Is there a specific year in a student’s education that seems like a throwaway year? Or is there one grade that seems more important than the others? This has been a topic of discussion for educators, parents, and students alike. And we at The Tenney School have identified a trend. Sadly, many students and their parents view eleventh grade as less important than the others, especially as they gear up for twelfth grade. However, our teachers realize that eleventh grade is a significant time in a student’s life. Here are five facts that make us believe eleventh grade should not be taken lightly.
1. Eleventh Grade Is Not a Transition Year for Students
At first blush, this may sound like one reason to label eleventh grade as unimportant. Students have already navigated the transition between junior high and high school. They have had a couple of years to acclimate to a new location, schedule, and workload. But they have not yet reached their last year of high school, when the focus will shift to preparing to move away for college. Eleventh grade seems like a static year. But that does not make it a throwaway year. Rather, it is a time for students to focus on working hard without other distractions. Often, a student’s patience and perseverance will be tested. However, for those who continue to be faithful to their studies, eleventh grade is their time to rise to the top.
2. Students Take College Entrance Exams
Although some students choose to take the standard entrance exams as early as eighth or ninth grade, most will wait until eleventh grade. This is when they have the greatest chance of acing the exam before college applications must be sent out. Tests such as the ACT or SAT are requirements for most college applications, and they carry a lot of weight. Especially if students are trying to win scholarships or internship positions, their exam scores need to reflect dedication. Thus, students will most likely purchase extra textbooks and tutoring sessions just to focus on their ACT/SAT prep. This part of their education makes a big difference in their future.
3. Eleventh Grade Is the Best Time to Boost a Student’s GPA
It is only being honest to acknowledge that a student’s GPA will often suffer in the first few years of high school. As students deal with big life changes in ninth and tenth grade, they allow grades slip slowly and quietly or let a few big mistakes make dents in their record. Parents and teachers should learn to give grace while also helping students take responsibility for their GPA. When eleventh grade rolls around, leaders should encourage students to take pride in their grades all the more. This is their last chance, so to speak, to regain any losses.
4. There Is Often a Heavier and More Difficult Workload
Most schools will actually give students a slightly lighter workload during their last year of high school. As a result, eleventh grade turns out to be harder in terms of workload than twelfth grade. Also, many students take on more courses (and more difficult courses) in eleventh grade. Dual enrollment courses are begun in eleventh grade. Other demanding courses are taken on, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. These are often career-related, and thus have a big impact on the student’s future. This makes eleventh grade an extremely formative time of life.
5. College Applications
Last but not least, eleventh grade is the year that students will send out college applications. They will make a final decision on which career they want to pursue. Thus, they will research which schools are the best. They will prepare for the applications by writing essays, studying hard, getting good grades, and taking entrance exams. And they will finally send in the application and anxiously wait for acceptance letters. This is a crucial time in a student’s life!
Throughout the entirety of eleventh grade, students need supportive teachers and leaders. They need people who will push them to their limits and beyond while still providing encouragement. They need someone who will come alongside them and invest in them as students and as people. And that is what we train our staff to do. To learn more about our methods, please contact us. We would be thrilled to be a part of your student’s education.