Counselors preparing freshmen for transition to high school

Throughout the Cedar Falls School District, counselors are preparing freshmen to go into their sophomore years. Students have been filing out their schedules and choosing from a large list of electives to take during their first year at the high school. 

Naturally, the transition can seem like a lot for students and make kids and parents nervous when filling out their schedules, but the CF counselors are here to help. Carrie Dieken, Susan Langan, Erin Gardner and Andrew Eisenman are all counselors for the high school.  Last week the counselors came in and gave students a run through of all of the things they will need to put in their schedules and answered any questions students had about electives or alternative options. Dieken said that students need to remember “It is important for students to find balance in their schedule—taking some classes that might be challenging but also taking some classes that might expose them to new topics and content they have not had yet,” and, of course, there is more homework, so when planning courses, students should “Schedule and use a study hall.  There will be more homework as a 10th grader, and having that access during the day can be very helpful.” 

As students are technically already freshmen, they are allowed to try out for high school sports teams and clubs. Dieken also encouraged students to “Get involved. There are so many activities, clubs and organizations, and it’s a great way to make connections.” 

Many students and staff are unsure of how a typical day at the high school runs or don’t even know how to get to their classes, so the district has arranged a visit day on April 9 when incoming sophomores will get to tour the building and visit with current students and staff.

Students will get to make many new friends and learn about all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds that they may not have been exposed to before, and Dieken said, “Explore something that might be unique or a challenge for you. Don’t just choose what your friends are taking.” 

Senior Katherine (Katie) Waltz agreed and said, “My advice is to join different clubs or sports to make new friends. In classes, make friends with the people you sit next to and expand your friend group.”  

When scheduling, there are many different electives and advanced courses that students can take, but the available options depend on students’ grades, previous classes taken and what they are passionate about or curious to try. Waltz said, “Take college classes if you’re ready. It saves you lots of money and [they] aren’t super hard classes. Manage your time well and make sure not to overwhelm yourself.” 

For some, February may seem a tad bit early to start preparing for sophomore year, but the counselors have to make schedules for everyone before the next school year. Dieken said, “We schedule in February to have time to plan for next year. When you request a course, we use that information to build the number of classes so everyone has an opportunity to take the things they request.” Dieken added that students need to remember to check prerequisites because  “There are some classes that require either a previous class or even a qualifying condition in order to take the class (these are found either HERE or HERE).”

The high school is a substantial change for freshman, but luckily many are already taking at least one class at the high school and are already used to high school level classes on their GPA. Waltz said, “Make sure you stay on top of your school work as well because it can pile up very fast. Also, be nice to your teachers and behave, as they will be more likely to be understanding if a situation comes up.” 

Access the website HERE to find out further info on electives through the departments.  CFHS has a lot to offer.

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