25 Of The Best Songs About Going Back To School

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Going back to school can be nerve-wracking. The early mornings, the impromptu tests, and that one teacher always on your neck are exhausting.

You have to get your education, so you might as well get yourself pumped up about going. And what better way to get yourself ready for the semester than music?

Whether you dread the early mornings, crowded classrooms, or the first day of college, you can find a song to set the mood. Now let’s look at 25 of the best songs about going back to school.

1. “What I Go To School For” By Jonas Brothers

It seems fitting to start our list by answering this question first: Why do you go to school? Ideally, everyone goes to school to get an education and acquire essential skills to make it through life. However, we all have separate ‘real’ reasons why we leave bed every morning to go to school.

That’s the theme for “What I Go to School For,” as envisioned by the Jonas Brothers. The song is about a guy with a massive crush on a girl in her senior year of high school. He goes to school every day hoping she will notice him and win her over, which he eventually does.

School may be terrible, but if you have a crush, you may just have found a reason to keep going. This song could be the inspiration you need to prepare your backpack for the semester.

2. “I’m Just A Kid” By Simple Plan

School can be lonely, especially if you don’t have friends and no one understands you. As a result, some people dread going back to school since it revives these feelings of loneliness.

Who wants to be in a place where they have no friends and are constantly under pressure anyway? If you are one of those people, “I’m Just a Kid” by Simple Plan is for you.

The song is about a kid who feels like he is on his own and no one cares. He could be an outcast at school. He doesn’t fit in, so while everyone is at a party somewhere, he is at home all alone.

3. “You Belong With Me” By Taylor Swift

Here’s one fact when you go to school: having a crush makes it bearable. You may dread attending your Math class. But you’ll definitely look forward to seeing that special someone.

Taylor Swift gives a glimpse of what it’s like in “You Belong with Me.” It’s about a girl who has a huge crush on a guy at her school but is too shy to tell him. She thinks he’s way out of her league and he has a girlfriend anyway.

The girl can’t help comparing herself to his girlfriend. The other girl is sexy and a cheer captain, whereas she doesn’t like getting made-up and prefers wearing T-shirts. However, the girl knows that she can understand him better than anyone else. It’s a happy ending for both of them.

4. “Teenagers” By My Chemical Romance

Up next on the list is a classic. If you have the jitters about returning to school, listen to “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance. It might give you the confidence you need to get back to the system and have a great semester.

You’ll understand the song more when you watch the music video set in a high school auditorium. The band sings about how teenagers are fed with lessons from books and hopefully become upright members of society.

The song has a rebellious punk rock feel as the band tackles the relationship between society and teenagers. Despite the rebellious undertone, it might just be the pick-me-up you need to get you psyched up for school.

5. “Education” By The Kinks

Our list continues with the classic hit song by the Kinks, “Education.” The lyrics tell the story of a lonesome uneducated caveman who spends his time chewing meat from bones. He has no friends and cannot communicate. All he does is groan.

However, after getting an education, the primitive man learns to speak and makes friends. He learns to live off the land and builds a house where he lives with his friends. Life becomes so much easier and bearable for him.

You can listen to “Education” whenever you feel like you’re losing perspective on why you go to school. It could just be the motivation you need.

6. “High School Never Ends” By Bowling For Soup

Your high school years may be a period you just want to fly by so you can graduate and get it over with. After all, it’s supposed to get better after high school. “High School Never Ends” by Bowling for Soup perfectly describes this feeling.

The song is about how the band members are eager to complete high school but soon find out life is the same after graduation. The world still has the equivalents of your high school chess team captain, quarterback, and prom queen.

So indeed, high school never ends. And when you think about it, the song applies to high school, college, work and even life in general. Despite the lyrics and the message, it reminds us to just enjoy life.

7. “Too Cool For School” By Fountains of Wayne

Despite the title of this song, it can make you excited to go back to school. Fountains of Wayne‘s “Too Cool for School” is perfect to listen to for those morning walks to class.

The song is about a fashionable young man who oozes confidence. Everyone loves and envies him because he is too cool to be in school, as the title suggests. It’s the character we all wish we could be.

The school opening season approaches. It’s nice to have this song on your playlist to give you the confidence to start your semester.

8. “Young Dumb And Broke” By Khalid

At one point, we experience being “Young Dumb & Broke.” This 2017 song by Khalid perfectly describes what we are in high school. It’s an almost painful description of this part of our lives.

It’s not to say that we shouldn’t enjoy being in high school. There are a lot of people who had or have the best time of their lives, and that’s what the song depicts.

Khalid perfectly describes high school’s fun and sad parts. You get to hang out with friends during breaks and you have the opportunity to form lifetime bonds. And if you are a romantic, you can find love. Despite being young, dumb, and broke, you can have a blast.

