Why are Extracurricular Activities So Important?


Katie Howell, Staff Writer

“Important learning happens beyond the classroom as well as within it. Extra-curricular activities give students a chance to explore their interests, develop valuable skills, have healthy outlets, and promote being a well-rounded person,” said Julie Calderwood from the college and career center at Vista del Lago High School.

At Vista, many students participate in after-school activities. “Being involved in activities outside of the school day has many benefits for students. I think it is important to educate the whole child,” said Judy Howell, a former high school principal. “Students can gain confidence in themselves that they may not feel in an academic setting.” Parents sometimes try too hard to push their kid into these activities. “If a parent is too focused on the child’s success and not focused on the process of learning, they may deter the child from enjoying and trying out new things. We need to allow our kids to try and grow and encourage them,” said Howell.

After-school activities can be essential for students getting into college of their choice. “Many colleges look at students holistically. It isn’t enough to just have a great GPA.,” said Calderwood. “College admissions officers are looking at students who can contribute outside of the classroom as well as within.”  Colleges like to see that you are a well-rounded student who can contribute to their campus and make it better.

Some kids have opinions that, to an extent, extracurricular activities mixed with school and other responsibilities can just be too much. “In my perspective as a dancer, I train 27 hours a week and at times, it can get to be too much,” said Sarah Hurley, a student at Vista. “I couldn’t see my life without dance, but then other times I wish I had more time to focus on my schoolwork.” Some kids love their sport so much, they even take school out of the picture. By homeschooling. I used to want to be homeschooled to have more time on my hands for dance, but then I thought it would be harder to get into a future college.”

Participating in these activities outside of school can also widen a student’s social circle. If school is the only public place you go and have found friends, then the child’s circle is very limited. Spending time with other people who have the same interests as the kid is an easy way to makes friends. Extracurriculars are also a great way to develop your time management skills, because teens need to know how to juggle homework, sports, and family activities.

Extracurricular activities show to have more benefits than not. They can help students in many areas of your life, and they are a great way to spend free time.