Opportunities to become involved in extracurricular activities, athletics, and work activities abound. Here are nine reasons high school students should take advantage of at least a few of those opportunities.
1. Discover new possibilities.
Involvement in an activity could spur a lifelong passion, introduce career options and help define identity. For example, many students first find a love for debate or technology through school activities.
2. Ease transitions.
Moving from elementary to middle school, or from middle to high school, can be a big change in routine, relationships and environment. Continuing or discovering activities can help make the change go more smoothly.
3. Relieve boredom.
Being involved in an activity often means hours of practice, preparation and, sometimes, travel, which leaves less time for boredom or less-desirable activities.
4. Relieve academic pressure.
As the school work load increases, it may seem counterintuitive to spend more time on other activities, but the outlet is often a needed break from homework and studying.
5. Increase academic performance.
Education Next reports being involved in activities outside the classroom may play a role in improving grades and standardized test scores.
6. Build important skills.
No matter what the future brings, skills like teamwork, cooperation, creative problem-solving, decision-making and leadership will always be important. Many extracurricular activities allow the development of these skills that are transferrable to school, family and future life.
7. Make connections.
Involvement in many extracurriculars brings students into contact with others, like coaches, teammates, parents and event judges, who may become valuable connections later.
8. Improve college applications.
If college is the next step after high school, a record of involvement over several years can demonstrate a continued interest in a particular cause, activity or event. Colleges and universities appreciate seeing applicants who demonstrate that they are successful outside the classroom and will become active members of their academic communities.
9. Find others with similar interests.
A variety of activities are available for students of all backgrounds and circumstances, including:
- School, club or community sports teams
- Special interest clubs like card or chess clubs
- Academic-related activities such as competitive math or science teams
- Fine arts groups, like newspaper or social media, drama, dance or music
- Student government
- Volunteering for nonprofit and service organizations
- Career-related internships and jobs
- Other jobs such as retail, babysitting and tutoring