Does High School Really Matter?

Posted on October 18 2021

Does High School Really Matter?

Does high school really matter? Sometimes it’s hard to understand how four short years of our lives can have an impact on the decades that come afterward. You’ll hear people say, “High school is the best time of your life.” But I suspect for most of us, high school is something to be endured, gotten through as quickly as possible, and then forgotten.

But just as good nutrition in the first years of our lives can have an impact on our growth, our dental health, and our overall health, high school, although a short period of time, does matter later in life.

Does high school determine the rest of your life? Probably not. But does high school matter later in life? And do the grades you get in high school really matter? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes.

High School Grades

If you’re getting good grades, that means you’re getting work finished, you understand what is being taught, and you are building skill upon skills. Bad grades can mean that life stressors are interfering with your ability to get your work done and can mean that you are missing out on learning content and skills that you’ll need to have in higher grade levels. So, it’s not that your grades define you. Your grades are simply symptoms — like a cough or a sneeze or a fever — that can help you figure out what is going right or wrong with your learning health.

Your grades can show you are healthy and on track with your learning or show something is wrong and needs attention or intervention. You can make changes in your behavior to improve your health. Like getting more sleep, cutting down on hours at work, or eliminating an activity that takes time away from homework.

Life after High School

So what does this have to do with the rest of your life? Two things.

First: Maybe you have heard the expression, “Everything I need to know in life, I learned in Kindergarten.” And then people will go on to talk about sharing, kindness, sitting still, and respect.

There are some important skills you will learn in high school that will help you for the rest of your life. And I’m not talking about algebra.

Life “Grades”

Even though you won’t have grades for the rest of your life, you will have other indicators that are similar to grades, if you know how to look at them. You will certainly have performance reviews at work. And depending on where you work, every six months to a year, your boss will decide whether or not you deserve a raise or a promotion. Or, if your “grades” are bad, whether or not you need to be written up or fired.

So, even though it may not be called grades for the rest of your life, you will, in fact, be graded after high school. So, it is important to learn how you can make changes depending on the feedback you get. High school can prepare you for that with feedback on assignments that ask you to clarify things, turn in work on time, check your work, or spend more time on your work.

Being on Time

When you are in high school, you’re expected to get to school on time. If you’re tardy, you can sometimes get detention or other consequences for being late. Most teenagers find this to be unduly harsh or unnecessary. But when you get into the real world, this is one of the things that is going to carry over to your life in a huge way. If you cannot get to work on time, you will get a bad reputation at work. You can be written up. You can lose promotion opportunities. If your boss notices that you’re late all the time, you may not get a raise when everyone around you does. So, being able to get to high school on time is a valuable skill that will help you for the rest of your life.


Similarly, if you have a project at work, you need to complete it, and you need to get it finished on time, just as you do with homework during high school. If your boss asks you to set up a display, call a customer, set up a meeting, write a report, or any of a number of other things you might be asked to do at work, if you do not do it on time, your “grades” at work will suffer. And you can find yourself in danger of losing your job.

Group Work

I think it’s safe to say that nobody likes group projects when they’re in high school. There is always one person who doesn’t seem to contribute anything and one person who feels like they do all of the work. However, group work in high school is also a model of what you will experience in the real world, because you will often find yourself working with a team, whether it is to draft a proposal, create a report, build a display, take inventory, or unload a truck of merchandise and distribute it throughout a store. Learning how to work in a group and on a team is an important function, and high school can help prepare you for how to do it successfully.

High School Diploma

Last, but certainly not least, is your high school diploma. Why is earning your high school diploma important? Your high school diploma is your key to the future. If you want to go to technical school, attend college, or obtain certifications to help you professionally, you will need your high school diploma as a base. In the case of some post-secondary education opportunities, your high school diploma will act as your passport: You won’t be able to gain entry without it.

Your high school diploma demonstrates two things: First, your core knowledge base and second, your ability to successfully complete a rigorous program. This tells your future employers that you will be able to successfully complete your work assignments and also that you have important skills like basic math, reading, and critical thinking skills that you will use in your position.

How Do I Get My Diploma?

So, how do you get your diploma if you have not yet had the opportunity? It is never too late! And now getting your high school diploma in the time and place that are best for you is easier than ever. The American Academy offers a fully accredited online high school completion program. We will work with you to create a graduation plan that fits your needs. We will let you know what courses you need to take. You can start any time. Our program is also fully online, so you can complete your work at any time day or night, from anywhere that works for you, and you can choose from payments as low as $45 a month.

Click here and get started today!


Recommended Readings

Why is a High School Diploma Important?

A High School Diploma: Is It Really Worth Having?

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