There was a time when it was pretty rare for students to do anything besides studies. Extracurricular activities were not really part of their lives and they were not even expected to focus on much except their school work. Today high school students need to get involved with activities apart from their academics in order to pad their resumes. They know that colleges no longer consider students to be simply a set of grades and extracurricular activities are a great way of showing your personality and determination as an individual. It shows your interests and skills you have.
Competition, today, is pretty tough and you need to gain an edge on the numerous other students applying for the same program and having similar test scores. Extracurricular activities are one such way of doing so, and these are not important only during high school but later on in college as well. And these do not have to be just school-sponsored ones. What is it about getting involved in pursuits outside the classroom that makes it so important to you as well as your college?
Demonstrates your interests
The activities you get involved with show your interests. If you have continuously been working for the betterment of education it shows that you care for the country and its people. You consider education a vital requirement and right of every individual and that this right should not depend on their affordability. Or if it is animal abuse you are working against it shows you have a soft spot for these other beings we share our planet with yet use them inhumanely for our wants. You understand that they also feel pain, both physical and mental, and want to protect them. Yet another example could be of joining the student government through which your leadership skills can be gauged while your dance classes can show your appreciation towards art.
Shows your capability
How well can you manage your time to not become an all-work-and-no-play Jack? Getting involved with activities outside the classroom shows that you managed to take breaks from studies and, rather than keeping your nose to the grindstone, you joined the literature society or got involved with an on-campus campaign against animal abuse. It shows you care about something else as well. It shows you are capable of having fun and are versatile enough to not just be buried in books and be fine tuning essays but also look around yourself.
You gain new skills
When you get involved in new activities that you are not regularly into, you manage to get new skills which can prove to be important later on and awaken new interests in you. For instance, you were never into sports at a younger age simply because you never went into the field or played anything for no reason, not because you do not like it. And when you recently tried out swimming or basketball because your friend is on the team and she took you along, you enjoyed it. So much so, that you decided to learn it properly.
There, you have managed to learn a new thing. Or if you joined student government you gain leadership skills because of all the managing and directing you were supposed to do. This could certainly prove to be an asset when you start looking for work. Volunteering at a hospital or old age home shows your dedication to help people. If you have a part time job during college you gain hands-on experience of the professional world and it demonstrates that you are quite capable of multitasking. This is always worthwhile when you are looking for employment after your graduation.
You feel involved
Several studies, one of which was conducted by the Ohio University in 2008, have shown that taking part in extracurricular activities connects you to your campus. Students feel involved and enjoy their time there, and therefore prefer staying there and completing their program rather than transferring elsewhere or dropping out. And this is not only limited to the campus, but such students also end up making more friends, perform better at academics and adjust easily.
Expand their network
When you get involved in activities outside your classroom you meet new people. You get to know those who are not directly concerned with your academics. You expand your network. More doors open up to new possibilities which prove to be beneficial not only during college time but later on as well. Think of your first day, or even week, at a college. You probably did not know more than a handful of people. With time you acquainted yourself with everyone in your class. As you got involved with campus activities and joined societies you got to know more and more people and built up a network. Building connections is very crucial and go a long way.
You can earn some extra cash
Image source: 2001-John-Deere-5310-eQuip Sells it
College students are, more often than not, trying to save up money or find ways to earn some. Majority are already in debt due to student loans they have taken to fund their studies. Taking further debt on top of that to fund your daily expenses is not a good idea. By taking up a part time job instead you allow some breathing space for your wallet. Not only are you gaining work experience but also manage to avoid student debt, by funding your other expenses through your paycheck.
It certainly does not matter what activities you get involved with – as long as they are legal, of course! Whether you consider joining a music band, or let yourself loose in the baseball field or a dance floor, volunteer at an animal shelter or simply play a challenging game of chess, even start a small home garden for growing organic vegetables for dinner salad or go to Uncle Tom’s cotton farm in Texas where you learn cotton picking or operating machines. Each of these will benefit you, not just during those times but in the long run too. Do not think twice before planning to go for extracurricular activities. But this does not mean you overspend your time for such activities and neglect your studies.