According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “hundreds of colleges dropped their mandate for a standardized test score this year as a result of the pandemic,” and replaced it with the criteria that an applicant have “a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world.”
Therefore, afterschool shouldn’t be an afterthought. How you spend your time outside the classroom may be as important and valuable to your educational development as to how well you do inside the classroom.
1. Extracurricular Activities Promote Friendships
Participating in extracurricular activities and clubs provides an environment that fosters the development of friendships by creating experiences for you to spend time with like-minded peers. The group activities provide a safe, secure, and enjoyable setting for you to make meaningful connections and friendships.
2. Extracurricular Activities Develop Leadership Skills
Participating in extracurricular activities and clubs provides you with the opportunity to develop the soft skills, such as time management, critical thinking, and teamwork, necessary for your successful transition from high school to college.
Extracurricular activities also allow you the opportunity to showcase your leadership potential and demonstrate that you took the initiative to go “above and beyond.” Club Advisors, who act as moderators and mentors, provide support and guidance to students to reach their full potential. And, investing time in an afterschool activity or club shows commitment and personal responsibility.
3. Extracurricular Activities Improve Academic Performance
You may worry that participating in extracurricular activities may take you away from your schoolwork and your grades may suffer. However, participating in activities you are passionate about can increase your brain function, help you concentrate, and manage your time better. In fact, research has shown that students who participate in extracurricular activities have higher grades, more positive attitudes toward school, and higher academic aspirations.
4. Extracurricular Activities Foster Exploration
Participating in extracurricular activities and clubs provides you with the opportunity to explore a range of interests and unlock your passions. And, by diversifying your interests, you broaden your world view. However, the key to choosing an extracurricular activity is authenticity, picking an activity or club that fosters your genuine interests and passions. Participating in something that excites you and helps you realize your dreams will make it easier to demonstrate initiative, commitment, and leadership.
5. Extracurricular Activities Encourage Network
Participating in extracurricular activities and clubs is an important part of your identity. They provide you with the opportunity to engage with others with whom you share a common interest and skill set, and expand your networks, which can be helpful when you are looking for internship opportunities or jobs in the future.
For example, if you join an environmental group at school, your Club Advisor or peers might go on to work for environmental organizations. In the future, you could use one of those colleagues as a reference when you apply for an internship or job in that field.
6. Extracurricular Activities are a College Application or Resume-builder
Participating in extracurricular activities and clubs add “personality” to your application, helping you stand out from your peers. By showcasing that you have developed the skills to succeed in college and beyond, you are a more attractive applicant to colleges, universities, and future employers. Being a member of a club lets the admissions officer at the college or university see who you are, and what you are passionate about. In conjunction with good grades, it shows that you can be successful both inside and outside of the classroom.