The transition from middle school to high school can be a daunting process for many high school freshmen. With new classes, new students and a much different academic world than freshman may be used to, it's easy for them to feel lost and confused. One way to alleviate some of these feelings is for students to attend a freshman orientation, which should consist of a number of activities to get students acclimated to their new surroundings.
One of the most basic activities that go on at most freshman orientations is a tour of the high school. Since a freshman class may contain a hundred students or more, tours should be conducted in smaller, more manageable groups. Tours should be conducted by staff members (teachers, principles, etc.), and the tours may serve to help get incoming students acclimated to the staff and the school at the same time. Students should also be given maps of the school so that as they tour they can match the places they've seen with places on the map.
Rules and Guidelines
A freshman orientation should also inform students of the rules and guidelines that they're supposed to be obeying. It's a bad idea to simply read down the entire list though, especially for high school freshmen who may get easily bored with page after page of "do not." Instead make sure that each student has a copy of the school rules and ask that they read the rules themselves between the orientation and their first week of class. Ask that the students sign a form stating that they've read and will obey the rules of their new school, giving the students the responsibility of participating.
Question and Answer
It's also a good idea to set aside perhaps an hour or so at the end of any freshman orientation so that students can ask specific questions that may not have been answered throughout the presentation. Some students may wonder about whether they can carry their backpacks throughout the day, others may wonder whether there's an academic prerequisite for being on the chess team, and still other students may ask how to start their own school club. It's best that staff members be on hand to answer any question that students may have, and if no one knows right away then make it a point to answer the student's question in the next several days.
Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.