Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

How To Succeed in High School at OHS

A group of rising 9th graders from Stanford Online High School

The leap from middle to high school can feel like stepping onto another planet, especially at OHS, but don’t sweat it, because I’ve got your back. This isn’t just any ordinary advice column; it’s a treasure trove of insider tips straight from experts who know the ropes: high school Pixels. Read on for practical advice on how to juggle classes, take advantage of the abundance of resources offered, and gain insights on which classes high school students enjoy.


Once you step into the world of high school, you find yourself burdened by much more work and other commitments than you had before. Time management and organization skills are some of the most vital skills that you could possess to help trek through high school. 


Students have a variety of methods that they employ to help with time management, so finding the one that works best for you is key. One approach that has been proven effective for some is treating school like a full-time job. Taro d’Aronville (’24) says, “Try treating OHS like a 9-5… the bell dismisses you, not the work. Think like that and be a good planner and the ‘getting stuff done’ bit’s going to naturally follow.”

Beyond your daily calendar, there are many other routines and practices that are crucial to a high schooler’s success. One strategy is the Pomodoro method. Liv Ferrari Robinson (‘26) says, “the Pomodoro method is when you work for 25 minutes, and then break for 5, and once I’ve done this for a while then I’ll take a bigger break, sometimes 30 minutes.”

While time management is a crucial skill for high school students, it’s equally important to avail yourself of the resources available at OHS. A common challenge many students encounter is the reluctance to seek help from others, be it teachers, friends, or parents. However, in the high school environment, seeking assistance becomes more critical than ever before. Rest assured, OHS is equipped with numerous academic support systems, ensuring you have the support you need whenever you require it.

As d’Aronville puts it, “What would’ve helped is more Writing and Tutoring Center appointments and instructor Office Hours, and maybe a couple of extensions too. You know about ego lifting in the gym; you try and lift weights that are way too heavy for you and it doesn’t do you good. So you have to throw away that ego and work with what you can manage to get real results. I did the academic version of that. Don’t be like me and know it’s OK to get help!”

In addition to the resources he enumerated, there is also academic advising, college counseling, and counseling and wellness. And, you most likely are aware of this; but the staff here are amazing! Never hesitate to reach out for assistance or for any other support that is needed.

Middle school is much different from high school than most people might think. Procrastinating or slacking off is easier to do in middle school as you do not often find yourself tied up in loads of work. Coinciding with this, current freshman Derin Goktepe says, “Try to limit procrastination as much as possible. For example, in middle school, it may be easier to postpone working on an essay to two days before (or even less) because there may not be a significant amount of other work, but in high school, classes constantly have a flow of assignments, readings, lectures, etc. which would be beneficial to be on top of rather than having to catch up.”

If I have been scaring you, don’t worry. High school is also a time of exploration and broadening your horizon. You might consider taking classes in new subject areas.. Shreyas Muppana (‘26) shares, “AP Calc BC, History and Philosophy of Science, and Methodology of Science are my favorite courses overall, mostly because of the instructors and how they teach.”

Derin Gopteke at his middle school graduation at the Stanford University campus.

When asked what their favorite courses were, Goktepe says, “I enjoyed AP Microeconomics last semester because many real-world topics are covered and the content is very unique compared to other courses,” and Robinson says, “Chemistry, although it is my most challenging class, becomes enjoyable when I understand the topic.” These responses are a great representation of how wonderful the experience you will have in the high school courses at OHS.



Finally, I have one last piece of advice that goes out to basically every Pixel out there, but it gets extremely important in high school. As d’Aronville beautifully articulates, “Chances are you might not get what they mean by “argue” or “argument” in writing-based courses… if you don’t understand “argument” replace it with “well-supported conspiracy theory… Show them your wildest conspiracy about the text and use evidence wisely so that they actually believe the madness that you have unleashed.”


So, while high school at OHS might seem like a challenging ordeal, remember that there are so many doors opened and people to meet. High school is an amazing place with amazing opportunities. As Aishwarya Bharathram says, “Don’t be nervous! Being a Pixel freshman is absolutely epic! You’ll totally enjoy it!!”

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