Demonstrating Leadership Skills in High School


What are leadership skills and why are they important

Leadership skills are a set of tools that help you organize a group of people with a common goal to achieve an objective. It helps to build these skills in order to have a successful college career. A lot of times, colleges will seek candidates with strong leadership skills because they’ll develop into successful leaders of the future. 

The college admissions committee is looking for alumni they can brag about. Studies conducted by the University of California, Santa Barbara demonstrated that people with leadership roles in high school are more likely to have higher-paying positions as adults, earning up to 33% more than those without them. It’s not only important to demonstrate leadership skills in high school to be attractive to potential colleges, but for your future and career. 


How to demonstrate leadership skills in high school

It’s a very broad statement to say that colleges only look for someone who demonstrates leadership. As hard as it may seem, there are things you can do to not only stand out to college admissions officers but to develop leadership skills to aid you later in life. 

  • Consider your strengths and weaknesses

    High school is a time for development and growth. You should do a lot of introspective thinking to determine what comes easily to you and what doesn't. For example, if you have trouble speaking in public, enroll in a public speaking class at school or put yourself in positions that urge you to address a group of people. This can be done by joining the board of a club and speaking at its meetings, volunteering to speak at school events, or even becoming part of the student body government. Looking into your weaknesses and finding ways to improve them shows leadership skills because you are taking initiative. Besides, it also helps you try new things and leave your comfort zone. Identifying your strengths is crucial for college applications and addressing them at your future job interviews without hesitation. Be sincere and encourage yourself to never let your fears win over you. Become an improved version of you yourself and the college admissions board will see a strong leader within you.

  • Confidence and positivity

    A confident person radiates trusting energy that attracts others. You can use this to gather a group behind something that is important to you, making you a leader. Confidence is essential in knowing your worth and not underselling yourself. People who are confident seek out opportunities that put them in positions of leadership because they know their capabilities. To become more confident, you can work on self-improvement. It is better to have a boss that wants their business to succeed by focusing on all the positive aspects of the company and working on positive feedback rather than one who always complains and has overall negative energy.

  • Join student clubs

    Being a part of clubs can help you determine what activities you like and which you dislike. It can help you learn about certain subjects and develop skills in particular fields that you enjoy. Moreover, you can appraise what could be improved within the club in order to make it better and more efficient. It shows that you have innovative ideas and that you are outspoken by bringing forth improvements that could be done. It’s also a great chance to demonstrate that you are worthy of a leadership position, which could result in you becoming a member of the club’s board. These opportunities teach you how to delegate responsibilities to people and to understand effective team efforts. Clubs don't have to be academic, they can express hobbies you enjoy and exhibit a well-rounded applicant. It demonstrates the creative side of you which is another facet of being a good leader and having revolutionary ideas. Joining a club can also be for personal growth and stepping out of your comfort zone, like joining a writing club if you feel that your writing skills could be improved.

  • Community service/volunteering

    Being a leader is not only about having people follow you, but caring about those people and looking out for them. A good way to develop people skills and become more receptive to what people want is by volunteering. A lot of volunteering puts you in positions where you are seeking the good of others. It displays your openness to help people and that you have a caring attitude which is paramount for leaders. In high school, you should intend to keep up with volunteering opportunities and show consistency and commitment to them. Look into organizations that interest you and if you like them, try to stick with their activities on a regular basis throughout your high school career. Peer-mentoring is also an option if it is available to you. You present yourself as able to guide and teach others, which colleges use to make positive inferences about you such as you being patient, well organized, and well-spoken.

  • Employment

    Getting a job or any sort of employment shows determination and that you’re not only qualified enough to hold the job but also responsible enough to keep it. It reveals your abilities of time management if you work and have school at the same time. Depending on what your role is, it demonstrates that you work well with people and that you are a team player. It helps develop personable skills that are essential for leaders. If you want to work in a certain field in the future and you gain a managerial position, you can implement changes you see fit after your experience working in that field during high school. It shows a committed, motivated, and determined person who takes the initiative in their own life.

To develop your leadership skills, you don’t have to become the leader of every single club in your school or apply to be in student government if it’s something you’re not even interested in. Colleges want to see someone who is disciplined, dependable, and persistent. There needs to be some cohesiveness in what you do, so choose your opportunities wisely. 

Developing leadership skills can be as little as taking determination to improve some of your faults and working on becoming a better you. To develop these skills, it is important that you don’t focus too much on the titles you will gain from these opportunities, but on the learning experiences that you gather as you engage in this journey to become a leader. 

Put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone, experiment with different things, talk to different people, and watch yourself become a more personable and well-rounded person. This path is not only so you can get into your dream college, but for you to become a successful person in the future in anything you wish to embark upon. 

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