Benefits of extracurricular activities
Although students can feel it is quite demanding to spend their time on extracurricular activities in addition to the standard curriculum, the truth is that extracurricular activities bring along important benefits.
As a matter of fact, extracurricular activities give students a lot of opportunities to explore their existing interests or discover entirely new ones, develop talents, acquire a number of fun and useful skills, as well as contribute through important social activities. Above all, extracurricular programs allow students to learn how to perform in a team context, take initiative and share group responsibility, build better focus and perseverance through competition, and enhance their attitude towards differences.
10 advantages of extracurricular activities
1. Extracurricular activities serve as great support to regular curriculum
Extracurricular activities should not be viewed simply as free activities with no relation to traditional education. In fact, these activities serve as strong support to regular programs, and it is important that they should be cleverly designed and properly implemented.
The advantages of extracurricular activities include the fact that they let the students apply their knowledge in real-world conditions. This is why extracurricular activities play such an important role in comprehensive education.
Research confirms there are considerable benefits of extracurricular activities. Namely: these activities enhance the sense of belonging to the school, help students develop positive feelings towards their education, and thereby reduce their odds of failure (Lamborn et al, 1992; Finn, 1993).
2. Freedom and passion
Extracurricular activities are a great outlet for students who view the regular program as somewhat stiff and confining. These activities are a way for them to find something they are really interested in, which they can dedicate themselves to with passion and focus; for some, this can turn into a profession of choice or a lifelong hobby. Also, when they find what really interests them through extracurricular activities, students usually improve their academic performance, as the newly discovered passion, perseverance and focus help them perceive the big picture and inspire them to put their energy into achieving better results at school.
3. Improved academic performance
Besides serving as an addition to the regular curriculum, extracurricular activities actually help students meet its requirements more successfully. Research emphatically shows that participation in extracurricular activities improves academic performance when it comes to reading, mathematics, grades and the general attitude towards one’s own education. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not all that important which particular extracurricular activity the child participates in, as long as they approach it with engagement and dedication.
4. Encourage student’s progress
Being good at something is one of the best ways for a student to build self-confidence. This includes not settling for what has already been achieved, but seeking new challenges and stepping out of one’s comfort zone instead. These are the exact kinds of opportunities that extracurricular activities bring about.
Once the student discovers what interests them, they are encouraged to develop it, to compete, explore, and measure themself against high standards. This way, the student gets better and better at a concrete activity, all the while acquiring precious self-confidence which can later easily be transferred to other areas of life and work.
5. Advanced social skills
Spending time with children from different backgrounds who have similar interests; working together on realizing a goal: participating in a sports tournament, preparing for a play, practicing for a concert, editing the school newspaper – these are all activities that teach children friendship, communication, understanding, and tolerance.These are not just skills that are important for personal development, but abilities crucial for realizing a career in the 21st century.
A child needs to be able to be a part of a larger whole, to contribute to its achievements, to exchange opinions and resolve disagreements, and to cooperate with different people – all these factors will enable them for future cooperation within organizations of various sizes, with people from all over the world. Employers on the 21st century job market have special appreciation for these skills.
6. Enhanced organization and task management
Balancing between school obligations and extracurricular activities inevitably helps students develop their time management skills, making it easier to take care of their tasks in a cleverer way. It is quite simple – if they want to find time for everything, they will have to be well-organized.
This is an exceptionally important skill, as it will help them a lot in their later academic and professional development. With good organization, students will be able to juggle their demanding college obligations, in the workforce, proper organization will be crucial to their success.
7. Valued when starting college and getting one’s first job
Higher education institutions value the participation in extracurricular activities a lot – this includes sports and arts, school newspapers, community service, and doing a part-time job. All these activities carry points that mean a lot when college applications are considered. Also, they serve as proof that the student is willing to acquire new skills, that they have varied interests and that they are ready to dedicate themselves to different goals, especially through volunteer work.
Besides colleges and universities, employers also value this sort of proof of a candidate’s qualities, especially if it is going to be the person’s first job, because they want people who are willing and able to advance themselves. Therefore, the advantages of extracurricular activities are quite important for a student’s CV.
8. Scholarship opportunities
Many scholarship programs especially value participation in extracurricular activities. For instance, many institutions place a high value on future students’ leadership skills, so if the child is an editor of a school newspaper or a debate club president, it can play an important role when applying for a scholarship.
Also, many colleges and scholarship programs require the student to write an essay explaining their interest in a particular area. Participating in extracurricular activities helps children include their personal experience when writing it, which carries the most weight in essays of this sort.
9. Powerful integration tool for K12 students
Studies demonstrate that extracurricular activities such as school clubs provide encouraging and safe environments for learning and advancement in the K12 system, especially in high school. Extracurricular activities are a powerful tool for the integration of different students. For instance, students with special needs who participate in activities of this sort have more friends than students with special needs who do not. Research on ethnic minorities has yielded similar results.
10. Assistance to parents
When a child takes part in certain extracurricular activities, the parents feel that the child is in a good, safe environment where they can make progress. It also makes it easier for them to finish all their work without worrying where to leave their child.
Crucial benefit – child has fun and develops freely
As we have seen, extracurricular activities bring about a great number of benefits, but one of the greatest among them is an opportunity for the child to have a good time doing something they enjoy with friends. It is a safe route when it comes to their uninhibited progress and the development of positive attitudes towards work, studying and hobbies.
This way, the students get to know themselves better and acquire extra perspectives that help them better understand life and experience it more fully.