The 10 Best Podcasts for High School Students
June 24, 2020
The 10 Best Podcasts for High School Students
In my opinion, podcasts are one of the best and easiest ways to absorb information and learn about new topics. As the host of three podcasts, I’m particularly excited to suggest the best podcasts for high school students. I may be biased, but the ease and versatility of podcasts is unmatched. One of the best things about podcasts is that you can listen to them while doing almost anything - homework, cleaning, commuting, the list goes on. As a high schooler, you’re extremely busy! You might not have time to sit down and read an entire book or watch a documentary, but you certainly have time to listen to a 30-minute podcast while you ride the bus to school or even as you play Animal Crossing.
In the recommendations below, I hope you find something that piques your interest and becomes your new educational background noise
These podcasts follow the exact same format: in each episode, a native Spanish or French speaker tells a true story in their language. These stories are meant to be easily understood by listeners with intermediate language skills. That said, an English narration is also given along the way in case you get lost!
Almost all high schools (and universities) have a foreign language requirement for their students. At many institutions, Spanish and French are some of the most popular language options. When I was studying French in school, one of the things I struggled with the most was listening comprehension. That’s why I’m including Duolingo in this list of best podcasts for high school students. It’s a low-stress and fun way to practice your comprehension skills outside of the classroom! With each episode being only around 20 minutes long, it won’t take up too much of your time.
Other than your AP Psychology class, there may not be many opportunities for you to engage with psychology topics in high school. So if you’re thinking about pursuing an undergraduate psychology program, or if you just find psych interesting, you may be looking for new ways to learn about this social science field.
Luckily, there’s a ton of information online including the NPR podcast Hidden Brain. This podcast has been hosted by journalist Shankar Vedantam since 2010, so there are a lot of episodes to choose from. Hidden Brain focuses on how the unconscious mind impacts human behavior. Topics have included test-taking, loneliness, attention, and marriage. Not only will this podcast teach you about psychology, but it also might teach you something about yourself and those around you.
Inside the Admissions Office: Advice from Former Admissions Officers
I couldn’t possibly recommend a list of the best podcasts for high school students without mentioning the show I host for InGenius Prep! Though “admissions” is in the title, Inside the Admissions Office: Advice from Former Admissions Officers is a great resource to listen to even before you start applying to colleges.
Every other week, I interview a Former Admissions Officer or admissions expert from InGenius Prep about succeeding in high school and the college admissions process. My guests pull from their own experiences as students and as evaluators of thousands of college applications to give advice to current high school students.
Episodes not only cover admissions components like the personal statement or letters of recommendation, but also topics like summer plans, internships, and high school course selection.
Overheard at National Geographic
National Geographic is a household name, especially for those who love science and nature. Nat Geo might be best known for their magazine or their new shows on Disney+, but they also have a podcast!
Overheard at National Geographic is definitely one of the best podcasts for high school students, especially for those who are fascinated by the world around them. Each week, hosts Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs are joined by a scientist, photographer, or explorer to discuss a conversation they overheard at the National Geographic headquarters. Because National Geographic covers such a wide variety of issues, the podcast is very diverse. Some episodes cover more historical topics such as the judicial papyrus of Turin while some, like the episode “The Frozen Zoo,” may be more interesting to science-oriented students.
You probably spend a lot of your time on the internet, which is why I’m including Reply All on this list of best podcasts for high school students. Reply All is all about the internet. Each episode discusses an internet story of the week and what it says about modern life.
Reply All’s episodes are as insightful as they are fun. The show has covered topics from Snapchat hacking all the way to the classic “30-50 feral hogs” meme. Under the guise of an entertaining show, Reply All has the capacity to teach all of its listeners (from you to your parents!) about the ways of the internet and how it can be used for both good and for evil.
Since so many high schoolers are interested in medicine, I had to include a medical podcast in this list of best podcasts for high school students. Hosted by podcast savant Justin McElroy and Dr. Sydney McElroy, Sawbones provides listeners with “a marital tour of misguided medicine.” There are obviously many to choose from, but I selected Sawbones because it is informative and entertaining.
Each week, Justin and Sydney choose an odd medical practice from the past such as lobotomies or garlic medicine, and analyze it from a modern lens. In recent episodes, they have also covered timely topics such as the Coronavirus and vaccines. If you’re thinking about going the pre-med route in college, this podcast is an excellent opportunity to get knowledge and insights straight from a doctor.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
While the previous recommendation is mostly geared towards STEM students, this one is for all of the humanities and history lovers. Stuff You Missed in History Class is the perfect podcast if you’re a history buff or someone who just loves a good story.
In each episode, co-hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey discuss moments in history that your teacher probably didn’t cover in AP US History or World History. Topics have included the history of beekeeping, makeup in Ancient Egypt, and Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree. As you can see from these few examples, this show has something for everyone.
Stuff You Should Know
No podcast recommendation list would be complete without Stuff You Should Know. This podcast covers topics in every area of interest, which makes it the perfect place to start if you’re new to podcasts.
Three times a week, Stuff You Should Know educates listeners on topics chosen by hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant. Josh and Chuck do their own research and provide listeners with a basic, preliminary understanding of the topic.
Episodes cover everything from peanut butter to Barbies to mullets to pinball. Whether you’re just a curious person or you have a specific area that you’d like to learn more about, Stuff You Should Know is sure to fit that need.
TED Talks Daily
Whether you watched one for a class or because you needed a bit of motivation, chances are you’ve seen a TED Talk. TED Talks are short, impactful, and full of information straight from experts and world leaders. That said, you might not always have time to sit down and watch a full talk.
That’s why I included TED Talks Daily on this list of best podcasts for high school students. Every weekday, TED Talks Daily posts the audio from the best TED talks, both new and old. Rather than searching through YouTube or the TED website to find the best talks, you can now just open your favorite podcast app and find a curated list. The episodes can range from 5 to 30 minutes long, which makes them perfect to listen to before school or between classes.
When to Jump
My final podcast recommendation is for anyone who has an entrepreneurial mind or big dreams. When to Jump is hosted by Mike Lewis, a man who quit his day job to become a professional squash player. In each episode, Mike interviews guests about when they took their own leaps of faith. With topics from starting a business to going back to school to becoming a professional poker player, this podcast investigates when you should take risks and how you can make them pay off. This show is sure to be inspirational for any high schooler who is second-guessing themselves or isn’t sure how to turn their dreams into a reality.
And there you have it! My top 10 recommendations of the best podcasts for high school students. If you don’t find any of these podcasts interesting, don’t worry; there are thousands of other shows out there! All it takes is a quick search on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and you’re sure to find a podcast that you love. Happy listening!