It may be time to let children make their own choices and experience a little freedom, but 9th grade is also a time for parents to stay close by and be available when they’re needed. I would like to start off this post by saying that, yes, the rumors are true: I did not date anyone while I was in middle school.

On the flip side, some students are tempted to take the easiest courses possible in hopes of getting straight A’s and a high GPA.

That robs the student of a feeling of accomplishment and doesn’t fool college admissions officers, who look carefully at course difficulty when evaluating a transcript.

They touched on dating, hanging out with friends, and peer pressure.

A major message: Learn good organizational skills so you can live a balanced life, with time for schoolwork, friends, family, and activities.

Stay in contact with the teachers and work with the teachers.” Parents who ask their 9th grader what’s going on in school will probably get some variation of this response: “I have it covered.” This response, Livingston says, is often a signal that parents need to be involved.

They need to know who their child’s friends are, who the friends’ parents are, and where their child is going.

Even if your child’s school doesn’t have such a program, counselors and teachers should be well-equipped to help your child make good decisions.

Still, high school can be a pressure cooker, and Burnette’s student authors emphasize the importance of personal well-being, including mental and physical health.

Most high schools have several paths: a college prep track for students motivated to attend college; an honors track for highly motivated students planning to attend a competitive college; and a career or technical track for students planning an occupation such as auto mechanic, electrician, dental assistant, or computer technician.

The goal in 9th grade is to start down the path most likely to be a good fit. It’s also possible to take some courses in the honors program and others in college prep.

It’s a transition that prepares children well for the leap from high school to college and even from college to work life, says Dawn Burnette, a former high school teacher who authored, along with her sophomore students, .