Top 10 Essential Life Skills For High School Students

Shubhdarshani Mitra
Feb 8, 2022
High School

As the rapidly changing world continues to push the boundaries of excellence, the ability to not just cope but thrive with uncertainties and ambiguities is the key. To this effect, our education system must nurture students beyond the classrooms by armouring them with essential life skills to prepare them for future success.

Twenty-first-century competencies require our students, especially those in secondary grades (high school equivalent in Singapore), to be able to take up real-life challenges. Schools, in Singapore and around the world, need to continually adapt. 

Educational institutions, whether government-run or private international schools, must teach students skills that will enable them to stay on top of life’s demands. Schools in Singapore that focus on these significant abilities help students to become all-rounded individuals. 

Here we list down the top 10 essential life skills for high school age students that will help them to gear up for the future:


But First, What Do We Mean by Life Skills?

Life skills is a term used to describe skill sets that help people to make informed decisions, solve complex problems, think creatively and critically, communicate effectively, show empathy, and build healthy relationships.

As per a World Economic Forum (WEF) report on the future of jobs, the in-demand skills and skill groups that employers see gaining prominence by 2025 include problem-solving, critical thinking, stress management, self-management skills like resilience, active learning, stress tolerance and flexibility. 

For your child, development in this regard would lead to a smoother transition to the world of university and work.


What are the 10 Most Important Life Skills for Students?

Let’s take a look at some of these important life skills for high school students:

1. Creative and Critical Thinking

The ability to think outside the box or creative thinking is highly valued in today’s innovation-driven world.

Critical thinking and analysis, another key skill, improves a student’s ability to analyse and comprehend complex problems, helping them to find rational solutions.

As per the survey by WEF, it is one of the skills groups which has a growing demand in the future.

2. Collaboration

Learning how to work with others is a 21st-century skill that every student must acquire.

As students move up to higher grades from secondary school, the high school equivalent in Singapore, there will be an increasing and continuous need for peer collaboration in school-based assignments, university projects, and eventually at their workplace.

3. Communication Skills

Effective communication is a skill that will enable a student to bolster trust, reduce misunderstandings and get the work done.

This is even more important in today’s digitally-connected world where one needs to constantly interact and convey messages in a virtual set-up, an experience quite different from in-person interactions.

4. Decision-Making Skills

Whether it is making subject choices or choosing the stream of studies or a university programme, defining moments such as these will have a lasting impact on a student’s future.

The ability to think clearly and make sound decisions will help them in every stage of their life.

5. Financial Literacy

Gone are the days when financial literacy was essential only when one started to earn. In today’s world, students need to be prepared early to make better financial decisions.

Effective management of finances like knowing how to save, invest, and so on can enable them to reach their financial goals in life.

6. Time Management and Organisational Skills

Like they say, either run the day or the day runs you! Time management and organisational skills are values that drive success as setting aims, breaking them down to smaller goals, prioritising work, all lead to an increase in productivity levels.

Whether it is getting ready for school or finishing a school assignment or meeting friends, students need to manage their time for short-term and long-term gains.

7. Managing Stress

It’s a no-brainer that as students move to higher grades, there’s an increasing pressure that may build up in an attempt to balance out studies and extracurricular activities.

While stress tolerance is also a skill that’s gaining prominence in the world of work, managing stress is directly related to emotional well-being.

Activities like daily goal setting, breaking down tasks, reaching out for help, and taking time off from routine work, will all help in easing out stress.

8. Self-Assessment And Reflection

Self-reflection builds perspective, allowing students to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and record progress to improve.

It helps them to think deeply when solving a problem, think from both practical and emotional perspectives, helping them to reflect on what they would do differently so that they can improve upon their work.

This also prepares them for the future when they face similar challenges.

9. Resilience

Failure is a part of life, and so is moving on! Students must also learn to accept failure in order to improve.

Resilience or the ability to accept failure with grace and learn from prior mistakes is an important skill every student must aim to strengthen.

10. Empathy

The ability to understand and share the feelings of others may not come easily to some people.

However, education systems can play a key role in fostering human-centric soft skills like empathy among the students. This would not only help students as individuals but also build a future society that is inclusive.

As the students of today belong to a constantly evolving world, it is almost imperative for them to learn these life skills to feel confident, empowered, and geared towards the future.

At GIIS, we nurture students for overall development, fostering the above life skills. Our educational philosophy or the 9Gems model aims to develop students over and beyond academic excellence.

GIIS also lays focus on significant aspects of student growth like sports, creativity, leadership skills, universal values, among others. We offer multiple international curricula and an Indian curriculum to enable students to excel through their learning styles.

If you want to learn more about learning at GIIS, please do not hesitate to reach out to our friendly admissions team.


Shubhdarshani Mitra

Shubhdarshani has over 10 years of experience in content creation, curation and editing. She has worked for Indian newspapers, school magazines and international news websites where she worked closely with the leadership on the execution and communication of the content strategy. Aside from work, she’s a passionate B&W photographer and storyteller.

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