You probably don’t want to enter high school with one idea cemented in your head and leave with the same old one, so think about building up your bucket list. High school is more than homework. It’s also an opportunity for you to explore who you are, develop interests, and even challenge what you think you know about yourself.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- High School Bucket List Ideas to Do During Your Senior Year
- High School Bucket List Ideas for Freshmen
- Wild or Unique High School Bucket List Ideas
- More High School Bucket List Ideas
If you want to define yourself, then make a list that defies all expectations. Our list is just a launching pad for you to develop your own.
You may have your whole life to seek out new experiences and dare yourself to try new things. But hands down, if you start now, then you’ll walk into the next phase of your life with a lot more confidence about who you are and what you want out of life.
High School Bucket List Ideas to Do During Your Senior Year
It's your final year of high school, and you want to make it count. You might discover that this is the first year you're also a lot less concerned about other people’s opinions, too. So, do what matters for your future, not theirs.
1. Pass all of your classes
If you’re like most high school students, life is full of roller coaster moments. Which can sound like an understatement.
Between preparing for college, knowing that by societal standards “you’ll be an adult,” but with everything around you, you may still feel like a kid. Despite all the stuff swirling around you, remember that it’s still important to at least pass your classes. In the end, any passing grade can feel like an A.
2. Make the honor roll
Are you still determined to make the honor roll? Then put it on your bucket list. It’s an achievable goal that you can make happen even if you have to ask for help before or after class from your teachers.
3. Run for class president
If you've been involved in student council, after school clubs, and have good grades, you're halfway there. The other half is being personable and authentic with your classmates as much as you can.
Looking to brush up on your leadership skills? Build upon the relationships and ideas you've already created and then go for it.
4. Apply to a dream college
After you apply, two things will happen. You'll get in, or you won't. If you do, then it's a cause for celebration. And if you don’t get in, at least you know you tried. Make sure to apply to other colleges, so you have a variety of choices.
5. Apply for scholarships
Even with some family help available, it is incredibly helpful to fill out scholarship applications.
Situations over four years of college can change, so it is recommended that you stay on top of scholarship options to help you out should the need arise.
6. Perfect attendance
While perfect attendance has become controversial for some, just remember that if it is a goal--try your hardest to make it happen. That also means listening to your body, and know when you may be feeling less than stellar.
Pro-tip: stay home when you don’t feel well. Help keep your classmates healthy.
7. Get straight As
If this is difficult for you to imagine or work on, make a plan for success.
- Consider getting a special study planner to help plot your strengths and weaknesses.
- Work with other classmates to study more in your tougher classes.
- If you’re still struggling, look for tutoring to get help where you need it.
- Research other additional study aids, and look at ways to get yourself in the right mood to study.
8. Become fluent in a language
Don’t make fluency the stopping point. Instead, make a travel bucket list.
Another language will come in handy in many ways, especially if you plan on taking a gap year to explore the world and figure out what inspires you the most. Studying another language will also prepare you for a study abroad opportunity if possible.
9. Become the lead in the next play
If you can sing like nobody's business but are too afraid to sing in front of others, try to take that chance while you’re in school.
Taking the effort to try out for the school play can be freeing and who knows, maybe you’ll make new friends as you rehearse alongside others.
10. Become editor of the class paper
Calling all logophiles, logomaniacs, and hidden tsundoku collectors. If you’re looking to get into journalism or communications, there’s nothing like starting out with your high school newspaper.
Getting a jump start with your school paper can help you get a freelance editing job while in college, or even help you stand out as a potential college paper staff member.
11. Join the track team
Have you ever woken up with an urge to do things you’ve never done before? Not too often, I bet, but there’s something awesome about saying yes to things that are new and different from what you’re used to.
Give it a try. It is said that running can help with a lot of things, so maybe it’s time to pull on those sneakers and go for a run.
12. Join the debate team
Every year you live at home, you may be inadvertently honing your debate skills with your parents.
If you're one of those crafty kids who have argued your way through the strictest curfews or other home rules, check out the debate team. You may find you've got a knack for it.
13. Try out for the cheerleader team
Cheerleading is intense, but it can also be fun. You will be tested for your flexibility, ability to carry a beat, and also provide positivity on the sidelines for your high school sports teams.
Inspired by national cheerleading competitions? See if you have what it takes to fly or be a part of the trusted cheerleader team that holds up others.
14. Become an honor society member
Before you step foot in the world as a community leader, you'll want to join other students with like-minded interests. That includes cementing your academic profile for future college admissions. As a bonus, you'll have opportunities to apply for members-only scholarships.
15. Join the dance team
Just because you haven't been enrolled in dance since you were three doesn’t mean you can't follow choreography. So if you've got rhythm already built into your bones, then try out for the team. You may be surprised.
