of my dream school Vanderbilt, which is a very, very nice college in Nashville, and you know what she said? They got tons of applications last year. 20,000+ applications they viewed all had 4.0 GPA's, as well as all the volunteer service and club work, and only about 1,800 of those perfect applications were admitted. Applications for school, not applications for scholarships. I'm not saying all schools are like that, but the majority of the good ones probably are.

  I know that's a lot to take in, but thanks for staying with me!


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