High School Fair Preparation ~ by Carl Abramowitz

A WFS Faculty Blog post by Carl Abramowitz (Middle School Dean of Students, 7th & 8th Grade English / Language Arts, Middle School Spanish)
Published Thursday, September 22 2022


How to Prepare your Son or Daughter for the High School Fair at Haddonfield Friends School 

Dear Parents and Guardians of Westfield Friends Middle School Students:

High School Fair

Our 7th and 8th graders may begin to have questions and concerns about life outside the Westfield Friends School walls. They grow comfortable with the teachers, learn to manage expectations, and make a niche for themselves within the fluency and ecology of the school. Nonetheless, it is an excellent time to begin having conversations about transitioning into a new school and the admissions process. Just as juniors and seniors in high school start dreaming about freedom and their lives outside their four-year academic institution, middle school students may ask similar questions. Here are some tips and pointers for having a conversation with your adolescent teenager as they begin to get ready for the next steps in their life:

  • Do ask them how they envision their high school experience. Is it a small high school? A big one? A suburban campus? A city campus? Big class sizes. Small class sizes. Beginning with the image of the place can help narrow their choice, and it is an excellent starting point for a conversation. You might already have ideas about where they are going based on familiarity or proximity, but it is a perfect way to make your child feel included in the process. None of these conversations are final; however, they are a great starting point. Come to the High School Fair with an open mind and learn as much as possible about each place. Do your research.   
  • Do talk about first impressions. For many adolescent teenagers, first impressions may not be on the priority list, so use this time before the fair to discuss how they envision the interview going. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Practice shaking hands or looking in the eyes, or offering a bow, whichever cultural value works for you, and be ready to adapt accordingly. Will you be the first to extend a handshake and introduce yourself? How will you respond if the interviewer offers a hand first? Have some questions about the academics, the extracurriculars, the learning and academic support, the class sizes, field trips, etc. Doing your homework about the place will show the representative you care and are forward-thinking about your experience.  
  • Do talk about the commute. Often overlooked in the school experience is the time it takes to get to and from the school. As the workload typically becomes heavier and more after-school activities become commonplace, what will life be like, and how will this work? Yes, you can anticipate some late nights and big lessons on time management, but try to think like Google Maps or any GPS: you will navigate whatever life throws at you, and if you stray a little off the path, you still trust in your ability to find your way still. There is no going back; there is just learning to adapt to a new way of getting there. 

The admissions process can be a daunting experience for you and your child(ren), so I hope these topics are a good starting point for your family to engage in meaningful conversations about your future.