How to Be Successful in High School

High school is a journey that a person can only experience once in their lifetime. It’s different from earlier divisions of school, with a lot of opportunities to ensure you get far ahead. Whether it is that you feel free at last, or the fact that you can choose the pathways and courses you want to take, high school is generally something that people look forward to. However, at the same time, one might feel that it is overwhelming, as it is being drilled into our heads since a young age that academic success in high school, or any grade for that matter, is mandatory, in order to secure yourself a great future.

However, grades should not be your only priority. It’s important to also have fun, as high school occurs only once in your lifetime, and can be a cherished memory when looking back from the future. That being said, it is still important to maintain a good academic status in school. We set out to mention five tips in this article that can be of real good use once your reach high school (or even if you are a current high schooler).

1) Set up goals; Short-Term and Long-Term

Student goals refer to anything a student wishes to achieve, while personal goals describe what a student is particularly passionate about. Creating and achieving these goals is an important role that teachers and parents play in shaping the future of students. Setting short-term and long-term goals tends to help high school students see their way to success. Study habits, time management, professional development, and personal development can all be considered as personal goals for high school students. Generally speaking, teenagers can set multiple goals at once as well as goals that involve multiple steps or span a considerable amount of time. These are what are known as short-term and long-term goals.

2) Opt for a balanced course load

These days, we can see some students that do not take advanced courses even when they have the full potential and can likely succeed with the load. At the same time, we see students that take the highest level of every course offered. In fact, none of these are optimal. The student not taking advanced courses within their potential are not able to effectively challenge themselves, and miss out on gaining credits for college courses. Those who take the toughest classes are really setting themselves up for failure, as if they do not perform well in the classes, it can really screw up their GPA (Grade Point Average). At that point, there may not be any recourse for them, as depending on their school, it might not be possible to drop back into regular classes.

The best type of course load is one you can see yourself succeeding in. Of course, your success in the course depends on how much effort you are willing to put in. For example, if you do not take time outside class to review and study for tests, or are simply not able to process the information no matter how much you study it, you will notice that you are not scoring as high as expected. Therefore, it is wise to choose the level of courses tailored to your weaknesses & strengths. For example, if you are really good in History however do not do so great in Biology, it is suggested that you go with the college level History course and the on-level/advanced Biology course (here, of course, on-level/advanced based on how bad your weakness is).

3) Have/maintain good time management

Time is known as a blessing and a curse. It can be beneficial in some cases, and a curse in others. Ultimately, it’s up to you on how you see it. Waiting until the last minute for turning assignments in or for studying is honestly one of the worst mistakes you can do. It’s always best to maintain a schedule, so that you know when to complete/study for material. For example, if you have a project that your teacher gave 1 month for completing, don’t procrastinate and start on it at the last minute. There’s most likely a valid reasoning as to why your teacher would provide that much time to complete it. It might actually take you all that time to dive in and do the project, and starting on it late may not allow you to finish it to your best potential.

Procrastination is known as the greatest enemy of one’s success for this very reason. This is why it is best to have good time management skills, so as to ensure that procrastination can’t get to you. As mentioned, a task left until the very last possible moment will most often result in reduced productivity and performance, and in extreme cases, may even prove disastrous. You may damage your desired outcomes, making you appear unprofessional, sloppy, and to your teacher and fellow classmates as careless. 

Our article on How to Prepare for Exams is a suggested read for you.

4) Participate in Class and Discussions

The point of school is to be able to learn new things, and of course, gain new friends and experiences in the process. Your teachers are key to your success in the course, and entire high school for that matter. It’s imperative for you to focus well in the class, as there is the saying that “whatever comes out of your teacher’s mouth, is fair-game for the test.” This is quite literally the case, as paper notes provided might not be enough for preparation. The lectures conducted by the teacher also play a key part. It is for this reason that participation and having active discussions in the class is vital.

If you do not understand any concept or what the teacher is going over in class, you should ask the teacher questions and ask them to further elaborate until you fully understand it. After all, teachers are there to support you on your academic journey; they will encourage you to ask questions, at least for the most part. Moreover, class participation shows your teachers that you are attentive to the lecture. Regular participation in class discussions will make teachers think of you as a dedicated student, and if for any reason you asked them for extra credit opportunities at any time during the course, they might be more inclined to give you it, knowing that you gave the effort.

5) Don’t Forget to Look After Yourself

Most importantly, don’t forget to look after yourself. When you’re focused on being a good student, an active member in extracurricular activities, and a model of standardized testing preparation, it’s easy to forget that you need to be committed to yourself. In order to be successful, you must get adequate sleep, eat well, and take care of your mental health. You will not be able to perform at your best if one of these things goes wrong, no matter how well prepared you are otherwise. Put yourself first to ensure your ability to complete the remainder of your responsibilities.


High school can definitely be stressful, but by taking advantage of the above tips, you will be able to enjoy high school to the fullest. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. If you make an occasional C or D, or even a F on a test or quiz, just study harder next time and try to get an A. Please share your experiences and your thoughts in the comment section.

Akshay Dinesh

As a student, I am passionate about writing articles that educate and guide others. I have a diverse range of interests and try to cover a variety of topics in my writing. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at akshay[at]


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