Extracurricular activities are found in elementary, middle, and high school in many different forms. They can be school publications, debate, sports, clubs, drama, student council, and other social events. A 2018 report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that children tend to have higher levels of school engagement when involved in one or more activities, like sports, lessons, or clubs. Many extracurricular activities have been shown to enhance a student’s social, academic, and personal skills.
Students who participate in extracurricular activities are less likely to miss days at school, be tardy for classes and skip classes, and have higher GPAs. Some activities are even said to encourage children to be more alert in school. One study found that nearly thirty-one percent of students who participated had a GPA of 3.0 or higher, compared to just eleven percent of students who had no extracurricular involvement. One effect that extracurricular activities seem to have on children that is widely noticed is behavior. Students that participate in extracurricular activities seem to have less behavior problems throughout the school year. In sports, they emphasize discipline in drills, practices, and routines. A study performed showed forty-two percent of school-aged children were involved in sports, thirty percent were involved in other lessons (musical, drama, etc), and twenty-eight percent were involved in clubs. Nine percent of children participated in all three extracurricular activities.
One of the main reasons some students take part in an activity is personal interest. An immediate benefit of going after an interest through extracurricular activities is meeting others who share the same interests. The opportunity to meet new people and form authentic friendships gives students a chance to develop or enhance their social skills. For some students, social interaction in extracurricular activities is their first experience working with tag others toward a common goal. Extracurricular activities assist students in developing personally, socially, and intellectually. They might even help students to advance their academic and professional goals.
Teamwork is an important skill that most students have the chance to enhance with extracurricular activities. Instructors and future employers see this skill as a strong asset as teamwork often evolves into leadership. Extracurricular activities may take up a student’s time outside of school and home life, but the reward is unmatched. From social, academic, personal, emotional, and mental strengthening, extracurricular activities are beneficial to all students.