9. “Dance, Dance” By Fall Out Boy

Going back to school isn’t all about hitting the books. It also means there are upcoming dances to be excited about. Homecoming perhaps? “Dance, Dance” by Fall Out Boy perfectly describes this part of the school.

The song is about exactly what the title alludes to: a dance. In the music video, three high school misfits have a hard time during the semester. But when it’s time for the homecoming dance, they outshine the cool kids.

Some people may relate to this more than others, especially the ones who feel like they don’t fit in. But imagine what confidence can do. So get your groove on and jam to this tune as the back-to-school season approaches.

10. “Cool Kids” By Echosmith

Back-to-school season means people regroup in their usual cocoons. There are nerds, emos, weebs, jocks, and of course, the cool kids. This song by Echosmith perfectly explains how these social dynamics work.

“Cool Kids” more or less shows a dark part of the school. There are the popular students. Then there are the misfits. And there is this huge gap separating them.

The ones who do not fit in might feel envious, just like the girl and the guy in the lyrics who feel invisible and want to be noticed. If you are about to resume school, this song can prepare you for what you are about to encounter.

11. “Campus” By Vampire Weekend

Released in 2008, “Campus” by Vampire Weekend revolves around college life and the emotions associated with it. The song’s setting is a college campus – hence the title – and tells a story of unrequited love or an awkward encounter with an ex.

The lyrics find the narrator seeing someone he knows while “walking ‘cross the campus.” She could be an ex, a crush, or perhaps someone he’s familiar with. Whatever the case, he describes the person as a “cruel professor, studying romances.”

In relation to going back to school, “Campus” embodies the experiences and memories that come with returning to an educational institution. It’s about revisiting a place that holds significant memories.

12. “Be True To Your School” By The Beach Boys

School spirit and loyalty are what “Be True to Your School” is all about. The Beach Boys released this song in 1963 from their album Little Deuce Coupe. This upbeat song that mentions school promotes pride in one’s educational institution.

This song serves as a reminder of the friendships, unity, and sense of belonging that schools foster. The lyrics reference school pride, with the narrator urging listeners to “be true to your school now / Just like you would to your girl or guy.”

The aforementioned lyrics suggest that one’s allegiance to their school should be as unwavering as their loyalty to their partner.

13. “Fifteen” By Taylor Swift

In “Fifteen,” Taylor Swift recalls her experiences and lessons learned during her freshman year of high school. It includes the challenges and self-discovery that come with adolescence and the transition to high school.

The lyrics open with the narrator on her first day of freshman year. She meets friends whom she hasn’t seen in a while and wishes for a senior boy to notice her.

“Fifteen” mirrors the emotions that students feel with going back to school. It’s about dealing with new friendships and romantic relationships, even heartbreaks, and learning life lessons.

14. “Hot For Teacher” By Van Halen

You have to admit, going back to school is more interesting when you have a teacher to crush on. Van Halen‘s “Hot for Teacher” captures this sentiment perfectly. It’s about a common adolescent fantasy: being attracted to an attractive teacher.

“Hot for Teacher” is a cheeky nod to the hormonal changes that accompany adolescence. It reflects common distractions within the school environment, particularly when students develop crushes on their teachers.

In essence, “Hot for Teacher” is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek take on a high school scenario. It reflects Van Halen’s playful spirit and captures the essence of their rock and roll persona.

15. “School Of Rock (Teacher’s Pet)” By The Original Broadway Cast Of School Of Rock

Up next is “School of Rock (Teacher’s Pet)” by The Original Broadway Cast of School of Rock. This energetic song talks about the power of music and self-expression in a school setting.

The song was inspired by the 2003 film School of Rock. It’s about an unconventional substitute teacher who introduces his class to the world of rock ‘n’ roll.

When it comes to going back to school, the song highlights the potential for schools to be a place of discovery and growth. The song encourages students to embrace their unique talents, even if they’re different from what’s typically accepted in a school environment.

16. “School” By Supertramp

At its core, Supertramp‘s “School” is a critical commentary on the education system. This is the opening track to their 1974 album, Crime of the Century.

The song presents school as a place that enforces conformity. The school also stifles individuality rather than promoting learning and personal growth. “School” claims that teachers demand “don’t do this and don’t do that” and students must not criticize them because “they’re old and wise.”

“School” might resonate with students who feel pressured to fit into certain molds or follow expectations. At the same time, it encourages people to challenge norms.

17. “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” By TIMBUK3

It’s refreshing to find a song that presents an optimistic view of the future. “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by TIMBUK3 was released in 1986 from the album Greetings from Timbuk3.

The song is an anthem for students who are enthusiastic about their studies and look forward to the opportunities that education brings. It follows the story of a student studying nuclear science who is excited about the prospects that the field of study offers.

