Why High School Students Should Watch TED Talks — NS College Consulting (2023)

Spending so much time at home may have you feeling eager to experience something new again. Though you may find yourself unable to leave the safety of your home, TED Talks are a great way to discover new ideas and learn something new in a quick and fun manner.

TED, an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, hosts conferences where experts in various fields present on interesting and cutting-edge topics. Aptly named “TED Talks”, these presentations are no more than 18 minutes long but are packed with information. Each presentation is meant to inspire and challenge audience members to think about challenging and creative topics in new ways. Leaders from across industries and academic disciplines deliver thought provoking talks that you can easily access for free from the comfort of your home!

If you are looking for an easy, affordable, and safe way to expand your thinking on topics you may (or may not have) heard of, TED Talks are perfect for you! Today we are suggesting some of our favorite talks and outlining the top ten reasons that you should be tuning into TED Talks as a high school student.

One - They Will Teach You Something

Each time you listen to a TED Talk, you will discover something new. There are truly hundreds of talks that have been done by experts like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, or James Cameron. TED Talks cover an entire range of ideas, some of which you may be aware of, while others will teach you something you may have never considered before.

Unlike the clickbait you may come across on the internet, these talks highlight innovative and intriguing ideas backed by experts in the field. It is very likely that you will come across an idea or topic that you have never considered before. Chances are, some of the topics may seem completely obscure, but TED carefully selects charismatic lecturers to help ensure you that the information you are getting is reliable.

Two - They Inspire Conversation

Conversation is the root of how we communicate as humans. After you listen to your first TED talk, it is likely that you will be fascinated by how eloquently the speakers are able to present their ideas. Noticing how these experts express their thoughts is a great resource for refining your own public speaking skills. Listening to highly trained professionals speak provides fantastic examples of how to present information to others in a succinct and articulate way.

In fact, you may discover that you want to share some of your newfound knowledge with your friends and family. TED carefully selects presenters and topics that will spark conversations amongst listeners.

Three - They Provide Motivation

Many TED Talks come from presenters who have overcome incredible odds to achieve incredible goals or inspire change in the world. It is likely that you will experience this within the first couple of talks you tune into. Hearing their stories will motivate you to reevaluate your personal goals and set new ones that may challenge you more than you would have previously thought.

A great time to tune into TED Talks is when you are finishing up or beginning your day. These short videos provide inspiration to start your day off on the right foot or help close out your day the right way. Since these talks are shorter than most podcasts, you can easily listen to them through your headphones while in traffic or on the bus to get a quick dose of motivation.

Additionally, watching these TED Talks will also inspire you to pursue your personal passions and academics with confidence. Hearing these experts share how they followed their own passions will leave you feeling excited to chase after your own!

Four - They Provide Awesome Advice

If you are looking for quick advice, TED Talks are a fantastic option! One of the best TED Talks to listen to is Amy Cuddy’s “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. Her talk teaches listeners how to exude confidence in their daily lives. Cuddy takes time to show her “power pose”, which she discovered to boost confidence during a tense or stressful time. Cuddy’s video is just one example of many different talks that can provide advice for any questions you may have or difficult situations you are facing.

Five - They Will Expand Your Perspective

TED Talks are jam packed with knowledge to challenge and expand your perspective. Tuning into talks about topics or ideas you have never considered causes you to apply what you learn to the circumstances in your own life. Applying what you learn from TED Talks may also help you discover that you may not always know what you are talking about. Instead, these presentations teach you to listen first and then consider the information presented to you before drawing any sort of conclusion. This is a life skill that will last you long past your high school days and will benefit you for years to come.

Six - They Will Improve Your Skills

Listening to TED Talks can help you improve the skills you will need either in high school or need to adopt in order to be successful in college. TED Talks can teach you about how to think critically about new or difficult information which is a skill that will benefit you almost immediately. Listening to experts present can also help you grow as a leader by providing you with advice about how to lead others and yourself with confidence.

Additionally, TED Talks can help you get a head start in learning how to think, act, and approach a difficult or uncertain situation in a professional and mature way. This skill will be very important to rely on in college and will help to maximize your academic and personal experience in college.

Seven - They Provide Content for Everyone

Once you begin to explore the vast topics covered by TED speakers, you will quickly discover that there is truly something for everyone! TED presentations may discuss topics similar to your own passions or interests, but it is likely that you will discover something you have never considered before. When TED speakers propose their ideas, there are very few rules as to what can and cannot be covered. This helps create content that ranges from deep sea exploration to how rats have been taught to detect landmines. There is truly something for everyone!

Eight - They Will Help You Explore New Ideas

It is no secret that you have a lot going on in high school. From class to homework to juggling your extracurricular activities or a job, you may find that you don’t have spare time to explore new subjects. Yet, TED Talks can provide bite sized introductions into new ideas or subjects you had not heard of before.

Finding ways to learn during your free time will help you grow as a student and as a person! To fit TED Talks into your busy days, consider listening to them during your passing periods, on your commute to and from school, or during your lunch break. These videos will inspire you to leverage your spare time to think critically about very complex ideas.

Nine - They Appeal to Global Citizens

As a current high school student, you are more open to and aware of global and political events occurring in the US and abroad. Your ability to connect with other individuals across the world through social media makes you more aware of the world around you. TED Talks help fuel your global citizenship by helping you become more educated and connected than ever before.

Often, TED Talks can help inform you and increase your empathy for your fellow global citizens by understanding the world outside of our US borders. Having this skill is critically important when you begin college as it will help you relate to other students and build lasting relationships.

Ten - They Will Prepare You for Life After High School

Once you enter college, you will quickly discover that you will be faced with questions and ideas that you had never thought of before. This is one of the greatest aspects of the college experience, but it can be intimidating or flat out fear-inducing if you are not accustomed to pressing your limits! Thankfully, TED Talks will expose you to ideas that will challenge you and in turn require you to apply them to your own life.


Tuning into a TED Talk is not only a great way to learn, but to stay sharp and prepare for your life after high school in 18 minutes or less. Ready to start listening? For you, we have compiled a list of some great TED Talks to get started with:

What Your Grades Really Mean by Eva Ren

The Secret to Student Success by Arel Moodie

The Power of Believing That You Can Improve by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University

Everyday Leadership by Drew Dudley

The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator by Tim Urban

The Key to Success? Grit. by Angela Lee Duckworth

How to Speak So That People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure

How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed by Daniel Levitin

Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career by Larry Smith

For more TED Talks, visit www.ted.com.

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