Light On The Hill

10 Tips for High School Success

Posted by Francisco Sauceda on Apr 14, 2021 2:00:00 PM

a close-up of a student wearing a mask


High school is a huge transition. It’s a new environment with new expectations and even more work. Being successful in high school can be a challenge. Follow these tips to help you hone your study skills, find your niche and have a successful high school experience.

1. Keep a Calendar

High school means more assignments, extracurriculars and other responsibilities. Trying to juggle all of them in your head will lead to disaster. That’s why it’s important to keep a calendar. It doesn’t matter if it’s physical or digital – what’s important is keeping track of everything. Take note of any scheduled events, but also write down due dates for assignments so you can keep track of them easily.

2. Get Involved with the Community

Making connections is important to build your network, but it’s also important for your own development as well. It can help you find your interests, make new friends and feel more connected to your local community. An easy way to get involved is to find a local organization you’re passionate about and volunteer your time – places like your local library, food pantry, wildlife conservation or veterans’ associations usually have opportunities to volunteer.

3. Participate in Class

Speaking up in class is really hard to do especially when you’re naturally shy. However, it’s an important skill that you’ll use throughout your lifetime. You’ll likely be asked to speak for a group in college and/or in your future jobs, so it’s important to get some practice in. Teachers are also more likely to think of you as an engaged student if you participate.

4. Find Your Passions

It’s easier said than done to find your passions – and for many people, you may not find all of them until you’re an adult. That’s ok! High school is a great time to explore many different areas of study, interest and focus. You can experiment by joining various extracurricular clubs focused on different interests and subject matters. Talk to your friends about their interests and hobbies. And don’t be afraid to just try something – you never know what you might be into until you give it a chance!

5. Learn to Say No

While it is important to be an involved member of your community and take on more responsibilities, it’s also important to take care of yourself. When you first start high school you’re given the opportunity to sign up for extra classes and join more clubs and groups, so it’s very easy to get quickly overwhelmed! Saying “no” to extra clubs, extracurriculars, and leadership positions when you’re already feeling stressed is okay to do. It’s important to still have time just for yourself that’s not spent on work or activities.

6. Cultivate a Support Network

High school is a huge change and can be very stressful. That’s why it’s important to have trusted people in your corner. This could be friends, family members, school counselors, teachers or fellow club-members. You need a group of people you can trust and turn to when you need to vent or find help.

7. Learn to Be Ok with Criticism

Criticism is never easy to receive, and it’s natural to be defensive. However, it’s also something that you’ll continue to receive during your lifetime. High school is the perfect place to get comfortable with criticism, as you’ll be getting direct feedback on assignments from teachers and peers. Even when you disagree, it’s important to be respectful.

8. Discover Your Learning Style

Everyone learns information in different ways. There are 4 main types of learners:


  1. Visual learners learn best through graphics, pictures, charts or other visual emphasis.
  2. Auditory learners learn best through listening to a lecture or discussion.
  3. Reading/Writing learners learn best through reading written text and writing notes.
  4. Kinesthetic learners learn best through physical activity or hands-on learning.


You can be a mix of these styles or have different preferences for different subjects. If you’re finding that information isn’t sticking or you’re having a tough time studying, try switching to another style.

9. Make a Study Plan

Studying is critical in high school. When you know you have an upcoming test, make a study plan. Studies have found that you learn best when you review material multiple times before a test. An example is reviewing notes a week before and then using flashcards to test yourself on the material in the days leading up the exam.

10. Plan for College Before Your Senior Year

Planning for college is extremely stressful – especially if you don’t know what you want to do yet. But you don’t have to have everything figured out before you start thinking about college. Freshman and sophomore years in high school are great times to explore – talk to adults in your life about their college experience, poke around on schools’ websites and social media or take some college prep courses.

High school can be a tough time, but it can also be an extremely important time in your life. Using these tips will help you be successful in high school and prepare for college.

For more information about St. Lawrence Seminary High School, check out our interactive page: Is Boarding School Right for You?

St. Lawrence Seminary is an all-boys Catholic boarding school located in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin. We welcome students from the Midwest, across the United States, and from around the globe. Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the example of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Lawrence Seminary provides a residential college preparatory education in a living Catholic community nurturing mature, well-rounded men of faith. See if St. Lawrence is right for you and your son.

Topics: Academics