Before you know it, summer is going to come and go faster than it took you to binge-watch all of Stranger Things for the zillionth time, which means it’s time to start packing up your *adorable* backpack and school supplies to get ready for the new school year ahead. Another year means new classes, new opportunities, and maybe some new classmates and friends. Of course, while you’re going to need the hottest first day of class 'fit and hairstyle to slay your start-of-semester Instagram selfies, you’ll also need the most fire playlist to get you through your commute and the rest of the school day.
Whether you’re looking for the best back-to-school songs to pump you up for what’s ahead or a soft ballad to calm down those first-day jitters, there’s something in here for everyone. (And if you still uneasy about the first day, you can also check out our playlist for songs to listen to when you're feeling anxious.)
Getting ready for your senior year or starting a brand-new chapter in your life as a freshman deserves to be set to the tune of some epic theme songs that you'll still feel connected to years after you earn your diploma. And yes, everything from first crushes and not-so-great grades to ~angsty~ anthems are on this back-to-school playlist, meaning you'll relate to just about every song on here.
From classics to new pop hits and very on-point musicals, these are the best songs to play while you walk through the hallowed halls of your school.
"Middle Schooler" - Hello Sister
This band is made up of a trio of sisters who actually performed this song on America's Got Talent in 2021. "Middle Schooler" will have you in your feelings about returning to school and not knowing where you fit in or if your crush even knows if you exist or not.
"Victoria's Secret" - Jax
Listen to this jam whenever you start to feel like you don't look "pretty enough" or some other such nonsense. Don't start off the school year with those negative thoughts about yourself. You're perfect, mkay? 💖
"Girl on Fire" - Alicia Keys
This new school year is going to be your BEST one yet! You totally got this, so blast this song on your way to class.
"High School" - 90's Kids
It's easy to forget that high school is only four years long — not your whole life. So, try not to sweat the small stuff and remember that no one will care what silly thing you said or weird outfit you wore in the next 10, 20, or 30 years from now.
"Be True to Your School" - Grace Vanderwaal
"I Don't Want to Go to School" - The Naked Brothers Band
While we literally just told you you'll be in the school spirit in no time, there's also the other side of that coin: You're in no mood for school and would rather just sleep in and veg out. We've all been there. Put this song on full blast on the days you would literally rather be anywhere else but in class.
"Schoolin' Life" - Beyoncé
Settle down, class. Mrs. Queen Bey is about to start teaching. You better be taking notes!
"Breaking the Rules" by Charli XCX
When Charli XCX sang, "I don't wanna go to school, I just wanna break the rules," we felt THAT.
"High School Never Ends" - Bowling for Soup
Once you finish high school and enter college and/or the adult working world, it's important to remember that cliques and gossip and petty drama don't just stop now that you're 18.
"First Day of School" - Soulja Boy
Everyone wants to dress super nice on the first day of school, showing off that outfit your mom totally didn't want to buy for you but you're persuasive. However, most people are over it by the end of the second week of class. Not Soulja Boy!
On this track, he sings about being the "freshest in the class, freshest in the school" because he treats each day like it's the first day of school.
"Too Cool for School" - Fountains of Wayne
"Cool Kids" - Echosmith
And speaking of cool, this TikTok-favorite song will then remind you that maybe you're not the cooliest. (But, that's total BS. You are definitely awesome; we just know it!)
"ABC" - The Jackson 5
Learning is as “easy as 1-2-3” with this classic song from the '70s The Jacksons.
"Good Girls" - 5 Seconds of Summer
The straight-A, Harvard-bound star of this pop-punk song may be doing a little more than reading textbooks in the library.
"champagne problems" - Taylor Swift
Nothing quite hurts like losing your high school or college crush. Let T. Swift console you as you head back into those hallowed halls.
"Campus" - Vampire Weekend
The song is all about a college campus. What more could you ask for?
"You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
Whether you're a "cheer captain" or "on the bleachers," it's fun to sing along with this high school sweetheart song.
"Follow Your Arrow" - Kacey Musgraves
Everyone could use a reminder to be their authentic selves on their first day back at school. No peer pressure here, thnx.
"Run The World (Girls)" - Beyoncé
If Beyoncé raising a glass "to the college grads" doesn't motivate you to get that degree, we don't know what will.
"Fifteen" - Taylor Swift
Whether you're a freshman like Taylor was in this song or a senior, this song is absolutely perfect for the first day of school.
"Dance, Dance" - Fall Out Boy
Back to school means getting excited for upcoming dances, and this song will get you ready for all of them.
"We're All in This Together" - High School Musical
Just cause you don't go to East High School, doesn't mean you can't still rock out to this song with your classmates.
"Teenagers" - My Chemical Romance
When you go to school with other teenagers all day, you'll feel exactly like this.
"What I Go to School For" - Jonas Brothers
The JoBros know all about having a crush on someone in your class and they really show it in this song.
"Young Dumb and Broke" - Khalid
There's no one who understand teenagers better nowadays than Khalid and he really sets the record straight in this song.
"Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
This song is perfect for when you fall for that new kid in class and you want to give them your number. (Btw, you totally should!)
"Beautiful" - Heathers: The Musical
This musical might take place in the 1980s, but not much has changed when it comes to high school.
"East Northumberland High" - Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana
If you didn't know, East Northumberland High is actually a real school and this song will make you feel like you're right there.
"Teenage Dream" - Katy Perry
It might not be summer anymore, but that doesn't mean this song doesn't still apply to how you feel about your crush.
"High School" - Kelsea Ballerini
Sometimes it's hard to let go of how things were in high school and Kelsea Ballerini shows us what it's like when we can't.
"I'm Just a Kid" - Simple Plan
The lyric, "I'm just a kid and life is a nightmare," is still relevant no matter what grade you're in.
"Waving Through A Window" - Dear Evan Hansen
We've all felt just like Evan in this song at least one time as we walked through our school's halls.
"We Are Young" - Fun. (ft. Janelle Monaé)
Set the world on fire with the rest of your friends as you live your best lives together for another year.
"Loser Like Me" - Glee
You might not be the most popular kid in school, but even the Glee kids know that it just means you have a HUGE future ahead.
"Teen Idle" - Marina and The Diamonds
Marina goes back to her teen days in this song where she shares she did much more during her school days.
"Popular Song" - Ariana Grande and MIKA
One of Ari's first songs and it fits perfectly for whenever you pass by the ONE person that you just don't get along with in class.
"The Bus Is Late" - Satellite High
Waiting for the bus in the rain? This catchy track is all about that as you try to stay dry.
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