Important Skills to Learn in High School

Published on Jul 15, 2019

Many people complain that high school doesn’t teach you any skills for life. While high school lacks education on financial literacy and cooking, you can learn many important skills. Here are a few of them you should focus on growing.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is beneficial as an adult, which is why it is crucial that you learn in high school how to speak in front of an audience. Throughout high school, your teachers will assign group projects and presentations. Make sure you are practicing for presentations and taking advantage of speaking opportunities. For instance, my school district had open auditions for students to speak in front of teachers and staff at an employee kickoff. Only five students applied out of the tens of thousands of K-12 students that live in my school district.

Furthermore, certain schools offer courses like Communication Applications and AP Capstone Seminar. These courses are beneficial because of their cross-curricular impact. By learning effective speaking skills in one class, you will also succeed in other classes. For instance, public speaking and presentations appear in AP courses like US History or English Language.  I highly recommend the AP Seminar course if your school offers it, as it also supplements speaking with research and writing. Learning public speaking in your four short years before adulthood will help you in the long run.

Effective Writing

Learning how to write is something we are all taught in elementary and middle school. High school, however, grows your writing ability because it teaches you why you write and what to write. Learning how to articulate on paper also helps you articulate when speaking, and vice versa. Taking courses like AP English Language or English Literature will help make your writing more effective. Moreover, you will do a lot of writing even in history or STEM courses. For example, the History AP courses require you to write Short Answers in addition to the Document Based and Long Essay Question. The AP Science courses have experimental design questions on their free-response sections. These free response questions ask you to articulate how to design an experiment.

Writing will materialize in the workforce and in higher level education. Whether it be writing a senior thesis or typing up a report for higher management, writing will be prevalent throughout your life.

Problem Solving

Problem-solving is also an important skill, but it isn’t as tangible or as specific as public speaking.  For instance, very few schools offer a problem-solving course. Yet, learning how to solve problems is a learned trait that you gain from a variety of courses and extracurricular activities. In almost every core course, students will learn how to approach a question and solve that specific problem. Extracurricular activities, however, teach problem-solving that is more applicable. For instance, the student council works out a solution to all school-hosted events. In organizations like debate or Model United Nations, you work to persuade opponents that your argument is compelling.

By learning how to be quick on your feet and solve problems now, life beyond high school will have a smaller learning curve, such as in college. Thinking on your feet is a valuable skill in the professional world as well. Thus, learning how to solve problems efficiently and effectively will also create opportunities for you in the future.

Community Service & Leadership

⚡ Watch: Altruize’s How to Get Community Service Hours from Home!

Servant leadership, or leading by serving, is a skill that is necessary for adulthood. Servant leadership includes volunteering at events or running for public office. In high school, you can serve by helping volunteer in community service organizations like Interact or NHS. By giving back to your community now, you will help your surrounding area grow and be able to create a positive impact on society. Additionally, by serving as an effective officer of your club, you are given the opportunity to undergo immense personal growth as well.

Operating as an effective servant leader will propel you to become a successful role model in college and your career. Your prior experience in high school serves as the foundation of your leadership.

I am an incoming high school senior and debater from Houston, Texas. Moreover, I aim to level the playing field for success in higher education.

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