Hyphens are a pain. People use them so differently that it’s impossible for anyone to use them with complete confidence.
As they say, no two editors hyphenate exactly alike, which is why I have seen both “high-school student” and “high school student” in professionally edited publications. So when I’m copy-editing an article, I don’t just have to worry how to write “high school student,” I also have to worry whether the next editor to proof the document will think I made a mistake and change it.
What’s more, hyphens seem to be falling out of vogue. Book editors, especially, seem to be avoiding them more and more. (Bucking this trend is the New Yorker, which seems to go out of its way to use commas every place possible.) Even if I were to find my own hyphen comfort zone, the fickle tides of change wouldn’t let me stay comfortable for long.