A well-rounded education isn’t made up only of academics. Sure, it’s really important to study and make good grades — but personal and professional success also stem from activities outside the regular classroom.
Whether we’re talking sports, after-school clubs, civic or religious organizations, or volunteer service, extra-curricular activity is important. Besides being fun and providing rewarding ways to discover the world and hang out with friends, these outside-the-classroom meetings can help young people learn time management, stress management and how to increase overall productivity. They also help participants learn more about their own passions in life and how to set goals they excitedly work to reach.
Also consider these benefits, shared by educators and counselors:
“Studies show that students in extracurricular activities have higher [academic] scores. They learn to manage their time, relieve stress and learn to strive for excellence in more than one thing,” said Kenny Smith, a school counselor in Thatcher, Arizona. “Students who are involved in team sports learn to work in groups. Their written and oral communication skills improve. These things cross over into ‘real life.’ The students who participate in extracurricular activities are held to a higher plane. There are no team breaks. The privilege [to play on a team] must meet specific requirements.”
“Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege and students may have to meet and maintain a minimum grade point average to play sports or take part in clubs,” according to Parent Spot, produced by the Capital Region BOCES Community Service in Albany, N.Y.
“Participation in extracurricular and school club activities increases resiliency in youth by promoting protective factors and reducing risk factors,” reported Faye Arco, a counselor who started a program called SKATERS. “Data shows that participants have a higher GPA (0.98 percent), fewer suspensions (13.9 percent), and better attendance (15.8 percent) than non-participants. Counselors come from as far away as New Zealand and Poland to observe the program, which has now been implemented in many schools.”
Parent Spot also notes: “College admissions officers are looking for students who have applied themselves academically during the high school years and have used their free time in enriching ways… A roster of extracurricular activities lets colleges know that teens have made a meaningful contribution to something larger than themselves, can maintain long-term commitments and can juggle their priorities successfully.”