9th Grade Guidance
Freshman Counselor - Kellye Ratcliff
This year will be filled with many new opportunities for you. If you stay focused and work hard, I am sure you will have a successful freshman year. As your Guidance Counselor, I am here to help you in any way I can. Best of luck as a Ruston High School freshman and have a great year!
Freshmen are bombarded with a great deal of new information as they move from junior high to high school. Listed below are some of the terms you need to become familiar with in order to understand high school and all that it represents to you and your future.
- Credit: A credit (or unit) is awarded to students who pass a yearlong class, such as English I. Each semester class is worth one-half credit. A student has the capability of earning 3.5 credits per semester, or 7 per year. A total of 23 credits are required for graduation. The Freshman class of 2012 and all subsequent classes will have to earn a total of 24 credits, adding an additional year of math.
- GPA: This stands for Grade Point Average, which is calculated at the end of each semester of high school. It is the average of all seven classes per semester, using letter grades. On a 4.0 scale, an A receives 4 points, B= 3 points, C= 2 points, and a D= 1 point. This is a cumulative average, meaning that your GPA is re-configured every semester, so each semester builds on the one(s) before it . It is very difficult to raise your GPA once it drops, so keep that in mind throughout school.
- Overall GPA vs. Core GPA: Your overall GPA is computed using all seven classes semester. Your core GPA, or something called TOPS GPA, is computed from your core curriculum, which includes your four main academic areas plus foreign language, computer science, and your fine arts unit.
- Rank: Students are ranked in their class based on their cumulative GPA. A student's rank is re-configured every semester. Your final rank is determined when you graduate.
- ACT Test: This test is a college entrance exam that is commonly used in the southern region of the United States. The other college entrance exam is the SAT. It is generally not recommended that freshmen take the ACT. In order to qualify for TOPS, you must have an ACT composite score of 20.
Ten Tips for Being Successful in High School
- Get organized! If you are an organized person, you have what you need when you need it. Use a notebook every day and write down all assignments and when they are due. Organize your book bag and get it ready for school the night before.
- Manage your time well. Take advantage of class time. At home, plan when and where you will do your home work. On nights you don't have a lot of written homework, review your class notes and study for upcoming quizzes and tests. Work on long-term projects ahead of time. Don't procrastinate and wait until the last minute! If you do, you will be too overwhelmed to do a good job.
- Be a model student in the classroom. Attend class every day and be on time. Have all of your supplies and materials with you. Listen and participate - don't daydream. Don't misbehave or allow other student to draw you into situations.
- Take good notes in class. Be an active listener and learn to pick out important information and write it down. Develop your own system and make sure your notes are easy to read. Read over your notes from every class day - your retention rate increases dramatically if you re-read your notes within 24 hours of writing them.
- Know how to use your textbook. Remember - Scan, Question, Read and Review. Look for boldface items and break down the chapter and read what is assigned!
- Study smart. Know your learning style. Some people cannot study with any distractions. Some people learn better if they study with a partner. Understand that you may need to study more than your best friend and accept that fact!
- Use test-taking strategies. Watch your time. If you get stuck on one question, mark it and return to it later. Narrow down your choices on a multiple-choice test. Look for key words on true/false questions such as "always, never, seldom." Make sure you answer all parts of an essay question. Review quizzes when studing for tests, and review old tests when studying for exams.
- Reduce test anxiety. Start studying early for a test. - don't try to cram it all in the night before! Get a good night of sleep and eat breakfast every day. If you know you get anxious, knowing that you really studied the material will help alleviate that anxiety. Take a deep breath and think relaxing thoughts before you begin a test.
- Ask for help when you need it! Don't wait until you are either overwhelmed or hopelessly lost before seeking help from your teacher. Speak up and ask for help, and don't fall behind!
- Believe in yourself! Think positively, be confident and know you can do it!