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Last Updated On: June 13th, 2023

Congratulations to your 8th grade graduate!

With the transition to high school comes new opportunities, experiences, and challenges. Here are a handful of things that you and your student can expect, along with tips for each of you to make the transition as smooth as possible.


More flexibility with class electives

High school students often have more academic choices, from electives to the variety of classes within a single subject. Electives can support student interests, desired skills, college applications, or even potential career paths. Some courses have prerequisites, so students may need to prepare early.

Strategy Idea:
Taking time to set a four-year plan and revising that plan regularly will allow students to get the most out of their options. Students will want to check in with themselves regularly to see which topics interest them and with school professionals to see which courses will help them achieve their goals. Both considerations will be important for matching a student with the right courses. Schedule time for these check-ins and revise the plan regularly, since it is easy to miss opportunities for a desired class or for your student to find themself in a course that is neither interesting nor useful. Your student’s school may have academic counselors, advisors, and/or peer advisors, all of whom can be great resources for helping your student choose and revise their path.

More expectations to track schedules and assignments

As students make the transition to high school, they will be learning to manage their own schedules. This will help them to prepare for college and life beyond, where their schedules will generally be their own responsibilities. Your student will have assignments and school events to coordinate, along with family, extracurricular, and social responsibilities.

Strategy Idea:
Finding a planner method that works for your student as soon as possible will be incredibly helpful! There will be mistakes as the child starts using the planner, so your student may need regular check-ins with you, a tutor, or a mentor to ensure that they are entering all relevant events and deadlines. Reviewing syllabi with your student and setting up their planner in a way that works for them can get them started effectively. You can also use syllabi to help your student get back on track if they forget to use their planner.

As your student begins keeping a planner, you may want to explicitly discuss how to ensure that family obligations are recorded in your student’s planner and how to communicate when plans require transportation or permission. Students will need to know in what situations they are allowed to make appointments, when they need to check for permission, and how to notify the family about their plans.

More assignments and homework

With high school comes papers and projects that will require more planning if your student is to successfully complete them with minimum stress. Your student’s planner will help immensely with tracking a larger quantity of assignments, but they will need to adapt their expectations as well; studying for assessments and completing assignments will likely require more time than it did in middle school. Scheduling is a fantastic way to make sure that there is time to do other things—like resting, playing, and enjoying spontaneous opportunities!

Strategy Idea:
Categorizing your student’s time commitments can help to streamline the completion of their assignments. One way to do this is to list all upcoming needs for the week, including homework, test preparation, meeting with teachers, and taking steps to complete long-term projects. Syllabi can be very helpful here! Students can then categorize projects into “easy” (low stress), “medium” (medium stress or effort), and “hard” (stress provoking or complicated); at the same time, they can categorize activities into “short” (up to 15 min), “medium” (15-30 min), or “long” (30 min+). Using this method, the child can schedule activities based on energy level, importance, and/or urgency. For example, an easy, medium length assignment can be scheduled after a tiring sports practice. A hard, short length assignment can be scheduled when the child’s energy is higher to create a sense of accomplishment. Using available time, such as study halls or time between classes, will also free up time outside of school.


Some students will experience finals before high school, but for many, this will be their first time sitting for these exams. Finals require more organization and focused study than most students have needed to this point. These projects, papers, and tests are important to prepare for, both mentally and organizationally.

Strategy Idea:
Creating a file or binder for study materials (e.g. completed tests, note packets, and study guides) at home will be incredibly helpful with finals. For one thing, choosing a location for these things in the home will get them out of your student’s school bag—and we all know that those bags get heavy! Additionally, having an at-home location for study material will greatly ease the pre-finals scramble. Students often feel lost and frantic at the end of a semester, and they may be unsure of where they put needed materials. Teachers may distribute organized study guides and practice sets for finals, or they may not. Moreover, students may need to review materials that go beyond what the teacher provides. With a folder or binder of relevant material, students can more easily review on weaker topics.

Social and Self

Desire for independence

During the transition to high school, students are in a new developmental stage and often seek to carve out their own identities. This can be a trying experience for your student—and for you. As they separate who they are as a person from who they’ve been told they are, they will seek the independence (and the space) to do this work. Students may find that their social groups are no longer a good fit. Rebuilding identity is often accompanied by mixed emotions, and it can affect many aspects of the student’s life.

Strategy Idea:
Collaborative discussion can prevent some of the rough patches during this transition. Encouraging your student’s independence with reminders of their values and priorities can help strengthen their movement towards adulthood. Remembering that these changes are universal and not personal can help reduce hurt feelings. Take care of yourself so that you can care for your child at this time as they learn about and define themselves.
Share your own stories, as long as they seem relevant and well received. Children will value these stories as a shared bond and a reinforcement of trust. Emphasizing the value of maintaining a wide variety of friends who are positive influences, supporting the distancing of friends that don’t match self-identified values, and encouraging new friendships can help smooth your student’s transition with their peers.

Social opportunities

In high school, there are more social opportunities than one can reasonably expect to attend, so setting boundaries is a great skill to learn early. It can be difficult to keep social experiences in perspective, as it is easy to either assign them ultimate importance or see them as an interruption. Regular socialization is very important to a child’s development at this age. Luckily, study groups and planning dates can serve both a social purpose and an academic one.

Strategy Idea:
Having your student identify and write out their priorities can help them decide which social opportunities are best for them. Students will want to select activities that allow them to socialize with peers who share common interests. If you see your student choosing activities that do not align with their priority list, encourage them to be aware of their time or to revise their priority list. This supports their independence and schedule planning. Social opportunities that promote physical fitness, skill development, or academic achievement can be great, as can opportunities that promote a positive development of self, such as faith or service-based activities. Activities need to be selected to benefit the child as a source of stress release, enrichment, or joy. Students will also want to practice the diplomacy of bowing out of activities that are not actively beneficial to them.


With new social activities come increased temptations, particularly as students build independence during high school. There will be temptations to sacrifice broader goals for short-term payoff and to test new experiences to see if they’ll fit into a student’s changing identity

Strategy Idea:
Prepare students to deal with tempting situations by removing themselves from unwanted scenarios or taking responsibility for their actions. Having this conversation in advance can give a student options when they find themselves in a high-pressure situation. Sharing your own stories will allow your student to remember that you went through these changes once as well.

Self Centering

The demands of high school can throw a student off balance, as can developmental changes the student might be experiencing. While students can self-evaluate to determine their own needs, they will be experiencing a whirlwind of change during this time, so finding comfort at home can be incredibly helpful. Consider designating locations for your student to study, sleep, and do leisure activities. Making areas of the house feel like theirs also, rather than only places they are allowed to use, can help your student feel like a member of the household and build stability and comfort.

Strategy Idea:
Work with your student to determine which activities help them feel centered. Ask the student what calms them and be ready to provide ideas, realizing that the student might not instinctively know. Students may also come with ideas from peers that may or may not be a good fit. Encourage them to explore activities that not only ground them but also support their identity and independence. When you identify activities that help your student, make sure that they have access to those activities

The transition from 8th grade to high school is exciting and tumultuous. While the road will never be perfectly smooth, with these strategies, you and your student will be able to use this time to build knowledge and skills to succeed in high school and beyond!.

About LA Tutors 123

LA Tutors 123 is a premier in-person and online private tutoring company based in Beverly Hills, CA. If you have specific questions or want a personalized plan, reach out to us here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

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