Finding Balance: Why Extracurricular Activities are Vital for Students
Although social distancing measures of the COVID-19 crisis have limited in-person extracurricular activities in Minneapolis and beyond for the short-term future, these pursuits remain an important part of child development. As you plan for your kids to return to school later this year, explore the benefits of afterschool activities and encourage your children to sign up for both old favorites and exciting new challenges.
Improvement In Grades
While parents may have concerns about extracurriculars taking time away from regular course work, research has shown a correlation between high academic performance and participation in activities. The reasons for this effect are unclear but are likely associated with improved time management and concentration skills developed through sports and clubs. For example, a student who takes part in an afterschool club will have to schedule a time for homework in the evening.
Students who join school clubs also tend to have more school spirit and a positive attitude toward academics that will serve them well through high school, college, and beyond. According to data reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, participants in extracurricular activities are more likely than students who do not participate in:
- Have perfect attendance in class with no unexcused absences
- Plan to go to college to earn at least a bachelor’s degree
- Place in the 75th percentile or above on math and reading assessments
- Have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (B)
Set Your Student Up for Better College Prospects
According to the College Board, colleges and universities are impressed by students who shine in extracurricular activities as well as academics. As your child enters high school, building a portfolio of strong extracurricular interests will result in a stronger college application. For example, students can demonstrate a commitment to teamwork with sports participation or leadership skills by serving on student government. Many clubs also provide scholarship opportunities for participants at the high school level, which can help families cover the rising costs of college tuition.
Explore New Interests and Untapped Skills
From photography to chess club to cheerleading, students can find clubs to suit most of their existing interests. Extracurricular activities also provide a low-cost, low-pressure way for kids to explore something new. In fact, broadening one’s interests can even lead to a new path of study, college major, or career. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University reports that extracurriculars help students develop soft skills, like public speaking and networking, that will eventually contribute to career success.
They Can Expand Your Child’s Social Circle
If your child is interested in making new friends and meeting new people, a club or sport can be a great way to connect with others who have similar interests. The teamwork and cooperation required for sports and other afterschool activities help students develop these critical social skills, particularly during the middle school years. When you are planning a move to a new area, switching your child to a private school, or simply preparing for the graduation from middle school to high school, encouraging your kids to seek out interesting extracurricular opportunities within the new community is important. Doing so can enhance adjustment and create a sense of belonging that improves a teen’s self-esteem.
Learn About Extracurricular Activities We Offer Students at Beacon Academy Today!
Families in the Minneapolis area who are seeking new educational opportunities should consider Beacon Academy, a tuition-free charter school in Crystal for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In addition to a comprehensive academic curriculum that complies with state grade-level standards, we offer a diverse range of nearly two dozen extracurricular activities, including but not limited to band, drama club, volleyball, floor hockey, and yearbook. Whatever your child’s interests, we are ready to prepare him or her for the rigors of high school life. Contact us today to learn more about Beacon Academy, schedule a tour, or begin the admissions process for your student.