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How To Be Successful In High School

The transition from junior high to high school can be rough for some kids; the pressure to do well, knowing that this is the last required level of public schooling, and needing to prepare for college is a lot.

To make life easier if you’re about to enter high school, take a moment to check out our tips for how to be successful in high school.

Don’t forget to take a minute to check out our various SAT prep and ACT prep options today.

how to be successful in high school


Set Realistic Goals

Goal setting will help you not only succeed in high school but in life too.

To follow through on them, figure out your own motivations and habits, and use them to craft realistic goals you can accomplish. It’s easy to set wildly unrealistic goals with no idea of how to complete them. Instead, understand how you motivate yourself and figure out the long-term goals you want to be accomplished.


Think of these as multi-year projects. From there, you can break those projects down into short-term goals that are actionable within a reasonable amount of time. Even if it takes you 20 tiny tasks to accomplish one short-term goal, don’t sweat it. What’s important is you’re making forward progress.

Work On Time Management

If you want to succeed in high school, you need to work on time management.

On the day-to-day level, you’ll have to work on study schedules, managing extracurricular commitments, and how to multitask between them effectively. Don’t expect it to happen perfectly all at once. Efficient time management depends all on the individual, how well they handle stress, and what methods work best, such as the Pomodoro technique, for example.


Be Engaged Outside Of The Classroom

Don’t let high school only be defined by what you do inside the classroom or gym.

Use this time to also look at your community and see where you can help make it better for both yourself and everyone else in it. Research local nonprofit organizations and see if you can volunteer your time with them. Not only will this develop your world experience, but it also helps when filling out those college applications later on.

Class Participation

You may not enjoy it….but you’re going to have to raise your hand and participate.

Students who actively participate during class are known to better retain information, because of stronger encoding in one’s memory from putting that information into context. Plus, actively participating students create favorable impressions in teachers who notice their hard work and dedication. In time, these teachers are more likely to give you recommendation letters because they can attest to your work ethic and enthusiasm to learn.

Take Care Of Yourself

High school is busy, so don’t let your body run itself down.

Focus on the fundamentals – get plenty of sleep, eat balanced meals, remember to take breaks when studying, etc. If you let any of these things slide, your body will inevitably suffer. You’ll then see a dip in focus and ability academically, which only leads to trouble over time. Put your health first, and watch everything else benefit from it.

Find Your Passions

Don’t underestimate the power of passion when it comes to learning.

If you can find subjects and activities that you are genuinely passionate about, you will find great motivation in everything else, and can potentially follow them to a future career opportunity. Passionate engagement makes the high school experience much better overall.

Be Willing To Lead

Don’t spread yourself thin over too many activities; focus on ones you can become a leader within.

Showing commitment to an organization by becoming a leader in it clearly demonstrates your enthusiasm and determination to engage. Moreover, it helps develop your leadership skill and shows a willingness to accept responsibility for others. Both of these attributes look great on college applications.

Build Supportive Relationships

Don’t be afraid to seek out help.

There are plenty of resources available to help you in high school. Don’t wait for a class to go completely south or a horrible GPA drop force you to find help. Build relationships with your teachers and counselors. Work with friends who take the same classes as you. Keep communication with them open when you feel that things are getting tough. People are willing to help you, they simply have to know you need it.

Find A Designated Study Space

Find a consistent place to study for better results over time.

Pick one specific place you enjoy to study in because it’s easier to focus on work there. It could be your bedroom, basement, or even a particularly quiet spot in a library or park. Wherever the actual location is, make sure that it’s clear of potential distractions.


No phone, no television, video games, or anything that provides too much distraction. Make your spot a place your brain will associate with studying and work alone; when it finally does, your focus should be great because of self-conditioning. When you need to finally take a break, simply get up and leave that spot temporarily.


Get Yourself A Study Buddy

Studying is easier sometimes when you have a friend help out.

Study buddies are a great tool to help you get through difficult classes. They have plenty of benefits for the average student. First, you have someone that can consistently quiz you before tests and help practice hard problems or concepts.

Second, they are there to provide accountability for yourself too. It’s easy to let yourself down sometimes, but it’s a different story when you’re letting another person who cares down. Third, they help you track progress when going over subjects, so you can accurately gauge what you know and how well.

sat to iq

How Prep Expert Can Help You

A huge step in being successful beyond high school is doing well on either the SAT or ACT. We can help you do that.

Taught by our high scoring instructors, Prep Expert’s strategies are put into practice through our specific homework assignments and weekly practice tests. Together, this material will help you find and address your problem areas before having to take either test for real.

Ultimately, our aim is to help you achieve your goals for both school and life by providing the tools to overcome this first hurdle in the process – your test score. We’ve seen students’ lives change for the better, from getting scholarship money to getting literally into their dream schools.

Be sure to check out our various class options, from in-person, live online, to self-paced video on demand, to find one that fits your goals and schedule. Our classes are available year-round, so there’s no reason to wait. Moreover, if you need help for specific subjects, AP tests, etc., we have a variety of personal tutoring options available too.

For more test strategy, college admissions, and scholarship application tips sign up for our FREE class happening right now!

Todd Marcus

Written by Todd Marcus

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