Whether you like it or not, teachers are instrumental throughout the high school admissions process. Besides being responsible for teaching you the necessary content for class, teacher’s also have a major impact on your odds of getting into a high school of your choice. Having a strong relationship with your teachers is key to finding success in class and for high school recommendation letters which many non-specialized high schools require.
The first step to being on good terms with your teachers is to produce quality work for class. It is important to turn in all assignments on time and to prepare adequately for any in class assessments. This will reveal to the teacher that you care about your work, and therefore the teacher will likely care more about your success in the class. Obviously, teachers care about all of their students, but if one student submits sloppy assignments and refuses to study, any complaints about their grade or hopes for extra credit will likely be dashed since they could have easily prevented their poor grade. Plus, completing everything for class with care and by the assigned due date will also improve your grade in the class since the work you produce will be of higher quality.
Teachers also really appreciate it when students participate in class. When a class is filled with students who raise their hands the lesson goes by much faster and everyone also has the ability to hear from different voices and perspectives. By initiating conversations, solving problems, or asking questions, you will be doing your class a great service. One learns more when their classmates surrounding them are also engaged in the lesson. This is why some teachers even give grades for participation every quarter. Teachers certainly hope that their students will participate and want to see that students are making an effort inside the classroom.
Lastly, manners always matter. Despite what you may think, being the smartest person in the room is not very important. Manners, and of course hard work, matter far more. The last thing you want to do is fall asleep in class, ignore the teacher, or even worse, talk back to them. Even if you disagree with how a teacher is handling something, one should never be impolite. Additionally, you should attempt to say “good morning” or “good afternoon” to every teacher you see in school on a particular day. This habit is a part of having proper manners. It is also crucial to recognize that teachers put a lot of work into their lessons. For the entire period they have to be awake, alert, and active unlike many students. Simply thanking them after each lesson after you leave class is very important.
Ultimately, strengthening bonds with teachers is incredibly important. After all, teachers submit the grades on your transcript, write out letters of recommendation, and set a foundation for what you will learn in high school. By participating in class, being hard working, and being polite, you should be able to be on good terms with all of your teachers. All it mainly takes is effort.
Paris William Polatidis is a Junior at Xavier High School in NYC. He enjoys playing tennis, writing for the Xavier Review, and helping others out when they need support.
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Volunteering and extracurriculars are activities that can benefit both the community and yourself. For middle school students, volunteering and doing extracurriculars provide opportunities to develop new skills and interests and demonstrate to high schools that you are well-rounded and hardworking. High Schools are always looking for capable students willing to do more than what is required. So if you’re not doing extracurriculars and/or volunteering, getting the headstart and being a part of a club or helping out your community is the best way to demonstrate to schools that you are a hardworking and all-around person.
Public high school admissions decisions came out on March 9th, and families have until April 5th to accept an offer. Many high schools are now offering information sessions, open houses, and virtual events for accepted students. These events are the perfect opportunity to ask students and teachers detailed questions about the schools, so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. If you have trouble getting started thinking of questions to ask, asking these sample questions (divided by topic) can help you to consider a broad range of factors to decide on a school to attend!
The highschool admission process is very stressful. With all of its different required parts, the essay section of the application can be really overlooked. The essays are a chance for the admission officer’s to get an insight into who the applicant really is. Numerous people can have very similar transcripts, but a creative and charismatic essay will make an application stand out.
Recommendation letters are a key aspect of high school applications and are a great way to demonstrate your character and abilities from another perspective. While not mandatory in some schools, it’s highly encouraged and should be seen as a requirement. But, who do you ask for a recommendation letter? Choosing who to ask is very important and should be someone that has seen your growth as a student. Most schools usually require at least one recommendation letter from a core teacher (Math, Science, Social Studies, etc) and one letter from either another teacher, mentor, coach, or counselor. So after making a list of potential candidates take some time to consider a very important question. “Who knows you the most?”. If you choose a candidate that barely knows you, their letter may sound disingenuous and phony. So when selecting a recommender, you should consider someone who has had a significant impact on your life and should be someone who knows you both academically and personally and can attest to your abilities, interests, achievements, and growth.
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