There are countless benefits to graduating high school with the title of Valedictorian (or Salutatorian as well, for that matter). Valedictorians go on to get into the best colleges and universities, get the best jobs, the best careers, and are generally more successful than their peers.
While becoming a valedictorian does not guarantee life success, it is an indicator of those who are likely to be more successful. It is not the fact that someone is a valedictorian that makes them successful – rather, the type of person who works hard enough to become their classes valedictorian is the type of person who generally is successful throughout their lifetime.
1. Start Early
If you want to be your classes valedictorian, you need to start early. Your GPA that determines your standing goes throughout your entire high school career. This means that from day one of freshman year, you’ve started. If you didn’t start out until a little later that’s okay, but it will be more difficult to achieve the status the later you wait to focus on getting the best grades.
2. Pick the Right Balance of Classes
When trying to get the valedictorian status, you are essentially competing against everyone else in your grade level. The easier your classes are, the higher your GPA will be. The harder your classes are, the more likely you’ll drop below your targeted 4.0. Fortunately, some AP classes have adjusted GPAs or GPAs out of 5.0 to adjust for this factor. You don’t want to take only easy or limiting classes though. It’s better to take moderate classes or challenging classes. Don’t skimp on your education. Remember, colleges look at the type and difficulty of your classes as well. It’s also possible you won’t get the valedictorian or salutatorian status – then you’ll feel foolish for missing out on classes you should have taken.
3. Study Hard and Get Good Grades
Virtually every valedictorian studies almost religiously. Getting A’s in every class is a valedictorian’s priority and number one goal. Everything else comes second. You should be studying until you know the material, then study some more. Develop good study habits. Know things in advance. Study day and night. It will be difficult at first, but with time it will become a second-nature habit. This will help you develop good skills and habits you can use later in life, even if you don’t become valedictorian.
4. Attend a Smaller School
This is a factor that most high school students don’t have much control over, but if you are absolutely set on becoming your classes valedictorian, the smaller the school, the less the competition. Therefore, the more likely your hard work will pay off. Also note that most colleges ask your school size, so going to a school with twenty people in your class and making valedictorian won’t mean much to them.
Bonus Tip #1: Don’t Obsess
Some students obsess about becoming valedictorian. It’s all that matters to them. There’s nothing wrong with doing your best to become valedictorian or salutatorian, but don’t neglect your life. Pay attention to your health, your family, your friends, your relationships. Develop hobbies and other skill sets other than studying. Don’t let your youth pass you by because you were too focused on school.
Bonus Tip #2: You’re Doing More than Becoming Valedictorian
Whether you become valedictorian or not is of no consequence in this regard. If you’re trying to become your schools valedictorian, that means you’re doing your best, and striving for high achievement. It means you’re studying and working hard. You’re developing life skills that some people never learn. You’re learning motivation, focus, perseverance, the value of hard work, and strong personal discipline. Striving to be valedictorian helps you develop life skills most people never perfect.