5 Common Extracurricular Activities and Why They’re Important

5 min to read
A high school student enjoying an outdoor gathering

A student’s success is all about good grades and achieving high test scores, right? Not necessarily. Many aspects of crucial student development happen outside the classroom.

Let’s talk about the benefits of extracurricular activities and how to help your student get started in activities that may interest them. Plus, we’ll look at the specific benefits of five common extracurricular activities.

What Are Extracurricular Activities?

Extracurricular activities in high school are endeavors pursued by students outside of their regular course of study. These are activities that a student chooses to do for fun or because it’s something they have an interest in.

The list of extracurricular options available for students is endless. It ranges from more traditional activities like sports or art to projects like starting their own podcast or business.

Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important?

Having plans outside of school may be about fun and expanding interests, but how do extracurricular activities help students and how important are they when it comes to preparing for college? Extracurriculars are one of the many factors that colleges look at when it comes to admissions decisions. Admissions offices like to see that a student is involved in their community and has interests beyond the classroom. Additionally, if a student has less-than-stellar performance in school, extracurriculars can help round out their resume.

How Can Students Balance Extracurriculars with School?

The best way to integrate new activities is to start slow. Choose one extracurricular that interests your student and go from there. Once you’ve figured out how to balance their schedule, consider adding additional activities.

When it comes to getting started with activities outside of school, the earlier the better. If a student stays involved in an activity throughout their high school years, it shows commitment and may allow them to grow into leadership positions within that activity.

When a student’s schedule fills up with classes and other activities, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Create a calendar or schedule to plan out what needs to be done and when. Include school days, meetings, practices, games, etc. Be sure to schedule the extracurriculars around the student’s classes and leave plenty of time for studying.

Online students participate in extracurricular activities in high school. 

5 Common Extracurricular Activities and Their Benefits


Participating in sports has numerous benefits for students, including better concentration, higher grades, and even an overall better quality of life, according to a study conducted by the Technical University of Munich. Team sports can also help build teamworking and problem-solving skills, as well as develop communication skills that will help with all aspects of life.

Special interest clubs

Community theater. Culture clubs. The list goes on. Special interest clubs and classes are among the most impressive extracurricular activities. No matter what your student’s interests are, you can likely find a club, group, or class where they will thrive. And if not, make your own! For example, you can connect with other parents or teachers to set up a travel club where students explore new cultures—or a hiking club where students explore local trails.

Groups and clubs designed for students allow them to make friends and practice vital social skills while pursuing a favorite hobby or activity. This also helps foster feelings of pride and competence, which helps boost self-esteem and confidence for the important years ahead.

Part-time jobs or internships

When students are old enough, having a part-time job can be a very productive experience. It’s a fast-track to learning responsibility, managing time, conversing with adults, and can offer students a glimpse into the “real world.” However, as a rule of thumb, working 20 hours or less is best for students, as they still need time to concentrate on their studies and other activities. If a student’s grades start to suffer, it may be time to rethink the schedule or cut back on work hours.

Internships are another impressive extracurricular that can help your student learn more about a specific career field or industry. Many students go into college having no idea what they want to study, and an internship can give them a leg up and  demonstrate initiative.

The arts

Music and art education can bring immense benefits to students of all ages. From an early age, music education can help a child’s academic performance and social skills—and it also provides an outlet of creativity for building confidence and overall development.

When looking at the importance of extracurricular activities, creativity is a huge asset for rounding out college applications or making any future plans. Students who are drawn to the arts—including band, orchestra, choir theater, drama, and others—are often open-minded and tend to think outside the box. These qualities come in handy no matter what a student’s plans are after high school. 


Volunteer work or community service is often a must-have for college applications. If your student is looking for volunteer work, have them consider what they’re passionate about. If they love teaching, look for opportunities to tutor younger students or those who may be struggling. If they love animals, look for open volunteer positions at your animal rescue organizations. If your student is musical, you can even volunteer to perform at your local senior center.

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