Overall, the song encapsulates the excitement and opportunities that come with pursuing education. It reminds us to consider the possibilities offered by education as we prepare for our future.

18. “High School Musical” By High School Musical Cast

High school can be a source of wonderful and significant experiences, as depicted in “High School Musical.” The High School Musical Cast sings about the excitement, challenges, friendships, and personal growth that high school offers.

This track offers an idealized version of high school life. It is filled with camaraderie and the thrill of new experiences. It is also made memorable by the people and friends you meet in high school.

At its core, “High School Musical” is a celebration of the people and experiences from high school. They are “the best of times” for many people.

19. “School Days” By Chuck Berry

Released in 1957, “School Days” by Chuck Berry is a rock ‘n’ roll song reflecting on the high school experience in the 1950s. It chronicles the daily routine of attending school, including studying hard and hoping to pass.

“School Days” paints a picture of the classic school experience that many students can relate to. The upbeat rhythm and catchy lyrics evoke a sense of excitement and anticipation for the new school year.

This song is also a reminder of the social aspects of school. We’re talking about friendships, fun, and even drama! These elements make going back to school a thrilling prospect.

20. “ABC” By The Jackson 5

The American music group The Jackson 5 (also known as The Jacksons) released “ABC” in 1970 from the album of the same name. This catchy song uses the simplicity of learning the alphabet and counting as a metaphor for understanding love.

The opening lines “You went to school to learn girl / Things you never knew before” reference the educational setting. The song emphasizes the ease of learning, which promotes a positive attitude toward education.

In relation to going back to school, “ABC” is a reminder of the fundamental knowledge we all start with. It captures the importance of learning new things in a playful manner to make it relatable to students of all ages.

21. “High School” By Kelsea Ballerini

One of Kelsea Ballerini‘s most popular songs is “High School.” It captures young love, heartbreak, and personal growth associated with the high school years.

The song paints a picture of the period that high school represents. It delves into many topics, including the simplicity and naivety of high school relationships. It also references the pressure to fit in and the desire to be cool and liked by many.

In addition, “High School” deals with the inevitable changes that come with growing up. In the song, the two people who had a relationship in high school grow apart. The boy refuses to grow up while the girl is ready to move forward in life.

22. “School Days” By The Runaways

Now let’s move on to “School Days” by the all-female rock band The Runaways. It talks about the rebellious spirit that characterizes the teenage years.

In the lyrics, we find the narrator who used to hate school but has since grown. She was a troublemaker who “hated homework, was a sweet heart breaker.” Academics was the last thing on her mind.

Though she initially disliked school, she eventually carved her own path to success. Her story can inspire students to see that school is also a place for growth and self-discovery.

23. “What Did You Learn In School Today” By Pete Seeger

Up next is the eye-opener song “What Did You Learn in School Today” by Pete Seeger. At its core, it provides a critique of the education system, politics, and social values.

This song is a reminder to analyze the information shared with us. It urges students to not simply accept everything they’re taught. They must think for themselves and form their own opinions.

In addition, the song reflects the role of education in shaping norms and values. It suggests that schools can become more inclusive and unbiased spaces that promote independent thinking.

24. “Back To School (Mini Maggit)” By Deftones

A song with “back to school” in the title is up next. Deftones‘ “Back to School (Mini Maggit)” critiques societal expectations and conformity in the context of school.

The term “mini-maggit” refers to someone who tries to fit in or imitate others to be popular or successful. This is a reminder of the pressure of fitting into certain cliques. The school urges students to stay true to themselves and not compromise their identity for the sake of fitting in.

Despite the critique, the song recognizes the impact of schooling in shaping one’s future. It suggests that individuals have the capability to control their own success in school and life.

25. “Don’t Be A Dropout” By James Brown

To round up our list, we have “Don’t Be a Dropout” by James Brown. Released in 1967, this classic focuses on the importance of education and staying in school.

This song with “go back to school” in the lyrics encourages listeners to value education. It emphasizes that dropping out of school can limit one’s opportunities and potential success. The lyrics tell a story about a person who struggled after dropping out. This reinforces the idea that education is essential for a stable future.

The song inspires students who are considering dropping out to reconsider their decisions. It also motivates people who struggle with studying to continue their endeavors while considering the long-term benefits of persevering.

Summing Up Our List Of Back To School Songs

This is one of those things that can be scary or exciting, depending on how you take it. And whatever you feel, that’s okay. It’s perfectly understandable.

However, no matter how you feel about your holiday ending, you must go back to school eventually. That’s an important period in your life that will prepare you later when you face the real world.

But for now, you can always try to improve your experience by listening to the right songs. Hopefully, the back-to-school-themed songs above can get you there.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.