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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Be Successful in High School

Did you know that in Finland, 99% of high school students go on to receive their graduation diploma? That makes the Land of the Thousand Lakes the country with the highest HS graduation rate in the world!

The UK also has impressive stats — about half of their HS graduates opt to earn a degree. In the US, almost two-thirds of 2019 HS grads also enrolled in higher education facilities.

Becoming successful in your future career, however, shouldn’t start in college or uni. It’s much better if you learn how to be successful in high school or even earlier. All these pre-college or -uni levels will help prep you for your future endeavors.

Ready to learn the best tips and tricks to make the most out of your high school education? Then let’s dive right into it!

Map Out Your Short- and Long-Term Plans

Think of short-term goals as your stepping stones to reach your long-term goals. For instance, scoring among the top five in your midterms exams is a short-term goal. Whereas long-term goals can be passing the admission test to your preferred university.

What’s important is to set goals that are challenging but still achievable. However, you don’t want to push yourself to reach almost-impossible targets. Otherwise, you risk becoming very disappointed if you don’t succeed the first time.

While you may be able to get back up, it may still detract you from your other goals.

At the same time, it’s best not to set goals that are too easy to meet, as you might become bored without the challenge.

Master the Art and Science of Time Management and Organization

These are two of the best skills to develop in high school, as you’ll use them throughout life.

To start with, create a study schedule and do your best to stick to it. Divide your time wisely by expending more on subjects that you need to improve on.

For example, if you find science more difficult than math, then allot more time for the former. If you set a two-hour study schedule, you can give an hour and a half for science, and then half an hour to review math. The next day, you can follow the same schedule and replace math with another subject.

This, in itself, is a form of organization, as it’s methodical and strategic.

Don’t forget to take breaks though! As important as studying is, you don’t want to overload your brain with information. You can follow what productive employees do — focus for 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break.

Concentrate on One Task

Multitasking may seem to be an impressive skill for employees, but not so much for students. After all, multitasking means you’re divvying up your attention over several things. This then reduces the attention you’re directing over your most important schoolwork.

This can also result in a decreased retention of what you’ve studied and learned. This poor retention also means that you may have misunderstood parts of what you read. The more you multitask, the more your attention and retention skills can suffer.

Instead of doing several tasks at the same time, practice your concentration skills. Give each subject your undivided attention, and avoid distractions like your smartphone. Turn it off, put it on silent mode, or disconnect it from the Wi-Fi.

Explore and Discover Passions Outside of Academics

Becoming successful in high school isn’t just about being at the top of your class. It’s also the best time to explore extracurricular activities that you’ll find enjoyable. More than that, these activities can also give you skills that you may be able to use throughout your life.

Aside from sports, you may also want to get into arts, music, and other creative areas. If it’s your thing, you can join a public speaking club, which can help boost your communication skills. Becoming a member of the student body can also hone the leader in you.

What’s important is to choose an activity that you like and not just because others tell you to. If you let others dictate what club you should join, you may find it hard to become engaged.

Don’t Feel Embarrassed to Ask the Teach for Extra Help

In a recent global exam for teenagers, the US ranked ninth in reading proficiency. However, the students’ collective scores placed the nation at 31st place in math. There were 79 countries in total that took the same international test.

While the reading proficiency rank isn’t bad, it hasn’t improved for the past 20 years. The same goes for math. In fact, at some levels, students have performed worse at both subjects.

In the 2019 NAEP for math, grade 8 scores also had a lower average compared to scores back in 2017. Average scores for reading proficiency also went down in grades 4 and 8. Among grade 12 students, only 25% had a score that qualified as NAEP Proficient.

Students who feel ashamed to ask for extra help in class are likely to have contributed to these low scores. Many teens think that asking for extra academic help is a sign of weakness, so they shy away from it. The thing is, this can lead to them becoming even more behind from their subjects.

To be a successful high school student, you need to understand that there’s no shame in asking for extra help. Go on and raise your hand if you didn’t get the math formula and solution on your first try.

If you still feel shy, approach your teacher after class. Let them know that you had trouble solving the problem. In doing so, your teachers will take it as a sign of your perseverance and determination to learn.

Extra Classes After School Can Also Help

Did you know that in Japan, by the time students reach high school, about 70% of them have had some sort of tutor? In this eastern country, “juku” is the most common type of education outside normal school.

Juku is a type of “cram school” that involves a comprehensive educational program. It prepares students for major school tests and university admission exams.

While that sounds intense, over half of interviewed 3rd to 9th graders said they like “juku”. One of their top reasons is that it gave them access to materials that they didn’t learn in school.

Many other countries, like Germany and the US, are also investing more in private tutoring. In fact, come 2025, the global private tutoring market will become a $272.9 billion sector!

That said, extra classes outside of school may help you become successful in high school. You don’t even have to be failing or behind to reap the benefits of supplementary classes. Tutoring, after all, involves individual and tailored learning.

One of the top benefits of tutoring is that it delivers one-on-one attention. This helps to ensure that you’re learning based on your own pace. Since you’re the only student, you can keep going back to topics that you want to review or are having trouble with.

For instance, you can choose to get a tutor to help you gain advanced knowledge in a subject. You can also get help for subjects that you don’t do that well in. Your tutor can even help you prepare for an upcoming exam, such as a General Ability Test.

Use Your Free Time To Gain Experience and Skills in the Community

Speaking of outside-of-school activities, consider participating in those that involve your community. Engage in social activities that can boost your student experience, such as volunteering. You can also take part in internships and job-shadowing opportunities.

All these can help you develop skills, such as leadership and organization. It also gives you the chance to meet people who share the same interests.

From here, you can build a network that can lend you support in both high school and college. For instance, you may find other students who are great in math and are ready to share their secrets of being a whiz. You, in turn, can also help them out on subjects that they don’t do well in but you excel at.

Follow This Guide on How to Be Successful in High School to Get the Most out of Your HS Life

There you have it, a thorough guide on how to be successful in high school. As a final but very important tip, don’t forget to look after your health! The last thing you want is to fully prepare for an exam, only to fall ill on the day because you overworked yourself.

So, sleep for at least eight hours, eat healthily, avoid too much junk food, and take the time to de-stress. All these will help boost your health, which you’ll need to get you through all those years in high school.

Ready for more student-centered guides like this? Feel free to check out the rest of the posts under the Student Life section then!