How to Make Friends in High School

Transitioning from middle school to high school can be rough, but it’s even worse when you don’t have a big support system to help you get through it. What if most of your middle school friends ended up in a different high school or you’ve just moved into a new district? Making new friends feels intimidating, but here are a few tips if you want to find people to hang out with.

Multi-ethnic group of studentsJoin a Club or Group
High schools are filled with clubs and most are always on the lookout for new members. Even if you’re not 100 percent sure about joining, sit in on a meeting or two. You may want to keep on going just because people are so friendly!

We always advise joining more than one – not only will you meet more people, you’ll also learn more about your own interests and may want to stay active with an organization in college. Our pro tip: Join both a big organization and one with fewer members. The bigger club will have a huge range of people to meet, but it may be easier to start conversations and get to know people at a small group’s meetings.  

Play a Sport
Most of us aren’t sports stars. Thankfully, there are plenty of high school teams that play for fun instead of competition. The football team might be out of the question, but some high schools have badminton, flag football, or softball teams that are open to everyone – no embarrassing tryouts required. Plus, playing a game together gives you something to talk about, so there’s no need to worry about forcing conversation if you feel awkward doing it.

Learn to Ask Questions
People love talking about themselves, so ask questions and let them open up. Simple questions before the bell rings, in the lunchroom, or in gym class give you a great opportunity to get to know someone. Don’t overanalyze – just keep it simple to get comfortable talking to people. Ask someone if they’re also new in school, what other classes they’re taking, or what they think of the class you’re in together so far.

Be Patient
Friendships aren’t made overnight – it can take months to get to know someone well and feel comfortable with each other. Don’t get frustrated if you feel like you aren’t making any progress. Be patient and keep at it; you’ll find your place at school soon enough.

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Original Post Date: October 9th, 2015

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Attention Illinois Students: The Golden Apple Scholar Application is Now Open!

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher in Illinois, the Golden Apple Scholars program will give you the opportunity to earn up to $23,000 for college at more than 50 Illinois partner universities. This unique teacher prep program combines a scholarship with unrivaled classroom experience and game-changing resources both during and after college. The Golden Apple Scholar Application is now open!

Teacher assisting students in art class

Golden Apple Scholars have the unique opportunity to gain experience working in challenging teaching environments and receive:

  • Tuition support up to $23,000
  • Four paid Summer Institutes that include courses and extensive classroom/work experience
  • Academic support
  • Job placement assistance
  • Ongoing mentoring from award-winning teachers throughout college and during the early years of teaching

The Golden Apple Scholars program was created specifically to help students who want to help their communities and make a difference in the lives of their students. The program will award 250 scholarships to future teachers this year. Teachers and counselors can nominate their standout students, but you’re also encouraged to nominate yourself if you’re interested.

Illinois-based Cappex students with an interest in education shouldn’t hesitate to apply to the Golden Apple Scholars program. Our nation needs more qualified and passionate educators, particularly those who are bilingual or members of a traditionally underrepresented group. However, all students are encouraged to get involved, especially those who want to change the lives of young people. Because the program is only for Illinois students who are planning on studying and teaching in-state, you get the satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference locally.

2015 Golden Apple Scholars: At a Glance

57% – First generation college students
50% – Underrepresented population
36% – Low income
25 – Average ACT score

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program can help you start your career as an educator who is committed to changing lives. Visit the Golden Apple website for more details.

Original Post Date: September 25th, 2015

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How to Set (and Achieve!) Goals

studyHave you thought about your freshman year goals yet? Maybe you haven’t, or maybe your main objective was just finding your classes the first week of school.

Think about what you want to accomplish this year and then get moving to make your dreams a reality. However, keep in mind there’s an art behind the process of goal setting – it’s not as simple as it seems, but we’re here to help you.

Decide What You Want to Achieve
What do you want to accomplish this year? Do you want to get an A in a subject you really struggle with? Maintain a 3.5 GPA? Meet at least five new friends? Develop a strong relationship with at least one teacher or coach? Read at least one book a month?

Make it Clear
Be specific – it’s not enough to say you want to get good grades all year. Instead, decide you’ll aim for a 4.0, no grade lower than a B, or any other clear goal. Plans that are too vague don’t give you anything concrete to aim for.

Figure Out What’s Realistic
Sure, we’d love to think you can achieve anything. But some goals are way more than anyone can handle – it’s probably impossible to maintain a 4.0, start AP classes sophomore year, make the varsity soccer team, and be actively involved in four or five other clubs all year.

Set Deadlines and Schedules
The most accomplished people will tell you they set deadlines for their goals or abide by a schedule. Give this a shot. Try waking up 10 minutes early every day to review some math problems. Bring your book with you on the bus to get some extra reading in. Turn off your phone after 8pm to give yourself time to study or give up a few of those Sunday Netflix marathons for a volunteer cause. And if your schedule or deadlines aren’t working for you, you can always change them. Just remember to take a step back and make sure your goals give you some breathing room and space for fun and relaxation. After all, you’ll have earned that downtime!

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Original Post Date: September 23rd, 2015

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