Best Advice for High School Graduates from Successful People

Best Advice for High School Graduates from Successful People

Graduating from high school is a huge accomplishment – but it’s just the beginning. As you enter the next chapter of your life, it’s important to learn from those who have come before you. That’s why we researched advice from successful people and curated their best advice for high school graduates.

In this article, you will find work-life facts and statistics, as well as 15 pieces of advice for graduating seniors from some of the most successful people in the world. We also answer some frequently asked questions, so you can be prepared for whatever comes your way. Congratulations on your graduation – now let’s get started!

Advice for Graduates – Importance

A study discovered that almost 60% of teenagers plan to enroll in a 4-year college after graduating from high school. Considering this figure, it’s only suitable to prepare advice for graduating seniors.

Let’s see why it’s essential to have advice for high school graduates going to college. We’ve presented 3 points on the importance of advising the graduate here.

  • Having advice for graduating seniors (from high school) helps them make smart career choices. For example, when searching for jobs immediately after high school or choosing a course to study in a tertiary institution.
  • Providing advice to the graduate helps them become better in society. They’ll see the world at large—not just their immediate communities—as their target for making an impact.

Work-Life Facts and Statistics

Your advice for graduates could be centered on work-life balance. Given that, let’s look at some work-life facts and statistics which you can use as references for your advice to the graduate.

  1. A little over 70% of people place importance on work-life balance when looking for a job.
  2. Almost 95% of service professionals work 50 hours weekly.
  3. Almost 50% of people believe they are workaholics in nature.
  4. About 70% of working-class people are trying to switch jobs.
  5. Almost 40% of people switch careers because of better pay.
  6. Almost 80% of people think that flexible jobs improve work-life balance.
  7. A little over 30% of people believe that the most significant merit of remote work is schedule flexibility.

Advice for High School Graduates

We have 15 pieces of advice for high school graduates from successful people in this section. They’re mostly advice for college graduates or university graduates, but they’re helpful advice to high school graduates as well.

1. Advice for High School Graduates from Barack Obama

Barack Obama addressed the high school graduating set of 2020 in a commencement speech delivered via a recorded video. The theme for the event was Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020.

Former US President Obama gave the following pieces of advice to high school graduates about what the time entails:

  • It marks their passage into adulthood
  • They have to decide to take charge of their own lives
  • They have to know what’s essential to their lives
  • Knowing the values they want to live by
  • They should be prepared to face difficulties in getting jobs

He went further to tell them to do what they feel is right, not to be afraid, and to build a community. In addition, they should try to make an impact with help from others.

2. Advice for Graduates from Donald Trump

In his first commencement address as President of the United States in 2017, Donald Trump advised the graduates of Liberty University by telling the following:

  • Fight for your beliefs
  • Nothing worth doing ever came easy
  • Challenge failed systems
  • Follow your convictions
  • Be willing to face criticisms
  • Nothing is impossible, and whatever seems so should be seen as a motivation

3. Advice for Graduates from Michelle Obama

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a commencement address to 2013 graduates at Eastern Kentucky University in its EKU Alumni Coliseum in Richmond, Kentucky.

She advised them to maintain the same commitment they had when they did volunteer work in 2012. Other key points to pick from her advice for graduates include the following:

  • You can find ways to serve anywhere you find yourself
  • Be a mentor to kids
  • Be a volunteer
  • You can donate

4. Advice to High School Graduates from Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates encouraged the US graduating class of 2020 to think about their roles in society no matter the size—big or small—and contribute to bettering the world. The speech also included the following points:

  • Your voice and vote should be used to effect change
  • Insist on having government policies that facilitate an enabling environment for the improvement of the lives of people.

5. Oprah Winfrey’s Advice to High School Graduates

Oprah Winfrey was invited to talk to the class of 2020 graduates in a YouTube event hosted by John Krasinki. It was one of the episodes of his show—Some Good News. The setting was a one-on-one moment with one of the graduates via teleconferencing. Winfrey told graduates to learn from failure and take a different path when they experience it.

6. Mark Zuckerberg’s Advice for Graduates

Mark Zuckerberg spoke to Harvard’s 2017 graduates, telling them that it’s not enough to find the purpose of their lives but also to build a platform where everybody can find their purpose. He described purpose in his advice for college graduates as something more than the individual. He talked more on purpose by stating the following:

  • The purpose is a feeling that you’re relevant in society
  • Purpose promises a brighter future
  • Having a purpose is necessary to achieve real happiness

Going further with his advice for graduates, Zuckerberg told them to do the following:

  • Overcome their fears when trying to achieve goals
  • Be there for others and help them financially
  • Grow a community

7. J.K. Rowling’s Advice for College Graduates

In her 2008 Harvard University graduation commencement address, J.K. Rowling said that she learned to understand herself and her relationships better through difficult situations.

8. Advice for Graduating Seniors from Female Rapper Cardi B

Cardi B spoke to the US graduating class of 2020 at a Facebook-hosted virtual event. She told them to do the following:

  • Take classes that will be of benefit to them in the future
  • Build careers around what can give them the kind of money and lifestyle they want.

9. Advice for Graduating Seniors from Apple CEO Tim Cook

In his advice to the 2020 graduate class of Ohio State University, Tim Cook told them to think and act like new individuals. His words were a reminder that they can’t fulfill their individual destinies without the help of others.

Cook encouraged them to seek the building of an improved life that’s even more desirable than the goals they set. He told his audience that they could choose to feel defeated or thankful whenever things aren’t going well in their lives.

10. Advice for Graduating High School Seniors from Lebron James

Lebron James had the following advice for high school graduates while hosting an episode of Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020:

  • Students shouldn’t forget those teachers, coaches, and others that helped them through high school
  • They should help in building their communities
  • They should strive to achieve every life goal.

11. Suitable Advice for Highschool Graduates from Jeff Bezos

While addressing the Princeton Class of 2012, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that cleverness is a gift, while kindness is a choice. Those are a few words, but they hit hard.

12. Advice for College Graduates from Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill had these words to say on finding courage against fear while addressing Harrow School Graduates in 1941 during the Second World War:

  • Nobody can tell how things will turn out from how they appear
  • You need imagination to do a lot and see many more dangers
  • You need to be courageous to use your imagination effectively

13. Advice for College Graduates from Apple Founder Steve Jobs to Stanford Class of 2005

This is considered a famous commencement speech. He stated the following:

  • Your life will always fall into place as long as you trust in something
  • Go for what you love

14. Steven Spielberg to Harvard Graduates during the University’s 2016 Commencement

Movie director Steven Spielberg said some things that can count as great advice to high school graduates. He told the graduates to work together to create a world without hatred.

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg Speech | Harvard Commencement 2016

15. Suitable Advice to High School Graduates from John F. Kennedy’s Address at American University in 1963

Former US president Kennedy said that human problems are man-made; therefore, they can be solved by man. He encouraged the graduates to work towards world peace.

Best Ways to Develop Your Work-Life

We suggest a few courses and articles on career development.

Courses on Career Development

The following are online courses that will help you achieve better career growth:

Description: This Coursera course is suitable for students of every professional level who want to boost their careers, become better professionals, and understand the best networking practices.

Description: This Coursera course is for students seeking to learn the correct use of English in a professional workplace or business communication.

Description: This Udemy course is designed for students wishing to learn networking skills, effective job searching, interview skills, resume development, career opportunity creation, and more online.

Description: This Udemy course title is self-explanatory as students will develop presentation skills and have a good understanding of the use of business English.

Description: This Teachable course will help you grow as a freelancer by developing business automation, project packaging, and self-marketing skills.

Articles Related to Skill Development

The following are Positive Worklife posts that will show you how to develop various skills:

Description: This guide will show you that lifelong learning is a skill that should be learned and a principle that should be practiced for a lifetime.

Description: Boost your creativity by reading this comprehensive post which includes a variety of examples of creative thinking.


What is the smartest thing to do after high school?

Many people might say the smartest thing to do after high school is to go to college. However, there are many paths that can lead to a successful future. We think the most important thing is to find your passion, develop your skills in it, and enjoy your life.

What is the best advice for high school graduates?

The best advice for high school graduates is to never give up on your dreams. Pursue your passions and work hard to achieve your goals. Be grateful for what you have and always stay positive, even when times are tough. Life is full of surprises and opportunities, so make the most of every day!

How do you cope with life after high school?

There are a lot of changes that come with graduating from high school and entering the adult world. It can be tough to cope with all of the new challenges and responsibilities, but it’s important to stay positive and keep moving forward. Here are a few tips on how to cope with life after high school:
– Stay focused on your goals and don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams.
– Stay positive and optimistic, even when things get tough.
– Be patient and don’t expect things to happen overnight.
– Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.
– Be grateful for what you have and never take anything for granted.
– Live each day to the fullest and enjoy your life!

Related Articles:


The 15 pieces of advice for high school graduates given earlier are enough for you to make great improvements in your work-life. Take advantage of the online courses on career development suggested in this guide.

Now you have an idea of the best advice for high school graduates based on what was stated in the FAQs section. It won’t only be useful advice for graduating seniors—but also to parents, guardians, public speakers, mentors, life coaches, therapists, guidance counselors, and so on that are giving advice to the graduate.

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