5 Steps to Succeeding in High School and Beyond Part 1

What if students could maximize their middle and high school experience by doing five simple things to stand out in school?

There are five major concepts I teach students, particularly in middle and high school. I call them “The Big Five.”

Step 1 : Give Back


The first step in The Big Five is giving back. Developing a philanthropic spirit early will benefit you tremendously.

For this step, begin by exploring causes that are important to you. Examples may include volunteering for a local church or hospital, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, or a local animal shelter. The opportunities are unlimited.

Keep good records so you can accurately tally the total time you spend volunteering. Obtain signatures on a regular basis to verify your time; doing so will keep you from having to chase down people later on.

Step 2:  Master a Sport or Other Activity


In step two of The Big Five, you devote time to a sport or club. Students often attempt multiple sports during the school year, but then you probably won’t become a master of any. It’s better to master one sport than to be a jack-of-all-trades.

If sports are not your thing, consider band, a cultural club, or a business club such as Future Business Leaders of America.

Always aim to be a valuable member of any group you’re part of.

Step 3: Join a School or Community-Based Club


In step three of The Big Five, you join a school or community-based club. Joining a club is an excellent way of expressing your personal interests.

By your freshman year in high school, if you haven’t already identified an interest use this year to try out multiple clubs.

For example, join the Future Business Leaders of America. During your sophomore year, consider chairing one of the club’s committees, including competing in the local, regional, state, and national competitions.

During your junior year, become an officer in the FBLA and grow your leadership capacity. Use this year to solicit new ideas for growing the club. Seek to work collaboratively with your fellow officers to lead the organization.

Lastly, during your senior year, go for it. Run for president. By then you will have experienced every level of the club. People will look up to you as an experienced leader, and this will be your time to shine. You will also now have a better chance at gaining access to scholarships and awards, which will look great on college applications.
Read Part 2 of this post.


Aimy S.L. Steele is an elementary school principal and doctoral candidate in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the founder of Reach Consulting, which helps students achieve college admission and scholarship success.