Tips To Help Teenagers Who Don't Like School

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated April 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Middle and high school can represent a difficult time in a person’s life, which can lead many kids to say “I hate school!”. 

This phase comes with changes in lots of different areas, and the pressure to fit in and achieve the success that many teenagers experience can make it even harder. There are a variety of reasons you may not like school, whether they’re social, academic, or otherwise, but there are almost always steps you can take to make your environment more manageable.

Looking for support with problems at school?

5 reasons you might not like school, plus five solutions to try

Depending on your age, you may still have several years of middle school or high school ahead of you. If you’re unhappy with a particular aspect, some of the following tips might be useful. Let’s take a look at common reasons teenagers don’t like school along with a strategy that may help improve each one.

1. You’re feeling overwhelmed

If school feels overwhelming, you’re not alone. Many teenagers find themselves with packed schedules. From classes and homework to extracurricular activities and even part-time jobs, many students want to escape back to summer. Add time for relaxation and hanging out with friends, and you might be fully booked. If what you have on your plate is truly too much, you might speak with your parents, a guidance counselor, or a therapist about what you may be able to reasonably cut from your agenda. 

It may also help to try out some new organizational tactics. Keeping a physical planner can be helpful, since you can see your weeks and months at a glance so you can plan ahead. There are plenty of planning apps for your phone that are available, too. You might also try color-coding your materials for different classes, setting phone reminders for important dates and assignments, focusing on one thing at a time instead of multitasking, getting into a reliable routine, and getting enough sleep. These are all strategies that might help you keep things organized and running smoothly.

2. You hate getting up early

In general, teenagers need more sleep than the average adult because their bodies and brains are still growing. If you’re having trouble waking up during the semester anymore, it’s not your brother or sister’s fault--you may not be getting enough rest each night. Aiming for at least eight or nine hours is typically recommended. If you have trouble getting good sleep, you can try a few different strategies for establishing better sleep habits. Examples include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and sleeping in a dark, quiet room that’s at a good temperature. It may also help to limit your screen time, especially before bed. Research suggests that more smartphone use correlates with poorer sleep outcomes in teenagers especially, so putting your phone down at least an hour or two before bed may be beneficial.

iStock/SDI Productions

3. You have test anxiety

Test-taking can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for people at various types of schools, whether you find the source material interesting or not. Depending on your school district, most exams test knowledge in one, specific way, which can mean that people with different learning styles may need to improve regardless of their grasp of the subjects. There can also be a lot of pressure from teachers or parents associated with getting good grades. If test anxiety is making it hard for you to like school, there are a few things you can try. First, learning some deep breathing exercises may help you keep yourself calm and focused when going into an exam. Next, you could meet with a tutor who can evaluate your studying and test-taking habits and help you find ways to remember what was discussed in your lectures. Finally, you can ask your teachers for accommodations if you have specific needs around test-taking. They may be able to grant you extra time or let you take the test in a quieter setting.

4. You’re being bullied

According to the CDC, about one in five high school students report being bullied at public school in the past year, and about one in six reports being bullied online. Bullying is serious, and it can cause long-term fear and have a negative impact on you in both the short and the long term. That’s why seeking help is so important. According to, telling the bully to stop in a calm, clear voice can be effective in some cases. If you’re at risk for physical harm, however, walking away and finding an adult who can help is best. You may also want to speak with a teacher or counselor you can trust to help prevent future instances of bullying.

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

iStock/SDI Productions
Looking for support with problems at school?

5. You’re experiencing anxiety or depression

If you’re facing certain mental health challenges, it can be difficult to enjoy, do well in, or even go to school. At this age, anxiety can manifest as concerns about all kinds of things, from your academic performance, social life, and appearance to your future plans or family situation at home, to name a few. This combined with a poor diet full of junk food can point to symptoms such as trouble concentrating, irritability, sleep problems, recurring fears and worries, and extreme self-consciousness. When it comes to depression, symptoms in children and teenagers can include crying spells, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, feeling easily frustrated, and low self-esteem. If you feel you may have a mental illness like anxiety or depression, there is help available. Doctors, a school counselor, or a licensed therapist can help you manage symptoms so that you can feel and function better at school and in other parts of your life.

No matter what grade you are in, facing all the challenges that middle and high school may offer can be difficult. However, you don’t have to do it alone. A therapist can listen, help to explain what is happening and provide you with a safe, nonjudgmental space where you can talk about what’s bothering you at school.

Ashante Webb, LMHC
Ashante is amazing. She helps me accept things I have trouble moving on with. She has helped me with strategies to overcome issues I have with school and life. I feel comforted and not judged at all when talking with her.”

They can help provide you with a lesson for building self-confidence, decreasing anxiety, developing a sense of self, keeping yourself organized, and enjoying your budding sense of freedom. Talking about these topics with a professional can provide support and guidance for whatever you’re going through, and they may also identify and offer treatment for any mental health disorders you might be experiencing.

You can speak with a mental health professional in person or online. Research suggests that online and in-person therapy offer similar benefits, so you can choose the method that works better for you. If you’re interested in the online format, a virtual therapy platform may be worth considering. BetterHelp is one option for online therapy for those 18 and older. It will match you with a licensed therapist who you can speak with via phone, video call, and/or online chat from your house. TeenCounseling offers the same services but to those between the ages of 13 and 19, with parental consent. 

Regardless of your age or the therapy format you feel most comfortable with, know that there is support available to you as you face whatever challenges you may have in front of you at school.


If you hate school, figuring out the main reasons for feeling this way can pay off in the long run. The tips provided in this article are backed by science and may help you address these feelings. For those experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition or who simply want a safe place to process their emotions and get nonjudgmental support, meeting with a therapist can be helpful too.
Learn to cope with the challenges of adolescence
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started