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School Prep

  • Author: Erica Rogers
  • Updated: August 4, 2017
  • Published August 3, 2017

No one is born knowing how to open a combination lock. It's not instinctual to identify ourselves by a number. We don't automatically know the difference between a principal, nurse, counselor and advisor. From responding to the bell, reading a schedule, dressing down for gym class and maneuvering through the lunchroom, students at each level have to learn how to successfully navigate the school system. Alexander Graham Bell said, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

Elementary School

Take a tour before the school year begins

Learn where your classroom is

Memorize your teacher's name

Meet your principal and have a question ready for them

Be nice to the front office staff—they are the gatekeepers of the school and know how everything works and who everyone is

Make a lunch plan—review school lunch menus and decide which days/weeks will be brown bag and which will be school lunch

Middle School

Master the combination lock

Read a bell schedule

Learn your counselor's name—they are your go-to support for course information and schedule changes

Start thinking about joining clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities—your school's front office will have a list with requirements and fees

Find a school map and mark your classes–visualize moving through the hallways

High School

Master the combination lock (if you're transferring in from a middle school or high school that didn't have them)

Find out if your school has a Career Guide

Ask your counselor if your courses put you on track to graduate and what post-graduate opportunities will be available (college or trade/career)

Ask about scholarship/internship requirements early so you can work toward them

Find out what clubs and groups already exist. If you don't see something that appeals to you, consider forming your own

Helpful links:

This article was originally published in the July 30, 2017, print edition of Back to School. Contact the editor, Jamie Gonzales, with questions or comments: