Growing up, I’ve seen a lot of people around me indulge in extra-curricular activities, whether it’s at school, or after school hours. I too, have participated in my fair share of activities to fuel my creative desires, or get a little break from all the studying. However, with time, as my focus shifted more towards academics, the extra-curriculars also lessened. Between the two, the choice was obvious. However, when it came to college applications (especially for the universities abroad), extra-curricular activities became an important skill to make your chances of making admission easier. These situations, over the years, have become a topic of discussion, to understand how extra-curricular activities can impact your learning. Let’s find out.
Extra-curricular activities are defined as activities that are “engaged in outside of the standard course of study.” On the other hand, they are a little more complicated when it comes to college applications; they need a constant time commitment, a level of responsibility and initiative, and, in the best situations, a level of leadership not displayed in the classroom. These activities can include anything starting from playing your favourite musical instruments, sports, or learning new courses. Your extracurricular activities' sincerity and passion are far more significant than their difficulty or grandeur.
This is why it's critical to begin creating your extra-curriculars as early as possible, and not just in high school. Having a lot of extra-curriculars on your application but no long-term commitments or leadership responsibilities informs admissions officers that you joined groups or started initiatives just to fill up your activities list before applying to institutions. A narrower list of extra-curricular activities that demonstrate a longer-term commitment and progressive responsibility is far more useful than a longer list of activities in which you have simply dabbled.
Some benefits of extra-curricular activities are:
1. Enhanced Academic Performance
Some students and parents alike are concerned that extra-curricular activities will divert too much time from their homework, lowering their results. Nevertheless, the fact is that extracurricular activities can actually increase your grades and improve your attitude toward school in general.
Participating in activities that you enjoy can improve your brain function, concentration, and time management, all of which contribute to higher grades. High-intensity sports, for example, will teach you how to concentrate and build stamina in the face of adversity. This provides you a leg up on the competition when it comes to studying and tests.
2. Broaden Perspectives And Explore Interests
You'll be able to explore a variety of interests and discover passions you didn't know you possessed if you participate in a variety of activities. Diversifying your interests also broadens your perspective on the world.
3. Improved Self-Esteem
The more success you have in activities you enjoy, the more confident you will become. Working hard and learning new abilities in a pleasant, easygoing – and occasionally competitive – environment helps you to succeed without the pressure of a good grade. Plus, as your self-esteem grows, you'll be more willing to take risks in all areas of your life.
4. Social Skills
Let's face it, establishing connections is difficult, but one of the simplest methods to do it is through extra-curricular activities. Each extra-curricular activity you participate in gives you another chance to extend your social network, which will come in handy when the time to hunt for a job comes. Furthermore, if you develop friends in your extra-curricular activities, you'll be more likely to become more involved.
5. Essential Life-Skills
One of the most valuable benefits of extracurricular activities is the development of "real-world" skills. These abilities include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Setting objectives
• Organise your time
• Resolving issues
• Thinking analytically
• Public speaking
Some drawbacks of extra-curricular activities include:
1. Time Management
One of the most crucial elements that students must consider before making any commitments is time management. Not all pupils have the same ability to complete tasks in a given amount of time.
As a result, if you take your time to get things done, choosing an activity that demands a lot of energy and hours may cause you problems. This may have an impact on your academic performance.
This would further cause your educational experience to gradually deteriorate. You can, however, address this issue by choosing an activity that helps you to control your time. Once or twice a week, for example, you could focus on your extracurricular hobby.
2. Interest VS Capability
Extra-curricular activities necessitate time commitments because they occur outside of the regular school day. As a result, while picking an extracurricular activity, the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not the activity is something that interests you. For example, if you dislike dancing, even if it has a lot of potential, you would barely make it. As a result, if you chose something out of the blue, without any enthusiasm or passion for the activity, you will be wasting your time.
3. How Much Is Too Much?
Have you ever felt completely drained of all energy, or had the impression that your day has gone on and on without a break? When you're on a tight, never-ending schedule, you get that sense.
Similarly, when students are forced to follow a strict schedule with little free time, they may get frustrated, tired, and exhausted. As a result, extracurricular activities should be kept to a minimum.
Extra-curricular activities, when planned in alignment with your goals and interests can only add to your learning and build your skills. They do not limit what you’ve learned, unless they are a lot in number, leaving you no time for rest and recovery. Hence, knowing the difference between your interests and capabilities/skills is of utmost importance here.