8 Reasons Extra-Curricular Activities Are Great For Your Teen
There are lots of reasons why you might not want your teen to get involved in extra-curricular activities. School itself can be overwhelming, and packing more things into their schedules might not be idea for every teen. But there are also lots of reasons to get your teen involved in an extra-curricular, if they have time in their schedule and desire to do so. Here are eight of them.
1. Gives your teen an opportunity to do something fun
One of the biggest reasons to have your teenager get involved in an extra-curricular activity is to give them something fun to do. If they love playing soccer, joining the high school soccer team would be a great opportunity to follow that passion. If they love playing instruments, marching band or jazz band could be the ideal outlet for that passion. Most high schools have a wide variety of different activities, ranging from drama club to foreign language clubs to sports, and beyond. There is bound to be an extra-curricular that your teen will find fun.
2. Looks great on a college application
Many teenagers will pack their schedules with as many extra-curricular activities as possible, hoping that it will make them more attractive to universities. Most colleges like students who get involved in these activities, because it shows that that student is well-rounded, that their academic prowess is not all they have going for them. This doesn’t mean that your teen needs to be involved in five different activities. One is usually enough, especially if they do it all throughout high school.
3. Makes them more attractive to scholarships
If your teen is going to be going out for scholarships, in addition to applying to colleges, getting involved in extra-curricular activities can help. Many independent scholarships are looking for the same criteria as universities—they want to back well-rounded students. There will often be special scholarships specifically for teens who are involved in certain activities. For example, if your student is in marching band, he might be able to apply to scholarships that are specifically designed for marching band participants.
4. Teaches valuable skills
Most extra-curricular activities will provide your teen with opportunity to both learn how to be a leader and learn how to be a team player. Just about every activity offered at most high school will require him to both occasionally take charge and to occasionally take a back seat. These are skills that will serve him well further down the line. This is another reason that many universities prefer students who have been involved in extra-curricular activities. They are more likely to have developed the skills that high-pressure universities will require of their students. Studies have shown that students who do extra-curricular activities in high school are more likely to finish their degree in college.
5. Provides opportunities to make friends
Whether your teen already has a solid group of friends or they are looking for a group of people who are interested in the things they are interested in, extra-curricular activities is a good place to connect with people who have similar interests. Because most high schools will have a wide variety of activities, ranging from computer programming to football, there will be lots of different opportunities for your teen to find a place where he fits in. Those who have felt alienated or alone at school especially could benefit from joining an extra-curricular.
6. Gives your teen a place to succeed
Not every student feels like a success in the classroom. Sometimes, his talents will lie elsewhere, and he won’t even realize this until he starts exploring other activities. Often, students will find something that they are good at outside of the classroom and will then be able to translate those skills back into the classroom. The confidence that comes from discovering that they are good at something now can be extremely valuable as they struggle to build confidence in other areas of their lives.
7. Gives them a safe space after school
If both parents work, many teenagers might find themselves home alone in the afternoon. While this might not necessarily be unsafe, extra-curricular activities that keep them after school, usually with adult supervision can provide those teens with a more structured environment. There are many households today where both parents are out of the home in the afternoon, leaving the children to their own devices. Instead of having to worry about your son or daughter being home alone in the afternoons, extra-curricular activities give them an outlet for their passion and provide them with something interesting to do after school, while still at school.
8. Allows them to branch out
If your teen wants to try something new but does not necessarily want to take a class where he would have to be graded on his performance in that subject, joining an extra-curricular activity might be a good way to try out a new skill, without have the pressure that comes along with the grades aspect of school. While some extra-curricular activities may translate into classes (like debate, band, and drama in some districts), they are excellent outlets for learning new skills and trying new things, in a low-stress environment.
If your teenager has been considering extra-curricular activities, don’t be afraid to encourage him, as long as he actually has time in his schedule to accommodate one more thing. Some extra-curricular activities are very low-intensity and do not take up very much extra time, while others will have huge time commitments. Make sure that both of you have the time to dedicate to an activity before committing to it.