16. Go on the senior trip
Why should you go on the trip, or rather, why shouldn’t you go on the trip?
- It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you’ll never get back.
- You’ll develop bonds with people you may not have considered friends before.
- You may find you develop a travel bug—which would be the best result.
- It may only be a week or a few days long, but you’ll come back so much wiser.
17. Take a ditch day
This one’s on you, but if it’s something you must do, then it’s something you must do. Here’s the thing, though. Knowing when to take chances and also dealing with the consequences of your actions is a lesson best learned young.
High School Bucket List Ideas for Freshmen
High school offers opportunities to explore, try out, take a chance, or just quietly work at becoming the best version of you that will carry you through life.
“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe
18. Join the cast
In a play, all cast members are essential. The lead needs a costume. The chorus needs a song. And you need a spot that fits both your personality and abilities, so go find out where that is.
If it doesn't work for the winter play, change it up for the spring one and keep going until you find your niche.
19. Enter a science competition
The inventor's mind is a curiously wonderful place to be! Even better is one that sees an opportunity and tries to make it a reality.
Whether you fail or succeed, showing up means you've already gone farther than most people ever will.
20. Develop an art show
Don't wait for the school to catch up to your art. Instead, create a show for you and all of your creative friends on your own time.
Look for accessible venues all over town, such as park pavilions and sidewalks. While you may need reservations or permission to get started, there's undoubtedly a place to get some exposure and feedback.
21. First volunteer position
What kind of job is perfect for your first volunteer program?
- If you like horses, then muck stalls for a horse rescue after school.
- Clean up plastics with global organizations to help our oceans and planet.
- If you’re a budding politician, help gather signatures for essential community programs.
If you can't find what you like, create a better-suited program for your likes and abilities.
22. Date for the big game/meet
Whether it's with your crush, best friend, or confident solitary self, don't miss out on an opportunity to cheer on your team during their biggest game or meet of the season.
Don't worry about getting the best selfie for your social media page—take a picture for posterity, not others.
23. Attend homecoming
You don't have to have the best outfit or even a date, but just showing up like most things in life is the most critical part.
When you look back at that selfie in twenty years, you'll be grateful to see where you were then compared to where you are now.
24. First party
It's all about balance, right? Of course, there will be days (sometimes more than you'd like) when curveballs or setbacks feel like the end of the world. But that's why it's important to make time for enjoyment.
Balance out those stressful parts of life with social time so that when one path feels too overwhelming or challenging, you can quickly regroup after a night out with friends.
25. Extended curfew
Until now, your curfew has been early. So, see if you can set some new standards with your parents so that you can experience more freedom without being under such a watchful eye.
If it's all about trust, then just take the steps necessary to become more autonomous as the high school years fly by.
26. First job
Get creative! You've probably got some idea of what career you'd like to have later in life, so take the time now to find that niche.
You can try for those high-profile positions, or you can look for ways to see how people build careers from the grassroots level on up.
27. Work toward First Chair
Achieving First Chair isn't just indicative of your talent; it's also a commentary on your dedication to the music that inspires your soul.
Freshman year may not lead to that coveted spot just yet, but keep that goal in the back of your mind for momentum.
28. Write a reverse bucket list
Don’t make a list of things you hope to accomplish. Instead, keep a list of what you’ve already completed on a reverse bucket list.
Lists like these show you that you can accomplish many things in a short amount of time with a ton of stress surrounding you. Plus, when it comes time to apply for college scholarships, you’ll have everything you need right there to highlight achievements and goals.
Wild or Unique High School Bucket List Ideas
Choose from the activities below or pivot off any of them to secure something that speaks to the person you aspire to be.
29. Write an original play and direct/perform it
The idea has been developing in your mind for the last few years, so why not commit it to paper? If you get stuck on a character or plot twist, then ask your English teacher or theater director for some support.
Record the performance to use for your college application.
30. Ice-fishing trips
Safely drilling through ice requires some assistance, so let some professionals support this first-time adventure until you get the hang of it.
Challenge yourself to make winter a season you happily spend outdoors with friends and activities early on to keep the habit through life.
31. Spring break volunteer programs
Search through global volunteer programs to find something that speaks to you. For example, many needy locations include the southern hemisphere, where you can help save coral reefs, plant trees, or drill wells.
32. Video game development
Video game development software will help you design the concept, characters, and environment for your idea, turning those elements into a playable game.
You don't need an engineering degree to get started. All you need is a great idea and the right software to help out.
33. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
The PCT is one of those global bucket list ideas, but luckily, you don't need a passport to get there. Instead, you and a few friends can hike a few sections of it over summer vacation with only a driver's license to get you there.
