Teenagers' Guide To Moving From Public School To Catholic School

Posted on: 29 October 2015

Moving to a different school can be challenging enough, but it can be even more challenging when moving from a public school to a Catholic school. One of the reasons parents choose Catholic private schools for their children is because students who graduate from Catholic high schools are twice as likely to graduate college than students who graduate from the public school system. So if your parents enrolled you in a Catholic school (or are planning to), they are looking out for your best interests. 

Of course you may be apprehensive about the change. Transitioning from the public school system to a private school, especially a Catholic one, can seem overwhelming because there are so many significant differences between them. Here are a few tips to help you get settled in. 


One of the big differences between public and Catholic schools? Rules. Make sure you understand the rules by reading through the rule book. If there are things that you don't understand, have your parents ask the secretary to schedule an appointment for you and your parents to discuss the rules with an administrator.

Ask questions during the meeting. You may have heard the old adage that it is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Don't take this advice, because it doesn't work in a Catholic school setting. It's better to ask and be safe than it is to not ask and be sorry. 

Dress Code  

Another potential big difference is that you will wear a uniform. Take this as a blessing. No more long nights trying to figure out what you will wear to school the next day. Back to school shopping will be much easier, too. However, make sure your parents get the correct shade of color for your uniform. 

There may also be guidelines for hairstyles, facial hair for males, and makeup application for girls. If you are a female and wear makeup, it's a good idea to go on the softer, natural side when applying makeup until you see how the other girls do theirs. Stick with neutral colors for your fingertips as well. 


The curriculum may differ some from the public school you attended. This could mean that you may need additional help in getting accustomed to the new curriculum at your new school. For example, you may not have covered some of the math concepts that the students in your class covered in the previous year. If this is the situation, don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel you need it.

It's important to have the guidance counselor at your new school take a look at the curriculum from your previous school so you can get caught up to speed, if necessary. Many private schools offer summer sessions for this reason. If you transition after the start of the school year, a tutor can help you adjust to the new curriculum. 

Extracurricular Activities 

Another huge difference is that you'll likely know very few of your fellow students when you first attend a private Catholic school. This can be challenging if you are not outgoing. To make making friends easier, join in on the extracurricular activities that interest you the most. That way, you can get more time with fellow students who have the same interests that you do. 

An additional benefit for being involved in extracurricular activities is that they look great on college applications. However, that doesn't mean you should sign up for everything and anything. Colleges like to see quality, not quantity, when it comes to extracurricular activities. You'll want your participation in activities to show leadership skills and that you have the ability to stick with things on a long term basis.