The Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

As students we hear it all the time, we need to participate in extracurricular activities.  Many of us may ask, “What counts as an extracurricular activity?” and “Why do I need to participate?”.  Today we would like to address each of these questions. To begin, let’s first discuss what an extracurricular activity is. 

An extracurricular activity is anything you do outside of school that includes consistent time commitment and some level of organization.  This can include clubs, teams, or even personal projects!  There are so many options out there for students to do that it would be impossible to address them all here.  Instead we will focus on the benefits behind extracurricular activities in general, or the “why” behind our need to participate.

Improved Academic Performance

Many believe that by committing to extracurricular activities their grades will begin to suffer.  Contrary to this idea, many studies show that students who participate in extracurricular activities actually tend to do better in school.  Filling your time with things you enjoy actually improves brain function and makes you more passionate about learning, not only things related to your extracurricular activity, but in other subjects as well.  Extracurriculars allow students the opportunity to apply what they learn in everyday situations rather than only in the classroom.

Gaining Important Life Skills

No matter what career you end up in, there are several skills that, once gained, will improve your ability to succeed exponentially.  As discussed in last week’s post, employers want employees who can think critically, work with a team, lead, stay organized, prioritize, and set effective goals.  While some of these skills can be gained in a classroom, many are best learned outside of school.  Extracurricular activities are a great way to develop these essential skills in preparation for a future career.

Improved Social Skills

Making friends can be difficult at any stage of life.  Extracurricular activities provide a great opportunity to expand your social circle and meet people with similar interests as you.  Who knows, one of these people could be in a position to offer you your dream job one day, or vice versa.  Plus, the more friends you make through extracurricular activities, the more likely you are to want to consistently attend the activities and meetings provided.

Increased Confidence

Extracurricular activities allow you to learn and develop in areas you’re passionate about without the pressure of needing to get a good grade.  As you continue to improve in skill you grow in confidence as well.  It also provides a more relaxed environment in which students are able to learn to overcome and learn from failure, which also increases self-confidence.

College Applications and Resumes

Both colleges and employers want members with a broad learning experience.  Extracurriculars are the best way to show a student’s well-rounded educational experience.  It also allows admission and employers to get a picture of what life skills you’ve been able to acquire outside of the classroom.  Particularly in the US and UK, extracurriculars and leadership opportunities make up a huge portion of university applications.

So, the moral is, find something you want to learn or already love to do and do it!  It will have a positive influence on your academic experience both now and in the future and will improve your attitude toward yourself and others.  Your social circle will grow and the skills you will develop will positively affect your future.


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