7 habits of successful high school students

| August 29, 2019

High school can be a challenging period for you – and your parents – both academically and emotionally. As early as year seven, you will start to focus on who and what you want to become, while a successful HSC can help you enroll in a good college, build confidence in your ability and engrain a sense of responsibility for the future..

While everyone will have different challenges to face, and must find their own ways to overcome them, successful students tend to share a handful of tried and trusted habits which stand them in good stead.  Keeping the following seven tips in mind may help reduce the drama and encourage better results.

Get organized

Talent and enthusiasm will only get you so far.  Every success in life also relies on good organization. This includes planning, scheduling and respecting obligations to achieve the best possible results. If your workload is poorly organized or neglected, then tasks will build up and academic achievement will suffer.

Social interactions are also very important as you negotiate your early teenage years, and opportunities for social and extra-curricular activities should be an important part of your schedule.

Why not start by creating a weekly and monthly plan for learning, homework and extra-curricular activities. This way you will always be on top of your workload and still have time for family, friends, and hobbies. Academic success doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your personal life, indeed the two go hand in hand.  It’s all about being disciplined and dedicated to your goals when it’s time to work, and having fun when it’s not.

Be proactive in your studies

Asking questions and seeking help is not a sign of failure. To gain knowledge and improve results, you need to recognise  your weak points and retain your curiosity.  Use all the resources at your disposal – including your teachers and other students – as well as books and the internet to broaden your knowledge base.

The best way to learn something can be to teach it.  Helping others expand their knowledge or overcome difficulties in learning particular subjects will help you master them too.  Applying to become a tutor and help others with their studies is a great way to test your knowledge as well as to interact socially with other students. And also, you can earn some money along the way if you decide to charge for your tutoring.

Avoid multitasking

Multitasking appears an impressive skill and is often promoted as a key to success, but several studies have shown that multitasking results in lower grades and longer study time. Students who use social media and surf the Web while doing homework spent more time doing it and tended to lose focus on the task at hand.

Playing with a phone or computer game in the classroom is even more distracting, and so put your phone on silent, turn off your social media and keep your focus on one task at a time.

Do not procrastinate

Benjamin Franklin’s advice that you should “never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today” remains as true as ever.  If necessary, print this out and hang it above your desk to constantly remind you to keep chipping away at your workload. One of the biggest enemies of success is procrastination and it’s all too easy to fall into its trap.

You start by putting off an assignment for just one day by telling yourself that you will be able to do it all tomorrow. At first, it will look like you actually can, but then other obligations start piling up and at the end of the week you will be too exhausted to face it. Stick to your plans and respect your deadlines to avoid overworking yourself and the need to sacrifice other aspects of your life in the future.

Lead a healthy lifestyle

Staying fit and healthy will help you stay on top of your work.  While it’s tempting to stay up late to revise – or watch YouTube – sleep is essential for cognitive process and helps your brain store the information you processed during the day. Getting your eight hours of sleep every night should be a top priority.

It can be tempting to eat more fast food when you’re out with your friends away from parental supervision, but including more fibre, fruit and veg in your diet and cutting down on processed sugar will keep you on top of your game. Exercise is also a great way to eliminate stress so go for walks, hikes or cycle as often as you can to clear your head and stay healthy.

Overcome your obstacles

Identifying and tackling the problems you face is the best way to deal with them.  Students from non-English speaking backgrounds can take extra language lessons at specialized schools like Sydney College of English to keep up with their curriculum, for example.

Educational obstacles are not the only ones to overcome. High school is a time when you are growing into a young adult ready to tackle the world without the safety net of your family home. You will have to learn to stand up for yourself, be responsible for your actions and deal with emotional challenges.

In order to be a successful student, you need to consciously mature into an individual who will not only work hard for themselves but  respect others and earn their respect in return.

Plan for the future

Thinking ahead will always pay off in the future.  In the USA, students may need to participate in several extra-curricular activities to apply and be admitted to their desired colleges and similar efforts here may pay off when applying to college.

As a high school student, you will start focusing more narrowly on what interests you and thinking about applying to an appropriate future course or college. The key to success is defining your goals and creating plans for the future to give you a sense of stability and help you organize your resources and obligations.

With a plan for the future, you can identify and work on both your strengths and weaknesses, helping you overcome anything thrown your way. If your interests and priorities change you will also be able to amend it as needed.


These habits won’t just help you in school, but are useful guidelines for any future endeavors, be they in college or a job. Acquiring them will make your life better, both socially and academically.  Good luck!