How To Be A Great High School Leader

In high school, there are lots of opportunities to play leadership roles, from sports captains to club presidents to student council positions. During my senior year, I got to be the editor-in-chief of our school newspaper. While things didn’t always go smoothly, I learned a lot.

Be extra organized

Plan out meetings beforehand so you know exactly what you need to cover. And when the meeting is finished, take note of what you need to go over at the next meeting.

Roll with the punches

Although you should be organized, know that not everything will go exactly according to plan. Expect difficulty. You have to learn to improvise and be resourceful. Keep a cool head and just try to problem solve.

Promote your organization

You won’t get any new members if no one knows your organization exists! So make assembly announcements, post flyers, and put on events that the whole student body can enjoy. Market yourselves.

Boost morale

Show your appreciation for current members, while also attracting new members, by doing things like bringing sweet treats to meetings or practices. You want people to be glad that they are participating.

Treat everyone equally

I know it’s hard, but you have to treat your best friend and that random freshman the same way. You can’t favor anyone just because you know them or like them better. If your friends are goofing off when they’re supposed to be working, have the courage to tell them to stop!

Be optimistic

If the leader of the group is not optimistic, how can anyone else be? You’re a role model. Even if things are looking bad, it’s your job to keep everyone’s spirits up!

Communicate with the adults

Yes, you’re technically the leader and should be in control and everything but you have to talk to faculty advisors and coaches before you make any major decisions. Their ideas and opinions should be noted as they probably have more experience with the club or team than you do.

Delegate the work equally

Don’t assign all of your work to other people just because you can. Do your share! But at the same time, if you’re taking on way too much, don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit of help. Find the happy medium.

Encourage questions

Don’t become a tyrant. Everyone should feel like their voice is being heard. Frequently ask for questions and suggestions to make the organization better. Before you know it, morale will be higher, so the quality of everyone’s work will increase.

Critique kindly and honestly

If you see someone’s potential to improve, help them out. Don’t be afraid to really work with them if they’re not getting it.

Give honest advice, but be nice. No one is perfect.

Most importantly: DON’T just do it for college applications

Don’t take a leadership position you don’t care about just because it will look good on your college applications. I’ve seen so many students do this, and then go on to just totally ditch the organization and leave it to fall to shambles. If you don’t care about the success of your group, then please don’t become its leader.


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  • Nadira Berman

    As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

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