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General Amherst High School
For Grade 8 Students

​​​Your First Year of High School

When its time to move on to high school the process requires careful planning.

First read through this page.
Second share it with your parents or guardian.
Third if you or your parents/guardians still have questions, your local public high school is as close as the telephone.

Get a course calendar - it describes the courses offered and other facts about high school. A guidance counsellor can help you fill in the registration form. A calendar can be found on this website (see Course Descriptions - under the Student Services page) or in the guidance department of your local public high school.

Choosing the Right Courses
In grade 9, you can choose academic, applied or open courses. Your school may offer "essential" locally developed courses. That will also be true in grade 10, but in grades 11 and 12, you will get to choose courses related to what you want to do after high school - univeristy, college or the workplace. There are also open courses in grades 11 and 12.

Academic and applied courses deal with the same topics but are taught differently. Academic courses have more theory as well as practical, concrete activities. Applied courses have more practical, hands-on activities. Open courses are for everyone. In grade 9, you will have to choose between academic and applied in the core courses of English, math, science and geography.

Do I have to decide now about whether I want to go to college or university or on to work?
No. You should discuss these decisions with your family and your school. Schools welcome your questions which involve choices about your future.

What else do I need to graduate?
You need to get 30 credits (each course is usually a credit) to graduate from high school. But, 18 of those courses are compulsory - you must take those courses and gain the credits.

What is a credit?
For grade 9 and above a credit is 110 hours of scheduled classroom study in any one subject. Check with your guidance department about partial credits at your school.

As well, you must also complete 40 hours of community service during your time in high school in order to graduate. Your school will have more details about how to do it, but your parents/guardians are responsible for making sure you complete the community service.

You must also successfully complete a provincial test in grade 10 of reading and writing skills. Your school will have details about how this test will work.

Will I have to graduate in four years?
The program is designed for everyone to graduate in four years, but you may need more time to complete the 30 credits. If you need more time, that is OK.

I've been getting special help at elementary school. Will this continue in high school?
Yes. The school wants you to succeed. Ask your parents/guardians to check with the school about special help.

The school office
Each secretary has an overview of the school that few others on staff do. The odds are that you will be referred immediately to the right person to answer your question.

The guidance office
If you are uncertain about courses and program choices or if you are having difficulties with other things at school or at home talk to a counsellor.

The resource centre (library)
Having problems finding information for topics in your courses? Don't know how to research a project? Talk to your teacher - librarian.

Good advice
Your teachers believe that, whatever you decide to do, you will benefit from a well rounded education. You have a chance to reach for the top and an opportunity to make a difference, both in your school and in your community.

Take a variety of courses including compulsory and optional subjects.

Think about the long term effects of your grade 9 subject subject choices. You can switch streams in grade 10 between academic and applied, but you may have to do some extra work. Check very carefully to make sure that, in grade 10, you are in the stream that leads to your courses in grade 11. For example, not all grade 10 applied courses get you into the university stream. Be sure to check with your guidance counsellor or teacher.