Having some parental chaperones is never a bad idea on this one, as safety is of greater importance than going it alone.
34. Compete in an ultramarathon
Competing in an ultramarathon will prepare you for any challenge on the road of life.
This is more mental than physical, so make sure you're informed, trained, and ready to work hard.
35. Experience Ushuaia
Located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America lies a small town called Ushuaia.
Known for its access to whales, penguins, and proximity to Patagonia, any high school STEM student and their parents can discover inspiration for future college endeavors.
36. Summer program for historic preservations
Explore programs in the United States or anywhere globally where all you need is a plane ticket and transportation to gain access to a historic building in need of restoration.
Lodging, food, and a small stipend accompany your hard work and sweat in restoring these places of value.
37. Backcountry camping
Head up into the mountains with friends or family to rough it for a few days. Enjoy the sweat and struggle of the uphill climb, followed by the peace of a quiet, starlit night.
Check online for a list of recommended supplies and locations; then leave no trace by carrying in and carrying out all of your supplies.
More High School Bucket List Ideas
Some of the reasons we talk ourselves into not doing something is out of fear of rejection, failure, or embarrassment. Take a risk, outside of playing it over and over in your mind. What is realistically the worst that could happen? Would you be afraid anymore? Text a friend to talk it through and see what they say.
38. Become an entrepreneur
If you know that you're going to have to come up with a senior project, start researching the idea early enough to develop it into a business before you leave school. That way, you'll have enough money to pay for college. Or, you'll already be a boss.
Pro-tip: Ask for some tips from a business class teacher if you have access.
39. Throw a party
If your parents are okay with it, then throw a party. This is one of those rights of passage things, no matter how small or big the party may be.
40. Ask out your crush
If you've done your homework, and you've been chatting with your crush for a while already, give it a good old fashioned try and ask them out. If they say no, you may develop strength to ask another person with less fear.
41. Go to a concert
Whether big or small, when you hear live music, it can really touch your heart or rev you up in excitement. Once you've got the bug for it, you may find that one concert turns into many.
42. Attend prom
Trust us, you don’t need a date. All you need is party attire and a group of friends. Besides, the chances to get dressed up for fun don’t happen very often later on in life, so take advantage of them now.
43. Attend every away game
There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes with traveling outside of town when you’re young. If you’ve got a car or a friend with one, grab the opportunity by the wheel and go cheer on your home team with a carload of friends.
44. Letter in band/orchestra
To letter in orchestra or band, you’ll have to fill out a form that says you’ve participated in events throughout the year. Here are some things you’ll have to do:
- State band/orchestra participation
- Participation in music festivals
- Taking private lessons
- Joining community events
- Be in good standing with your classroom activities
45. Compete at the science fair
You may not just be a whiz at science, but it may be in your blood. See what science fairs and competitions are available So, what’s next? Stay after and ask her how to start preparing now. This will require some extra work, but you already know that.
46. Set up a flash mob
Have you ever watched one of these online and thought they looked like fun? Then, put one together. It could be you and a few friends and building it organically, or you can post an event online to bring everyone together. Apart from learning the choreography, it can be a fairly simple process.
This is what you’ll need:
- A sound person
47. Go on a ski trip
Do your friends snowboard, but you don’t? There’s so much more for you to do at a ski hill than just that.
If you’ve got the money, check out cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, or even sitting in the chalet with a good book. Never let an opportunity to have an adventure go wasted.
Want more inspiration? Read our guide on adventure bucket list items for more ideas.
48. Go to parties
Socializing outside of school is how people get to know you as a person, but they also open the door for some missteps. So, go with trusted friends and have each other’s backs. No one says you have to stay if it’s not your scene.
49. First kiss
No explanation needed, right? As always, make sure it is consensual, and consider saving something from that day for your time capsule idea.
50. Letter in a sport
Each sport in high school has a different set of requirements, but you’ll for sure have to be on the varsity team for a percentage of the events. Even if you’re already on the varsity team, take the time to improve your stats. Better yet, help someone else with theirs.
51. Find a mentor
Your school guidance counselor has many untapped resources when it comes to helping you succeed in life. If you find that you're interested in photography, law, medicine or even funeral directing, then make an appointment with the counselor sooner than later.
Pro-tip: Start early and try out a few areas of interest. That way, you can breeze through prerequisites once you get to college.
Self-Discovery on Your Bucket List
Defining yourself as unique is the hardest part of being young because all you want to do is fit in. But remember, everything you write on your list puts you in a room with people who feel the same kinds of insecurities.
When you make a habit of trying new things, you may find an underlying bravery that is unstoppable, enabling you to live your life to the fullest.