Next step along the path: The transition to high school

We have an evening every fall to discuss the transition to high school and let families know about the process of applying to independent schools or going to public high school.   We invite our most recent graduates to be part of a panel to talk about what their transition has been like. unnamed (50)

Typically about half of Parker graduates go to public schools and half to independent schools or boarding schools.  Since Parker 8th graders take Regents level science and math, and write a thesis, in public schools they are placed in 10th grade levels and accelerated, honors and AP classes.  (Shown in the photo:  Ben ’13, a senior at Albany High in the IB program, visits with Cornell freshman Elana ’12, salutatorian of the Albany High Class of 2015)

This year on our high school panel we had students from Emma Willard, Doane Stuart and Albany High.  Here are a few of their words of wisdom about the transition, some advice for 8th graders, and some stats about where Parker kids go to high school.

What was surprising about your new school?

  • Everyone was really friendly.  It was easy to make friends.
  • There are more tests, but it’s not that hard.
  • You have to use the teachers’ last names.
  • All the teachers really want to help you – you just have to talk to them.
  • The building is so much bigger – but now I know my way around.
  • I had no idea what a “syllabus” was!

What is the best way to make new friends?

  • It’s easy!  Just sit with people you don’t know at lunch and start talking to them.
  • Smile at people!
  • If you are lost, ask a sophomore or senior – they want you to ask them!  They like to talk to you!
  • Join in activities that you like – you will get to know kids who share your interests.  When I did that, I really learned who I was.

General advice to 8th graders:

  • The Philly trip was the best experience I ever had in school – cherish it!  It’s wonderful (from a HS senior)
  • Take notes like James taught you.
  • Have fun with the thesis – pick a topic you really like. The thesis project made me a much better writer – it prepares you well for high school writing.
  • High school is not as stressful as you think it will be.  You’ll be ready.  You will like it where ever you go!
  • Work hard on time management – keep track of everything.
  • Cherish every moment.

Of the 258 Parker graduates since 1992, these are the schools that students have attended most often:

  • Emma Willard – 41
  • Doane Stuart – 35
  • Albany High – 29
  • Troy High – 25
  • Darrow School – 16
  • Averill Park High – 14
  • Buxton School – 12
  • Bethlehem High – 12
  • Columbia High – 8
  • Chatham High – 7