Why Extracurricular Activities Matter

Drama group, swimming, gymnastics, debate: how do these activities contribute to a student’s academic transcript? More than you think! While colleges will first take into account a student’s tests scores and grades, extracurricular activities provide a complete picture of who the student is and where he’s headed academically.

How to Choose Extracurricular Activities

While it may seem tempting to join choir, baseball, drama, and the debate team, it is to your student’s advantage to select only two or three activities on which to focus. Colleges want to see a level of expertise and dedication that isn’t possible when a student is stretched too thin. In other words, quality over quantity is the rule to choose by!

The ninth grade year is when you can pinpoint your student’s areas of strength and interest. Tenth grade is when you’ll narrow down which extracurricular activities are worth the investment of your time and money. This may be a process of trial and error as your student finds his niche or passion.

What Colleges Look For

Colleges aren’t just looking for participation in an activity; they’re looking for leadership, initiative, and creativity. The longer a student is involved in an activity, the more opportunity there is for him to advance and develop skills in that area. This is why it’s to your advantage to pinpoint these activities within his tenth-grade year.

Once you’ve chosen an activity or two, begin recording every award, accomplishment, or title your student holds. While they may seem insignificant now, these will become very useful when compiling his transcript and resume! Consider these achievements stepping stones to the bigger, better things he’ll be doing down the road.

How Do I Know When to Stop an Activity?

If your student is miserable in the extracurricular activity he’s chosen, there’s no harm in choosing something else! Not everyone needs to be on the debate team to succeed in college or career. The goal is to find activities that contribute to your student’s strengths and give him direction for his future career.

What Kind of Activities Should We Consider?

With so many choices available to homeschool families, how do you choose the right ones? As previously stated, first consider your student’s strengths and interests. Take a career test if he’s unsure of the direction he wants to go. Consider doing some job shadowing and volunteering to get a feel for what he’d like to do long-term. Once you’ve determined his interests, you can narrow down activities to the ones that will provide the most growth.

If your daughter is exceptionally good at English and composition, consider having her join a writer’s group, debate team, or book club. If your son shows an interest in engineering, consider a robotics club or having him tutor other students in math and physics. If you have an athletic student, try to find an athletic outlet that gains him both experience and exposure, especially if he hopes to attend college on an athletic scholarship.

Your time—and your students—is limited, and therefore precious. It’s important that you invest it in activities that provide a worthwhile return!

If you have questions about extracurricular activities, email [email protected] or jump on our Facebook group here.

Information taken from the Huffington Post.