5 Valuable Skills Students Must Learn Before Graduating High School

Melissa Maria
Feb 25, 2022
High School Skills

Trying to phrase the top five most valuable skills for the future every high school student needs to have upon graduation is a difficult task.

Everyone, every human being has their own lists of do’s and don'ts just like they do of top skill.

But after significant research, some skills are non-negotiable and some important skills for students when they graduate.

But, who wants to have just five? You can also lookup each day more skills to excel at.

In today’s rapid-paced dynamic and ever-changing world, labeling five that may stand the test of time is difficult.

Graduating high school can come with a lot of stress if the only focus is on academics.

In the 21st century, Z students are internet natives, so education has become impact and knowledge-based. It is unlike before where students had to parrot every word.

21st-century skills groomed in the classroom require students to apply certain skills in all walks of life practically and that is what schools in Singapore aim for.

What Are The 5 Most Important Skills That Students Need To Graduate High School?

1. Critical Thinking And Problem-Solving Skills

Critical thinking is the ability to critically analyze, infer and make deductions such that the world makes sense not just in a linear fashion.

But, critical thinking is proven to be positively used across disciplines and problem areas.

Problem-solving can start at home. Look at small things whether it is the monthly budget, whether the light bulb is off, become creative and innovative to find the skills and hone them over a period of time.

You can also do the same in class, on the playground finding creative, interrelated, intersubject solutions to unique problems. They may or may not work but at least you think out of the box.

2. Effective Communication Skills

Effective communication whether in a classroom, a Twitter debate, or Instagram reels are all important aspects of learning.

To communicate means that the receiver perceives exactly what we intend to say without noise.

“Communication is the key to success” is a common phrase, and is actually integrated into just about everything we do in life.

High school graduates will also need strong communication skills in written form.

This applies to applying in various universities, jobs where there is a demand for a letter or essay on various topics.

Usually, universities ask for what is called a statement of purpose and understanding that communication is beyond vocal but written as well.

3. Time Management Skills, A Life Skill For High Schoolers

We all are bombarded with information all the time whether we are on a bus, at a shop, on our phones everywhere information is being fed.

In such a time it becomes important to understand where to give time and where to cut downtime, thus time management.

Recklessly scrolling on Instagram sometimes may give you good ideas but it won't be of any help in board rooms.

In fact, you could be addicted to it, making time a difficult aspect to manage. Divide your day into chunks and practise a flexible routine.

Be mindful of where your time is going and what is the intention behind it.

4. Curiosity And Imagination, A Skill Of Wonder

As we are evolving, textbook situations are becoming complicated and interrelated.

As a child one is very curious, instills this curiosity and uses it to imagine different scenarios, problem cases and develop this skill.

The more curious you are, the more ‘Why’s’ you ask the probability that you will come to a positive conclusion.

This does not only apply to immediate problems but also to learning about global or international issues, their take on various problems, how they navigate.

Regular presentations on a platform and engaging in interactive group activities will help you get insight into the world and dive into a plethora of ideas that may not be passed down the generations but are unique and unlikely solely because of your imagination and curiosity.

5. Decision Making

Decision-making is very important not just in everyday life but a life skill for big situations as well.

It can be as simple as whether to buy orange candy or strawberry candy or to decide whether a business plan is worthy enough to put money into it.

Decision skills can be inculcated simply by making small decisions each day and understanding how they impacted, and what could have been done better or alternatively.

How To Actively Develop Skills In High School?

To develop these futuristic skills as a high school student, you must first identify your strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you are poor at decision making but good at communication, focus on decision making. Give it time and make it a regular habit to use in your everyday life.

Keep small promises to yourself instead of big unattainable goals. You will be able to instill confidence that you can get through anything if you keep your promises to yourself and make use of them.

A little goes a long way so make sure you do things in bite-sized portions so that you don't lose confidence or the will.

What Skills Do High School Graduates Lack?

Often because high school students have focussed on academia, they might lack social soft skills. This is your cue to learn and improve them starting today.

Even if you manage to grow slowly, it is good enough.

Don’t look towards perfectionism as it comes from the belief that I am not good enough and no matter how perfect you are you will find faults.

Instead, look at these skills as excellence. Excellence is attainable and achievable for high school students.

Know that there is competition but you are your biggest competitor. This will help you learn from others and never shy away from asking for help or support.

You should also take breaks when required without taxing your mind or body.

How Can I Improve My Soft Skills In High School?

To improve soft skills in high school, interaction is the key. Take part in extracurricular activities, become the leader for a club to interact with both students and faculty.

Always keep in mind that at the end of the day what is important is community, environment, and work as a community.

Make sure you practice the mantra by Simon Sinek- Leaders Eat Last and Know Your Why. The intention is very important.

Just to do things for the heck of it will land you nowhere.

How Can I Improve My Social Skills At School?

At the school level to improve these skills start young. Question what you are being taught, do additional research.

Make sure to communicate your ideas no matter how absurd they sound. Be kind to yourself and others, this will help you gain trust and camaraderie from a young level.

Practise skills of leadership, be an active participant in presentations and be vocal about what you think can be a good idea.

Talk about student president unions, become a member of societies, interact and communicate across classes and arenas.

You can also read the more, blog more, put your ideas as quirky as they might be out into the world.

Melissa Maria

GIIS Singapore SMART Campus principal, Ms Melissa Maria’s journey as an educator started when she was only 16 and continued in the field after she completed her Master’s degree in History and Bachelor’s degree in Education. For over 25 years now, she has been at the forefront of introducing new ideas and methodologies to education. She is also the City Coordinator for Singapore, selected by the CBSE Board for Grade 10 and 12 exams, 2021, managing two other international schools besides GIIS. With numerous achievements sprinkled across her distinguished career, Ms. Maria has been recognised for her efforts as a Mindef volunteer by the Singapore government.


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