Benefits of Extracurricular Activities For School Students
The question is, what do extracurricular activities mean and why are they important?
Here’s a little secret: extracurricular activities are simply any activity you do outside of your school work. Easy enough, right?
Well okay, that’s great, but why are extracurricular activities important?
Isn’t getting great grades in school good enough? And if you do participate in other activities, why does it matter? Doesn’t everyone do at least one activity that has nothing to do with school?
The Definition of Extracurricular Activities
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a deeper look at the definition of extracurricular activities.
The word extracurricular is a combination of the prefix extra, which translates to “on the outside,” and curriculum, which translates to “a running course/career.”
As I said above, extracurricular activities are activities that fall outside the scope of your regular curriculum.
Completing extracurricular activities means you are going above and beyond your school requirements.
However, simply playing soccer with your friends on the weekends for fun isn’t actually an extracurricular activity, even though it has nothing to do with school.
Extracurricular activities require a regular time commitment and initiative such as being on a sports team, forming a student newspaper, playing the violin in the local orchestra or taking an online course on robotics.
See the difference?
Great! Now let’s get into the importance of extracurricular activities.
The Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
1. Improved Academic Performance
Some students worry that participating in extracurriculars may take away too much time from their schoolwork, thus hurting their grades; however, extracurricular activities can actually improve your grades and your outlook on school in general!
Participating in activities you are passionate about can increase your brain function, help you concentrate and manage your time better, all of which contribute to higher grades. High endurance sports, for example, will train you to focus and build stamina in the face of intense difficulty. This gives you an advantage when it comes to studying and taking exams.
Heaps of studies have been conducted on the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance, and they all show that student who participate in them have higher grades, more positive attitudes toward school and higher academic aspirations.
That being said, taking on too many activities can detract from your school work, but don’t worry, we’ll talk about that later!
2. Explore Interests and Create Broader Perspectives
When you participate in multiple different activities, you’ll get the opportunity to explore a range of interests and unlock passions you never knew you had!
Plus, diversifying your interests subsequently broadens your world view.
Think about it this way: if you join a philosophy club you’ll begin to look at the world through the eyes of a budding philosopher.
You’ll begin to question everything and anything you see or hear, which may annoy your friends a bit but will also help you think more critically and not take everything at face value – both valuable skills in today’s “fake news” world.
3. Higher Self-esteem
The more you achieve success through activities you’re passionate about, the more your self confidence will improve.
For example, let’s say you’re really good at maths and your teacher encourages you to get involved in competitions. You join the school team and start training for the national Maths Olympiad. During the process you realise how fun maths can be and how talented you actually are, which gives your confidence a massive boost.
Working hard and mastering new skills in a fun, relaxed – and sometimes competitive – setting allows you to be successful without the pressure of getting a good grade.
Plus, once your confidence improves, you’ll be more open to taking risks in all aspects of your life, not just in Maths Olympiads.
4. Social Opportunities
Let’s be honest, making friends can be hard but one of the easiest ways to make friends is - yep you guessed it -through extracurricular activities!
Each extracurricular you engage in provides you with another opportunity to expand your social network, which will also come in handy when you’re looking for a job.
Plus, if you make friends in your extracurricular activities, you’ll be more likely to get more deeply involved.
For example, if you make a few friends doing community service at school, you might decide to start a volunteer club together and really make an impact in your community!
5. Productive Breaks
How boring would your life be if all you did was go to school, do homework and sleep?
Luckily, extracurricular activities give you something fun (and parent approved) to do aside from school.
Take the much needed break. You deserve it!
6. Essential life skills
On top of all of the benefits of extracurricular activities we already talked about, one of the greatest advantages that extracurricular activities give you is “real world” skills.
These skills include (but are not limited to):
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Problem solving
- Analytical thinking
- Public speaking
The more you push yourself in your extracurricular endeavours, the more you’ll develop these skills. If you’re passionate about coding, you might join the school coding club, where you’ll develop teamwork, problem solving and analytical thinking skills.
But you could take that passion even further and create your own coding club, where you’ll develop goal setting, time management, prioritisation, leadership and public speaking skills.
Phew! That’s a lot of responsibility. Each and every step will teach you a new skill you can use for the rest of your life.
So you can see, extracurricular activities are far more than time fillers and provide a lot more than variety and entertainment. Get into extracurricular activity now and start building skills for your future.