Middle School vs. High School: What’s the Difference?

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What’s the difference between middle school and high school? What is it like to be in both? As a student transitioning from elementary school to middle school, you’ll want to know what to expect. Beyond that, you’ll also want to know how your middle school experiences will affect your chances of passing high school. If you’re in this category of students, this article is for you.

Here, we’ll provide a clear detail of the differences between middle school and high school. We will also highlight some of the areas where you’ll need to pay attention to for success in high school. Of course, middle school is a preparatory stage for high school, but it’s unique in its studies approach.

Read on to find out what happens in middle school and how you can leverage the stage to get yourself ready for high school.

What Grade is a Middle Schooler?What Grade is a Middle Schooler?

A middle school also referred to as a junior high school, intermediate school, or lower secondary school, is an educational stage that serves to transition students from primary school to high school. Therefore, it’s an educational stage between the elementary stage and high school stage. The concept of middle schools, as well as their classifications and the ages they cover, tend to differ across different countries.

In the United States, for instance, middle schools typically cover grades 6-8. This means that middle schools in the United States are typically students between grades 6-8. However, there are rare occasions where middle schoolers are classified into grades 7-9. For a long time now, local public and private controls have allowed variations in how middle schools are organized. Some educational experts agree that middle school makes sense because its primary purpose is to separate older children from younger children, therefore preparing them for the tasks ahead. All through this period, students get to understand what their teacher will expect of them later.

What Grade is a High Schooler?

What Grade is a High Schooler?

High school is a term used to refer to the final stage of secondary education in the United States and Canada. This educational stage typically covers the periods between 14-18 years old. In direct comparison to secondary schools, high schools generally deliver the third phase of the ISCED model of education. This means that high schoolers are in the third phase of their secondary school education. High schools have subject-based classes. Although the name high-school is also used in other countries, there’s still no universal generalization on the age range, ability level, and financial status of pupils that will be accepted as high schoolers. The American educational system places high schoolers to include students in grades nine through twelve. The 9th grade is usually the beginning of high school. This grade is also known as freshmen grade and consists of teens around the ages of 13 – 15 years old.

In the United States, high school can also begin in the 10th grade. Therefore, it is not rare to see 10th graders that are just starting high school. 10th graders are also called sophomores, and they consist of teens between the ages of 14 – 16 years old.

What is it Like to Be in Middle School vs. High School?

What is it Like to Be in Middle School vs. High School?

As expected, both schools come with different experiences, and students often feel different about being in both. Although both schools feature students’ ages that are not entirely different, students still often feel different about being in them. For instance, high schools typically have more people than middle schools, meaning that students would be around more people than they were in middle school. In addition to being with an increased number of people, high schoolers have to face more work in school and at home. This is why fresh high schoolers would often complain about their workload. However, students are advised to start getting used to the workload as early as possible since it prepares them for the heavier workload that will come in college.

To ensure efficient management of this transition, students would need to focus on time management. Most parents buy planners for their kids and encourage them to use them to keep track of their quizzes, homework assignments, and tests. Parents also help by checking their children’s homework to ensure that their children are keeping up to the workload that comes with this educational stage.

Does Middle School Affect High School?

Does Middle School Affect High School?

Yes! Middle school affects high school in several ways. However, your middle school grades would not really matter in high school, although it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to aim high. Developing good reading habits in middle school to see you through high school will be advantageous to you. Other areas where middle school affects high school is in your habit and friend groups.

Habits: It goes without saying that many of the habits you’ll develop in your formative years will stick with you for a very long time. Habits like studying, finishing your home work, hanging out, etc., will continue for a while. You did it in middle school, so you’ll likely do it in high school. This is why teachers and parents try to start very early to correct bad habits and encourage good habits in their kids.

Friend Groups: One other area where middle school affects high school is in friend groups. Of course, friend groups typically stick around from the beginning. Several activities shape the friends students follow in middle school. Once these friend groups are formed, it takes a very long time to separate them. Some friends stay together long after middle school.

