Middle School to High School Transition-Part 2

In part one of this series Middle School to High School Transition, we looked at the more demanding academic standards students face in high school.  We discussed why students might not do as well grade-wise in high school as in middle school.  In this part, we will talk about the increased competition in high school.

High school is a giant leap academic-wise from middle school in many ways.  Research even indicates that when we had the traditional Junior High concept that many of us experienced, the leap from Junior High to High School was much less of a shock to students.  When we went to the middle school concept, it served the sixth graders well because it got them out of the elementary, which elementary teachers generally love. Still, it didn’t do much for the upper end of the grade, particularly the eighth grade.

Still, high schools have multiple middle schools that feed into them, so it makes sense that there is much more competition for grades because now we have numerous groups of able students that are in one building.

The increased competition can be discouraging for students if they aren’t familiar with overcoming disappointment.  Everyone has challenges in life, but there are fewer of them, so it seems, in middle school for most students.  In the talks that I do for middle school students, I talk with them about how to expect challenges in life and help them understand how to overcome them.  I teach them not to be afraid of failure, not to be fearful of making a mistake, and of looking for the solution, instead of the disappointment in all errors and shortfalls that we all experience from time to time.

By teaching kids how to push through disappointments, we teach them perseverance and give them an uncommon desire to succeed.  I like to tell them, “If you are determined and you have an uncommon desire to succeed, you will succeed, but not without some challenges along the way.  Often, middle school is much easier for students, and when they get to high school, students are overwhelmed.  At times, it is because they haven’t faced a challenge that they had to work through.

They can still do the work at the level they did in middle school, but not without some help in being determined to overcome those obstacles.  They will always be there, and if we can teach them to see these as opportunities for creative solutions, we give them lifelong skills.

You can find Part 1 in this series here, Middle School to High School Transition-Part 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Part 3 is the conclusion of this series, and the link is here for your next steps, Middle School to High School Transition-Part 3 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Here are 10 steps for creating a smooth transition to high school from, How to Help Your Child Make a Smooth Transition to High School | Understood – For learning and thinking differences

Yours for Better Parenting,