Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important?

June 28, 2024
4 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/28/24

Why are extracurricular activities important? This article will explain what you must know about extracurricular activities and why you need to partake in them!

Studying is certainly important for a high school student.  But no matter how busy you are, you must have a life outside the classroom. Universities want well-rounded students, not studying machines. As a high school student, you should also develop yourself in non-academic ways. 

Your extracurricular activities are just as crucial as your academic performance, not just for university application but for many areas of your life, both as a student and a person. This article will answer the question, “Why are extracurricular activities important?”.

Why Are Extracurriculars Important?

Extracurricular activities are a prominent aspect of student life. High school is a time in every student’s life to explore unfamiliar territories, acquire fresh abilities, and cultivate newfound interests. 

Because extracurricular activities are usually voluntary, allowing students to choose activities based on their personal preferences with full control, they offer students a fun and immersive way to explore their interests and develop themselves in a supportive setting among peers who share similar interests.

Thus, extracurricular activities empower students to broaden their horizons, explore new perspectives and areas, and foster essential abilities valuable during their college years and throughout their lives, proving beneficial in their lifelong journey of personal and intellectual growth.

Top 10 Benefits of Extracurricular Activities

To further answer “why are extracurricular activities important,” let’s review some value that engaging in extracurricular activities provides.

1. Skill Development 

Extracurricular activities allow students to develop and enhance various skills beyond academic learning.  Whether participating in sports, joining clubs, engaging in music or arts, or participating in community service, these activities foster skills.

Many noteworthy examples include communication, time management, problem-solving, creativity, adaptability, etc. These are all essential for success in various aspects of life, including future careers.

2. Exploring Interests

Despite being outside of the classroom, your studies and extracurricular activities are closely connected. Extracurricular activities allow students to explore their interests and passions  not covered in the regular curriculum. This is crucial for both a college education and a future career.

They complement academic learning and contribute to a well-rounded education and student development. Your interests and passions are extremely important for university applications, as they give a richer and more well-rounded applicant profile. 

More extracurricular talents and skills also increase competitiveness. Thus, it is crucial to use extracurricular activities to develop a broader perspective, discover new talents, and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

3. Increasing Academic Success

Because extracurricular activities allow you to apply your knowledge and skills, often in a hands-on situation, they provide a channel for reinforcing the lessons you learned in the classroom. Applying your academic skills in a real-world context gives you a better and deeper understanding of what you have learned.

Thus, extracurricular activities can lead to higher grades, better test scores, higher educational achievements, and better academic aspirations. Extracurricular activities foster eagerness and a positive attitude toward school, improving class attendance and participation. 

4. Fostering Important Values

Extracurricular activities don’t just help you develop skills. Students involved in extracurricular activities put themselves in dynamic, engaging environments where they learn to harbor various indispensable attitudes used in many facets of life, such as leadership, teamwork, commitment, acceptance of differences, and many more.

5. Reducing Stress

On top of getting a break from academic studies, extracurricular activities help students reduce stress in various ways. Exercise-related activities, such as sports, dance, or martial arts, offer physical activities for health and conditioning. Artistic activities, such as those relevant to music, fine arts, and literature, serve as creative outlets. 

Or, many students partake in extracurricular activities to have some fun! 

6. Social Networking 

Participating in extracurricular activities allows you to meet and interact with peers with similar interests and skill sets. Thus, you can use these opportunities to connect, develop friendships, and expand social networks.

Furthermore, through teamwork, collaboration, shared experiences, and simply having fun together, students develop social skills, build and deepen friendships, and establish invaluable connections that can extend beyond their school environment. 

The opportunity to connect with others can also develop a sense of belonging, which not only further enriches your student life but is also a major happiness boost! 

7. Broadened Perspectives and Exposure to Diversity

This is an expansion of social networking. Many extracurricular activities, such as cultural clubs, international exchanges, and community service projects, especially expose students to diverse cultures, ideas, and perspectives. 

Such extracurricular activities allow students to widen their perspectives and gain a broader understanding of the world, fostering empathy, acceptance, and cultural appreciation. These are indispensable attitudes that everyone must have, especially in the diverse environment of the university and the workplace. 

8. Gain Working Experience

Yes, many jobs and volunteering work also count as extracurricular activities. By partaking in these types of activities, you can also accumulate experience and hone your skills and knowledge, not only helping your academic prowess but also your overall development for both college and your career. 

Work experience shows independence, continuous commitment, and a willingness to venture into real-life situations and develop yourself, all of which the admission committee values. Balancing your work and studies also demonstrates excellent time management skills. 

Working in a position showcasing hard or soft skills is especially effective in raising your competitiveness in college admission, even if unrelated to your study area. And, of course, experience is an invaluable asset for your future career. 

9. Community Service

There are many extracurricular activities centered around engaging in communities meaningfully, such as community service, support groups for local clubs and sports teams, activist groups, school student councils, and many more.

These community-based extracurricular activities allow students to contribute to the betterment of their communities, fostering civic responsibilities, awareness of social issues of both small and large scale, and a sense of self-fulfillment. 

Experience in community service is also deemed invaluable by many universities, as a vast majority of schools consider the willingness and commitment to community contribution a very positive factor amongst applications. 

10. Preparing for Your Future Career

There are so many ways extracurricular activities help your career. Some extracurricular activities provide insights into potential career paths, allowing students to explore different fields of interest before making career choices.

For another, many extracurricular activities help you pick up transferable skills that are valuable in the professional world, making you a more well-rounded and desirable candidate. 

Certain extracurricular activities, such as clubs, organizations, or internships focused on a specific field or industry, provide you with experience specific to a particular industry. This experience can give you a deeper understanding of the industry, build relevant skills, and make you more competitive when applying for jobs.

How Important Are Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions?

College admissions almost always request you to submit information about your extracurricular activities. Many parts of your application could use your experiences in extracurricular activities, such as your essay, achievements and awards, interests, etc. These all answer how important extracurricular activities are for college. 

Although academic performance and test results hold significance, universities also seek to understand the person you’re growing into and the proficiencies gained beyond academics. They aim to discover your distinctive qualities and the extracurricular engagements that set you apart from others.

Admissions committees closely review the extra-academic activities listed on your college application when deciding whether to give an offer of admission. Therefore, extracurricular activities are a key part of the admission decision-making process and can be the difference between acceptance and rejection.

FAQs: Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important?

Still have unanswered questions about the benefits of extracurricular activities? The FAQs may help you!

1. What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Extracurricular Activities?

Extracurricular activities help you hone various skills, knowledge, and values essential to life. They also help you connect with others and expand your network. One potential disadvantage is they may be time-consuming, so effective time-management skills are required.

2. How Do Extracurriculars Help Me With College Admissions?

Not only do extracurriculars help you develop skills and talents, but they also showcase that you are a well-rounded applicant with independence and commitment to your development. Extracurricular activities also prove many values and qualities the admission committee seeks in an applicant.

3. Do Extracurriculars Affect GPA?

As long as they don’t get in the way of studying, extracurriculars can help your GPA by enforcing the lessons learned in the classroom and providing a hands-on experience to practice your skills and knowledge,  leading to enhanced academic performance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, extracurricular activities are vital to a student's holistic development. Beyond academics, they provide skills-building opportunities, personal growth, community engagement, and many more. The benefits of extracurricular activities are as invaluable as they are numerous.

One last tip to give is: don’t make participation the purpose! Rather than joining an activity solely because you believe it boosts your chances of college admission, join an activity because you enjoy it or genuinely believe you can get something valuable out of the experience. Have fun! 

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