McLean High School 101: Helpful tips for new students

A few basic tips that will help new Highlanders


Each and every year, large groups of new students arrive at McLean usually with their eyes wide and jaws dropped, already overwhelmed by their big transition to a new school. With all the confusion and adjustments to go through, new students might feel frustrated at times. Even though McLean student service is always there for them, some new students might not feel so comfortable asking people who they have never met before for help. “I am very shy around people I’m not comfortable with, so I struggled when I first came in here, not knowing where to go but too timid to ask people,” junior Minjoo Park said. Here are some of the problems that many new Highlanders are likely to face in their first time in McLean High School and some of the ways they can cope with those problems.

Going to classes

The size of McLean High school can overwhelm many new students especially those who came from rather small schools. With all the complicated hallways and countless classrooms all lined up, new students sometimes get lost at school, getting late to some of their classes. Basic things to remember: green and yellow hallways are on the second floor, red and blue on the first. If you have trailer classes, you go outside of the campus and you will see house-like buildings, which are your classrooms. There are red days and silver days; you do not have same classes everyday but on every other days. (One exception: you’ll have your 3rd period class everyday.)


If you go to your classes on the first week of school, you will hear the word ‘blackboard’ from all teachers, regardless of what subjects they teach. You’ll also probably hear your classmates talking about it and wonder what the blackboard system is all about. Blackboard is an online ‘board’ on which teachers post assignments, links and resources important to the courses. It is students’ responsibility to check Blackboard for assignments every day and it is also their fault if they forget to check it and miss important notifications.

In order to the access the system, you definitely need an account for Blackboard. Your username is usually identical to your student ID; however, if that does not work or if you are lost for some reason, go to Mrs. O’Hara to check the accessibility of your account.

It is strongly recommended that you download the blackboard application on your electronic devices, whether that be iPhones, tablets or iPads.

Club activities

McLean High has a variety of clubs that students can join. “When I first came into McLean High School, I was fascinated by how there were various clubs that anyone could sign up for,” junior Hyuna Kang said. It is not necessary that one join club activities but it is an extremely worthy experience and an invaluable chance to get to know people quickly and become social, rather than just have a boring, routine school life. On the first few weeks of school, club leaders will announce and promote their clubs so that new members can join. They might advertise their clubs through McLean media news or through posters. If you could not get those announcements, you can simply access the McLean website and click “club” under Student Life section and you’ll see all the club names and teachers. Send emails to them and they will send you application form to fill out.


One of the confusion that all new students face are the lunch schedules. You’ll see some people going to lunch right after 3rd period but some going straight to their classes. “With everyone going to different lunches, I was confused where to go, but I think it is cool how lunch is divided into four groups. I’ve never experienced this system before,” freshman John Kim said. If you go to your 4th/5th period classes on the first two days of school, your teachers will tell you which lunch you will go to. Basically, there are 4 lunches: A lunch at 11:06-11:36, B lunch at 11:36-12:06, C lunch at 12:06-12:36 and D lunch at 12:46-1:16. From 1:16 to 1:26, all students have 10 minutes break before they go to their 6th/7th period.

Highlander Time

After 1st/2nd period everyday, there is a highlander time during which students get a time to do class activities or work on their homework for any subject if teachers do not specifically assign anything to do. You should always bring something to work on during highlander time- you have no idea how much work students can get done during this time! You have different classes to go to everyday for highlander time. You will most likely have Highlander time 1 on your first day of school, which means you stay at 1st period after the class is over for highlander time. After highlander time, you go to your regular 3rd, 5th and 7th period. The next day, you’ll have Highlander time 2 and go to 3rd, 4th and 6th period after that time. The cycle continues until Highlander time 8 during which you can go anywhere you want during highlander time.