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Earn your stars and stripes: The ultimate US high school bucket list

The US high school experience is arguably one of the most exciting. We’ve all seen the films; the football stars, cheerleaders, school lockers and after-school study groups. But what is studying in the US really like? With so many opportunities on offer like flexible class schedules, team activities and leadership challenges, students studying in the US quickly grow both as learners and people. In our ultimate US high school bucket list, we’ve hand-picked the top experiences that we think will help you learn about yourself and earn you those all American stars and stripes. So, let’s get started!

Try out some new classes

The beauty of a US high school is the flexibility of class schedules. While you’ll take a core set of classes it’s usually possible to try out different classes that you may not get in other high schools. Even if you head to university in the US afterwards, students don’t usually have to declare a major until maybe a year or two after starting. By taking the time and space to figure out your strengths, you’ll grow in confidence and feel more motivated to study hard and succeed. There’s no point sitting in a class you care little about when you could be finding out about yourself, your own interests and what drives you.

Join a team

If you’ve seen any American high school film, you’ll know how important school spirit is to students. Whether you’re interested in joining the football team, the cheerleading squad or running track, the most important thing you’ll learn is teamwork. There’s nothing like being a part of something and contributing to a common goal. Even if sports aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty of opportunity to be a part of a team. Try the debate team, dance class, be in the school play or get involved with student council – more on that next!

Run for class president

Not only is student council a fantastic thing to have on your university applications, but the benefits for personal and professional growth are huge. Discover what causes you’re passionate about, what makes you want to speak out or stand up, equally learn how to listen to others and cooperate as a team. Take this a step further and aim for class president – the leadership skills and independence you learn in this position will stay with you your whole life through.

Get yourself a prom date

Prom is an American high school tradition, but what exactly can you learn from finding yourself a date? Firstly, creativity. Once you know who you want to invite to prom, don’t just ask them! Instead, think of a creative way to get the message across. Think banners, acapella singing groups, a flash mob, get foods from your date’s home country – the bigger, the better! Secondly, prom is just as fun with friends. Get your group together and dance the night away.

Show off your talents

In need of a confidence boost? Put yourself out of your comfort zone and participate in a school talent show. High school communities are often bursting with talent and this is the ideal opportunity to be a part of that. Not only will you learn about your own skills, but you might also make some new friends outside of your regular circle. This is your chance to try something different and see how rewarding new experiences can be. At high school, when you’re asked to participate? Your answer should always be yes!


Ready to earn your stars and stripes? Our EF Academy schools in New York and Pasadena combine the US high school experience with a culture-rich, international environment.

The ultimate US high school experienceJoin us!

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