Dr. Jeff & Dr. Brian Haig - The Experts in College Planning and Student Success.

Why you need to get involved in extracurricular activities!

School is about more than just following an academic curriculum to fulfill graduation requirements. It’s also about seeing your school as an all-encompassing learning environment that has the potential to teach you more than what you can learn inside the classroom. In fact, what you learn outside the classroom can be just as important, if not more important, than what you learn inside the classroom. This is because many important character-building skills that are learned outside the classroom are directly applicable to succeeding in life.

Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

Confidence
Self-Discipline
Social Development
Teamwork Skills
Leadership Skills
Creativity
Independence
Healthy Self-Image
And Much More!

Extracurricular activities enrich your school experience, and life!

Leadership, teamwork, and social skills, along with learning how to become independent, creative, and hardworking, are all developed outside the classroom environment. Learning how to manage your time efficiently, becoming disciplined, and building self-confidence and a healthy self-image can also be learned outside the classroom.

And it is through the many different extracurricular activities that your school makes available to you that these very important character traits can be learned and developed. Whether it’s a club or organization, an athletic team, or the music or theater department, becoming involved in extracurricular activities is the key to taking your education to the next level!

Remember: Schools make extracurricular activities available because they want you to develop into a healthy and successful individual. They also want you to learn to your fullest potential, which means learning more than just textbook information, but also crucial character-building and life skills that will be your ticket to a successful future.

If you just sit in the classroom, you can’t possibly learn everything you need to know to become a healthy, well-rounded, and high-functioning individual with the ability to achieve your full potential. To get the most out of your education, you need to get involved in extracurricular activities—it’s really that important!

What Does the Research Show?

To help you understand the significance of why getting involved in extracurricular activities is so incredibly important, let’s look at what the research shows. According to research conducted by Darling, Caldwell, and Smith, it was found that students involved in extracurricular activities earn higher grades, develop better social skills, have higher aspirations in life, think more positively about academics, have a higher level of school commitment, and have a lower dropout rate. They also have a lower rate of drug use and of being arrested.

To support these findings, Mary Rombokas of Middle Tennessee State University found that students’ intellectual and social development is enhanced when they participate in extracurricular activities. Those who did earned higher grades and developed valuable character and life skills that could be directly applied to succeed in school and in lifelong endeavors. Also, it was found that extracurricular activities taught students to be more disciplined because of structured meetings, practice, or rehearsal schedules. And because students took part in activities including running, singing, acting, or organizing events, they gained a sense of responsibility and accomplishment when completing their activities.

As you can see, taking part in extracurricular activities is greatly beneficial! And the benefits just keep going!

Rombokas’ study also found that analytical and creative problem-solving skills are improved when students take part in extracurricular activities. This was shown when students joined activities related to the arts. Students who performed music, acted in a play, or produced a work of art had to think more creatively, which improved both their creative and analytical skills.

But most of all, the research found, by joining extracurricular activities, students gained a greater sense of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. The sense of pride they experienced enhanced their self-image. And this made them want to work harder and do better in their extracurricular activities and in their coursework.

The Wrap-up

John Wooden, the famous coach who led the UCLA basketball team to ten national championships, said that playing basketball is more than just a sport—it’s more than just dribbling a ball down a court. Coach Wooden said that in basketball, you learn leadership, communication, teamwork, confidence, social skills, and integrity. Basketball provides the framework on which much more important life skills are developed.

By taking part in extracurricular activities, your ability to grow and develop is greatly enhanced. Extracurricular activities give you the tools, skills, and knowledge to be far more successful in life than if you only concentrated on the classroom environment. Realize that by taking part in activities you create a whole new way of learning that will be vital to your overall ability to succeed not only in your education, but also throughout your life.

And who knows, maybe your involvement in an extracurricular activity will turn into your lifelong career. Your membership in the school journalism club might turn into a career as a newspaper or magazine journalist. Your interest in speech and debate might turn into a career in law or politics. Your playing on the school baseball team might turn into a career in professional baseball. Who knows? But it is only through taking part in extracurricular activities that you will be able to take your educational potential to the next level. 

To truly maximize your educational potential, it’s important to step outside the academic curriculum and get involved, because only by getting involved in extracurricular activities can you develop the characteristics, skills, and mindset to become much more successful!