What's the Difference Between Middle School and High School?

What’s the Difference Between Middle School and High School?

One question that always pops up when making the change from middle school to high school is often, “what’s the difference between both education levels?” A proper understanding of the differences will help students manage the switch as properly as they should. To help, we’ve reviewed some of the obvious differences between middle school and high school. Read on to find out more.

More Kids

For most students, one of the scariest things about moving from middle school to high school is the dramatic increase in students’ number. They are already feeling the weight of needing to adjust from a three-grade system to a four-grade system. Add that with the number of students they’ll meet in high school, and you can almost tell that they’ll be overwhelmed at the beginning. It’s a known fact that several middle schools from the same district often dump their students into one high school. Therefore, students would likely meet three to four times the number of students they had in their middle school. What’s even more overwhelming is the fact that most of these students are strangers. For them, the first few days will typically look like entering into a totally unfamiliar campus filled with several unfamiliar faces.

Class Size

Another vital area where high schools differ from middle school is in the area or class size. With an increased number of students in high schools comes an even larger class size. Students-to-teacher ratios vary across different districts, but you’ll generally find high school classes larger than middle school classes. The difference may not be so much, but the students would still feel it. Moving from a class of 15 students to a class capacity of 20 students may not seem like a big deal, but some students begin to be less personal with their teachers. Students will experience a considerable drop in the hand-holding they enjoyed in middle school, and they’ll need to become more self-independent and responsible. Not being ready for these tasks can easily set a kid up for failure as they transition into high school.

Workload

It’s popular knowledge that the high school workload is by far more than middle school. Of course, the main purpose of middle school is to prepare kids for high school. This is why you’ll often see eighth-grade teachers spending an excessive amount of time trying to make their students understand that they’ll get far more homework in high school. They don’t just do this to scare their kids: most of them want their kids to know that there’s so much more to do in high school. Kids have to be ready for it, or they’ll be in for a nasty shock during their first months in high school. Except a kid is prepared for it, the increased workload, combined with all the other differences, can throw them for a loop. Hence, parents are often advised to try to help make the transition period easier.

Grades Relevance

You’ll often hear people referring to middle school as a “bubble” where the result is not always as emphatic as the process. Of course, students would do so many writings, reading, and arithmetics, but the result is not always as serious as would be emphasized. Middle schools often involve kids learning about themselves in their little community, with very little focus on the outside world. But the educational system in high school changes all that. Suddenly, the main focus turns to preparing students for college. No more fooling around because they are facing the real deal. Of course, some students are grade-focused from the first day, so the change of objectives won’t be as exhilarating as it should be naturally. Finally, it’s time for their As to count for something. However, it can be very challenging for students that have not been concerned about grades from the start. Again, it’s up to the parents to remind their students of the need to step up.

Parents Involvement

This is one area that generally experiences change as students transition from middle school to high school. You know how students would like to send kids off to school with a warm embrace. Well, in high school, parents can forget about all those displays of affection. The truth is that parents’ involvement generally reduces in high school, especially with the kids’ workload increasing. The truth is that most do not court parents’ involvement as much as middle and elementary schools do. In addition to that, there’s also the assumption that students have become older, and as such, parents don’t need to contribute so much again.

Wrapping Things Up: Middle School vs. High School

There you have it, a detailed article showing the differences between middle schools and high schools. There may be some similarities between the two, but a proper understanding of the core of each would help you know what to expect from them. Apart from parents, students enrolled in education college programs will also find it helpful to differentiate between middle schools and high schools before they graduate. Middle schools, otherwise known as junior high schools, mainly serve as a preparatory stage for students before they transition into high school.

As expected, high school is typically more complicated than middle school, especially with the piling up of academic workload and additional extracurricular activities. However, with the right work level, students would successfully transition from middle school to high school.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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