Every year students transition from middle school to freshman year of high school, a change that brings new and sometimes challenging responsibilities. For students who have been enrolled in PA since childhood, the leap from middle to upper school isn’t very difficult, however those transferring in may have to deal with a whole new world of scheduling, curriculum, and studying.

Andrew McMonagle ‘19 came from Holy Family, another private school in the Twin Cities area, and didn’t have much of a problem adjusting to his new classes. What challenged him more was the work at home; “The classes weren’t super hard overall but I had to change my study habits.”

Not only did the homework and constant studying throw him off, he was also confused the color-coded schedule. The schedule of classes is different every day and is often hard for new students to learn.

The “confusing”color coded schedule

Although adjustment to both a new school and freshman year proved challenging for some students, those who transferred in later into high school found it much easier. Jack Jacobsen ‘19 came to PA in his junior year, and found it to be easier than he had expected. Jacobsen previously attended a private school in Wisconsin. After learning about PA, he expected it to be very challenging. “I saw on the website that it was top 50 in the nation and I instantly thought it was going to be really hard.”

Jacobsen was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t failing any classes and didn’t have hour upon hour of homework each night.  His fear has now subsided, and he is looking forward to graduation.

For seasoned veterans of PA who have attended since elementary school, high school wasn’t much more challenging. Casey Schmidt ‘19 thought middle school prepared him well for high school, though–of course–with more work. Schmidt has been at PA since 1st grade, and plans to graduate in 2019. For Schmidt, classes weren’t too difficult except for high school religion, which has consistently proven to be one of the most rigorous subjects at PA.

New students in the Providence community may find they need a period of adjustment to understand the rotating color block schedule, budget time at home to keep pace with course assignments, and develop study habits that will last through college.  For those who have already been here, it will feel nearly the same.  High school can be daunting, uncharted territory for anyone, but in a few short months, most students establish their routine and find their fears to have been unfounded.

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