Freshman and senior year are two completely different experiences. It’s like riding a bike for the first time compared to being a bicyclist.Learning to ride a bike takes practice, and yes that involves falling a few times. Once a person becomes really good at riding their bike and the “training wheels” are able to come off, they feel like a pro.
Well that’s the difference between freshmen and seniors; one is still learning while the other is an expert.The funny thing is that freshmen think that as soon as they are comfortable in their new school they own the whole place. But think back to how learning to ride a bike was so difficult. It never starts off easy.
The first day of school is exciting and nerve racking, especially the first day of freshman year. Everything is new and different. Just three months ago the freshman were walking the halls of their grade schools as eighth graders. Being an eighth grader made them the oldest and they were looked upon by the younger grades as role models.
The transformation from being an eighth grader to a freshman is huge. Nicole Elmer, a senior student said, “My first day as a freshman I was a nervous wreck and I remember thinking, How am I ever going to make friends?”
Entering a new school is scary. There are four huge challenges with being a freshman: Number one is finding their lockers and being able to open them, number two is making new friends, number three is not getting booked and number four is getting used to your surroundings.
Alli Burns, a sophomore student, said, “On my first day of school I could not figure out the difference between the north and south side.”
The days as a freshman go like this, once first period rolls around it seems like every student is in class. Then there is the straggling freshman who comes in late because he or she was on the wrong side of the building.
As the first day of school continues, everything starts to become easy. They think they have everything under control until it’s time for lunch. One of the biggest fears as a freshman is what table to sit at for lunch. Some people get off lucky and have a friend or two in their lunch to sit with; if not, they are left fighting to the death to find the best table.
When lunch is over, the day is almost at an end. Alli Burns, stated, “My first day as a freshman was not as bad as I thought it would be but I got lost quite a few times.” Finally the eighth period bell rings and the day is over.
Now, a senior’s first day of school is completely different. They are already pros at the daily life of high school and they zip right through the halls to get to class. They know who most of their teachers are and have tons of friends to talk to.Being a senior is fun and after three years of waiting, they are now the oldest again and that definitely comes with some advantages.
Nicole Elmer hopes that senior year will be different from freshman year because she will be more comfortable with her surroundings and has great friends to make tons of new memories with.
As for Alli Burns, when she becomes a senior she hopes it will be as great as her freshman year, but different and less scary.
No matter if it’s the first day of freshman year or the first day of senior year, everyone shares in the same adventure of high school.
What are the biggest differences between freshman year and senior year of high school? From your classes to your relationships to your, well, you, it’s a lot.
It's not easy being a high school freshman. Ask your parents or older siblings what they were like as freshmen—many will cringe and use any one of a long list of unflattering labels to describe themselves. But then ask them about their senior year and they're likely to describe themselves very differently—for the better.
Students change in many ways between freshman and senior year. Some changes are obvious; others, more subtle. If you’re wondering about what might lie ahead between freshman and senior year of high school, or if you just want to reminisce, keep reading…
Classes and academics
Freshman year of high school is all about firsts, many of which are academic. For many students it's the first time they change classes for each period, which means they have to develop good time management and organizational skills (and regularly ask themselves questions like “What classes do I have today?” “What books do I need?” “How long will it take me to get to my next class?”). Not to mention the pressure of remembering that all-important locker combination. Putting a schedule together is another big adjustment, since prior to freshman year, most students' schedules are pretty much decided for them. Freshmen may be in classes with upperclassmen for the first time too, especially electives like phys. ed. or art. And freshmen find out very quickly that the pace of high school is different than junior high: projects are different, papers require more critical thinking, deadlines come faster, and assignments are just overall more demanding. (Or maybe it just seems that way because there is more work than in junior high!)
That adjustment period is long over by senior year. The confusion over classes and newness of the way high school works fades away. A lot of the initial excitement about high school fades away too, especially as seniors face the struggles and stress of applying to colleges while balancing all their other responsibilities and tougher classes. Speaking of which, seniors often have the freedom to take more specialized high school classes, like electives, and can take advantage of AP and other challenging top-level courses. Then there’s senioritis, that blah feeling that often comes after getting college acceptances. You feel like you’re on autopilot to graduation. Why keep trying in your classes when your future is already decided? Plus, you’re exhausted after long four years of high school and you’re totally distracted by excitement/fear about going to college. Of course, though a little senioritis probably won’t hurt you, it’s important to not throw in the towel on high school just yet. A serious dip in your grades can have real-world consequences, like missing out on scholarship opportunities, disappointing potential future recommendation writers (for scholarships or internships), and maybe even losing your college acceptances. Graduation—and vacation—will come soon enough. You can make it until then!
Not to get all health class about it, but many of the most obvious differences between high school freshmen and seniors are their physical transformations. Freshmen are right out of junior high and still look like kids. Many have braces, glasses, acne...all common headaches of adolescence. Many are skinny and undeveloped, while plenty of others still have a little baby fat hanging around. But, eventually, braces come off, contacts replace glasses, and slowly, freshmen start to transform into stronger, better versions of themselves. With those physical changes, a lot of students gain more confidence—although, of course, most students still struggle with self-image and self-esteem to some degree. Some freshmen are almost unrecognizable by the time they're seniors, while others keep changing (a lot) well after high school.
Students are more mature by the time they're seniors (well, usually). They often take on much more responsibility by the time senior year rolls around. Many get their first jobs, a driver's license, and/or they start volunteering in the community. More is expected of you by the time you’re a senior—whether it’s higher expectations from your parents, teachers, coaches, or after-school employer. And those higher standards and tougher challenges can naturally help you mature.
Whether taking the SATs or researching schools, most college preparation actually happens in the junior year, which seems like forever away when you’re freshman—but it comes up fast. By the time senior year starts, students should be narrowing down their college choices, filling out applications, and waiting for those all-important acceptance letters.
Related:Find colleges that fit you here
The beginning vs. the end
Freshmen are just getting started. The next four years are wide open in terms of new friends, relationships, activities, classes, sports, and experiences. But they’re also four years that should be taken seriously, because they’re the foundation for your college and career choices—and you need to start building that foundation as a freshman. It starts with choosing classes as wisely as possible and working hard and doing your best in them. You don’t need to start choosing colleges or majors; in fact, you probably shouldn’t, because things will probably change a lot by senior year. However, freshman year is a good time to start thinking about some of these issues, because they can keep you motivated.
While freshmen are looking ahead and planning what they want their high school experience to be, seniors are doing some reflecting. Most are looking back at the last four years and marveling at how quickly it went (and it does!). But they’re also looking ahead to their futures, whether it's college, work, the military, taking a gap year, or a combination of these things. And, of course, senior year is full of lasts: last first day of school with your BFFs, last game, last school play, prom, and, finally, graduation. They’re bittersweet times, but they can also be some of your most cherished memories.
Once you start high school, you'll probably hear something like “enjoy these years—they go so fast” dozens of times, but that's because they do. High school is an exciting, confusing, and stressful time, but they are four of the most important years of your life. So enjoy them—they go so fast.
Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »
freshman seniorcollegefreshman vs. seniorfreshmen vs. seniorsgrowing uphigh schoolfreshman and seniorfreshman to seniormajor changesfreshman year vs. senior year