Extracurricular activities or EAs are of utmost importance in the lives of high school students. They promote and develop interpersonal skills because they involve meeting new people as well as communicating with them.
More importantly, EAs make the college application forms of high schoolers look more appealing and exciting to college admissions officers.
So, in other words, participating in an EA makes it possible for a student to have a productive and meaningful high school life. At the same time, it increased his or her chances of getting admitted to college.
So, what is considered an extracurricular activity? Put simply, any activity outside the class that you actively and productively engage in can be regarded as an EA. It can be associated with your high school, like an academic club, student government, or athletic team. It can also be separate from your high school, such as volunteer work or internship.
This does not mean, however, that just about anything that you engage in, whether associated with your high school or not, can be considered as an EA.
It may appear like activity is an EA when, in fact, it’s just a hobby. There are many hobbies that some high school students tend to mistake for EAs. One of the things that separate EAs from hobbies is that EAs allows you to meet people. Most of the time, they also enable you to have an impact on others.
Hobbies, on the other hand, are activities whose benefits and effects are more focused on you. Although it is important to note that some hobbies can be considered as EAs, too. We will shed light upon this later on.
Keep on reading to know some of the most important matters that you need to know about EAs. Don’t forget to share this article on social media after reaching its end.
This is especially true if you have high school friends who are planning on getting accepted to the colleges from which they wish to get their degrees.
Why Extracurricular Activities Can Help You Get to College
Think again if you believe that colleges only consider grades and scores when choosing which high school graduates they should accept. Impressive numbers on your application form are not the only ones that can get you admitted.
Definitely, it matters a lot that you did well in high school. Such can be evidenced by your high grades and scores on various exams throughout high school. Some common examples are American College Testing or ACT and Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT.
The kinds of tests and the number of tests for high school students vary from country to country. However, one thing stays true: most of the time, having fantastic grades and exam scores is not enough.
College admissions officers also take a good look at the area on your application where EAs that you engaged in while in high school are enumerated.
No, there is no need for you to have an incredibly long list of EAs. We will talk more about this matter later on in this article. So make sure that you don’t stop reading now.
If you want to be admitted to the college of your dreams, EAs can help make that come true. That’s because college admission officers are looking for students who can do more than topping classes and exams.
Students that can offer more things other than those that are taking place inside the classrooms are gladly welcomed by colleges. That’s because they tend to become more successful later on in their lives.
Most of them end up as politicians, scientists, athletes, and CEOs. Colleges get a massive image boost if prominent persons used to be their students.
Participating in various extracurriculars in high school can help you be welcomed to the college that you like. Also, it can help you reap success after getting your college diploma and degree.
The Different Benefits of Engaging in Extracurricular Activities
Certainly, one of the main benefits of participating in EAs is that it can help you get admitted to the college that you like. However, the perks of being involved with EAs can go beyond that.
Refrain from assuming that it is in college when you get to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. It is during your high school years when it usually takes place.
This is especially true when you are deciding which among your EA options you are interested in. In other words, those EAs not only allow you to attend the college that you want. They also allow you to one day excel in the career that you want.
Let us take a look at some of the reasons why engaging in extracurricular activities can benefit you as a high school student:
Improved grades and scores
Yes, college admissions officers indeed check out not only your academic performance. They also take a good look at your list of EAs.
However, it will also help increase your chances of getting admitted by having impressive grades and high school exam scores. Participating in EAs can help you do that.
It’s because it can improve the functioning of your brain. It can help increase concentration and sharpen memory, both of which are important for graduating high school with flying colors.
However, it is a good idea to avoid engaging in more EAs than you can. That’s because EAs may get in the way of your studies.
Being a part of various extracurricular activities allows you to know which things in life you are passionate about or interested in the most. This makes it possible for you to see what you want to do later on in your life.
More importantly, engaging in EAs allows you to have an idea which college course you should choose in order to make your dream come true.
So, in other words, having EAs allow you to know in the present what you want to be in the future.
Increased chances of being successful
Aside from your college application form, extracurricular activities can also make your resume look better. This can come in handy, especially when it’s time for you to apply for a job after graduating from college.
Having EAs also lets you build connections with people, many of whom may be able to help you with having a career in the future. For instance, are you dreaming about becoming a politician one day?
Then partaking in an EA that allows you to help the community can make it possible for you to get into office. That’s because the people whose lives you touched could be the same people who will vote for you one day.
Obtained essential life skills
Extracurricular activities not only help you get to college and impact the community in a positive way. The fact is that it also allows you to learn as well as develop various skills, many of which you will need later on in life.
This is especially true after graduating from college and starting your life as a professional. Managing time wisely, communicating with others, being a leader, working as a team member, and solving problems are just some of the important life skills that you may learn.
The more EAs that you engage in, the more skills that you get to learn and improve.
Lowered stress levels
No one ever said that high school life would be easy. There are so many stressors that can come your way throughout your high school years.
Being stressed all the time can have an unfavorable impact on your mental performance as well as physical health. You don’t want that to happen as your grades may suffer.
Luckily, engaging in EAs helps lower your stress levels. That’s because it allows you to focus on other things aside from being a high school student.
As you can see, it’s not just being admitted to your preferred college that engaging in various EAs can bring. It can also give you everything that you will need to be a good high school student and a successful adult.
Extracurricular Activities are Not Hobbies That You Do
Some people assume that just about anything that they like doing can be regarded as an EA. If you are one of them, you will be upset to learn that something that you love to take part in does not necessarily count as an EA that you can put on your college application form.
There is a huge difference between extracurricular activities and hobbies. Again, EAs are activities that you perform inside and outside the campus that have a common denominator. It’s none other than it has a positive effect on the people around you.
On the other hand, hobbies are activities that you do because you find them interesting as well as engaging. Needless to say, hobbies are those that impact you and nobody else.
Fret not if you have a lot of hobbies and not a lot of EAs that you are engaging in. It’s because you can also put your hobbies on your college application form.
Doing so allows college admissions officers to have an idea of activities that you love doing. This allows them to see if you are what they are looking for to achieve variety.
So keep on doing things that you are interested in as they can help your college application form appear more interesting and appealing.
Here’s one more good news: some of your hobbies can be considered as extracurricular activities. It is possible for an activity that affects you positively to be turned into something that can have a favorable impact on others.
For instance, you love applying makeup using various techniques as they help you look your best. What’s more, it helps you boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
You may come up with a YouTube channel (or a podcast) and post your different makeup solutions while at the same time earn some cash if your channel is monetized. The moment that you post videos of your makeup tutorials on YouTube is when a simple hobby can become an EA.
Clearly, your hobby is changing the lives of women, in particular those who feel that they are not beautiful enough. For best results, make women who are suffering from acne and scars due to accidents your target viewers.
Needless to say, if you are having a hard time looking for some EAs to engage in, you may check out which of your hobbies that you can turn from a pastime to an EA. What’s so nice about this is that you get to have an EA that you are already passionate about, thus allowing you to excel in it.
Common Examples of Extracurricular Activities That You May Give a Try
Even if you don’t have hobbies that seem like they can be turned into EAs, there is no need to worry that your college application form may not look as interesting and impressive to college admissions offices.
This is because there are so many different EAs for you to choose from out there.
When EAs are mentioned, a lot of high school students immediately think of activities that are academic in nature. Well, they are right to think so. That’s because there is an endless list of academic EAs to choose from.
There are clubs for math, biology, astronomy, physics, English, poetry, literature, writing, history, economics, and robotics.
Various academic competitive teams exist, too. Some common examples include spelling bee, history bee, science Olympiad, math league, science fair, and academic triathlon.
Speech, political, and governmental EAs come aplenty as well. Some of those that you can choose from are debate, foreign affairs, model congress, student council, and community youth board.
If you are into media, arts, and performance, you have so many options. They range anywhere from the school newspaper, yearbook committee, website design, photography, woodworking, drama club, school chorus, marching band, dance, and a comedy club.
There are also tons of sports and recreational EAs available for you to partake in during your high school years. Some of them include basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, soccer, swimming, water polo, track and field, golf, gymnastics, hiking, climbing, martial arts, cheerleading, bodybuilding, and yoga.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, EAs are not only those that can be associated with your high school. As a matter of fact, there are various ones outside of the campus that you may engage in.
They include blogging, tutoring, mentoring, working with a local charity, volunteering at an animal shelter, and partaking in outreach programs.
As you can see, there are so many EAs from various fields and interests that you can choose from. Aside from those that are already in existence in your high school, it is also possible for you to start your own club.
If your school does not offer or sponsor something that you believe can benefit high school students, you may approach the administration to discuss your plan on being the founder of a club. This will surely look awesome on your college application form!
The Number of Extracurricular Activities That You Should Have
Since EAs play pivotal roles in enhancing your interpersonal skills, establishing networks, and getting admitted to college, it may seem like it’s a good idea to engage in as many EAs inside and outside the campus.
However, refrain from assuming that the more EAs that you list on your college application form, the better your chances of being welcomed by college admissions officers.
A college application form has ten slots available for EAs. For many high school students, engaging in 10 EAs can be quite overwhelming and challenging. That’s because dividing their time among many EAs, as well as classes, exams, and projects, can be exhausting and impossible at times.
Refrain from being tempted to write something on each of the ten slots for EAs on your college application form just for the sake of completing all of them.
If you were actually successful in having as many as 10 EAs throughout your high school life, then feel free to state all of them.
However, it’s not a good idea to mention 10 EAs just for the sake of filling out all ten slots in the hope of impressing college admissions officers. Quite frankly, it doesn’t work that way.
College admissions officers expect applicants to write five to six extra curricular activities on their application forms. Yes, they do not really require applicants to list ten different EAs.
What they want to see on your college application form are EAs that you were really passionate about. Make sure that you mention those that you engaged in throughout your high school life.
Definitely, you can impress college admissions officers more if you include EAs that you have founded, or changed or improved either by being an officer or a highly active participant.
As a matter of fact, you may only place one EA on your college application form. This is provided that the EA is something that you have tremendously influenced and, in turn, influenced others.
Before You Look for Extracurricular Activities to Participate In
The importance of engaging in EAs in high school cannot be stressed enough. It is something that can have a positive effect on you in the present as a high school student, and in the future as a member of the community.
Being involved in EAs can also increase your chances of getting admitted to the college of your dreams. A promising career starts not after getting your college diploma and degree, but while you are in high school.
You can choose from many different EAs. Look for those that you are interested in, and you believe can change your life as well as the lives of others around you for the better.
As much as possible, engage and contribute to them as much as you can until the day that you graduate from high school.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.