Extra-curricular Activities Are Important For Students

Extracurricular activities?

Extracurricular activities? (Photo credit: ksevik)


Many parents and students do not understand the importance of extra-curricular activities.  Over the years I have had to persuade a number of parents to allow their children to continue participating in extra-curricular activities, because they felt that these activities distracted their offspring from their academic work.  This scenario tended to unfold either when a student was struggling academically or when the student wanted to focus totally on academics, to the exclusion of everything else.  They felt that extra-curricular involvement was a waste of precious time and that it caused their children to get home too late in the evening.

Nothing could be further from the truth than this notion of wasting time.  Academic subjects and extra-curricular activities complement each other and develop a well-rounded, socially skilled, and healthier student.  There are so many possible extra-curricular activities that each student can choose one that appeals to him or her personally.  Activities range from athletics, various sports, scouts, girl guides, debating, music and  chess to paramilitary groups like the cadets.  This list is not even exhaustive.  Some students choose more than one pursuit.

Extra-curricular activities help to develop the whole student.  We cannot just produce one-dimensional students in our schools.  Many students use their skills in extra-curricular activities like athletics or sports and their academic ability to gain athletic or sports scholarships to various universities.  Numerous students from my former school are granted athletic scholarships to American universities in this way.

Researchers like Massoni, Erin ( 2011 ) and others have listed many benefits derived from participation in extra-curricular activities at school.  I have seen the same benefits among my former students.  Let us consider some of them.

Students who are involved in extra-curricular pursuits tend to improve their academic grades as well.  This may be due to increased self-esteem, motivation and better time management.  They become better organized in the classroom.  They demonstrate a reduction of at-risk behavior and a heightened sense of belonging, resulting in better behaviour.

They learn useful new skills from their chosen activity, and in integrating these activities into their everyday school lives, they learn time management, critical thinking, teamwork and social skills.  They develop life-long relationships with their peers and learn how to lead others.  These skills will be beneficial in later life and in the workplace.

Extra-curricular activities also foster a sense of commitment to a cause or purpose and they reduce selfish behaviour.  Students become more marketable in the workplace.

Through the avenue of extra-curricular activities students find it much easier to gain admission into universities.  Modern universities are more interested in recruiting students who have something to offer besides academic qualifications.  They seek out students who can make a contribution in other areas to the university and the society at large.  Many universities and some schools make money and gain prestige through their extra-curricular engagement in various arenas.

Hopefully, more parents and students will see the importance of extra-curricular activities and diversify and deepen their interests and hobbies.  The whole society will benefit.  Finally, as one of my readers, AKGM, commented below: “A lot of careers are built directly from hobbies.”

53 thoughts on “Extra-curricular Activities Are Important For Students

  1. Sir, I could not agree with you more regarding the vital nature of being involved in some meaningful way in one’s schools’ extracurricular programme.
    I’m not aware of any considerable amount of research here re the extent to which such involvement is undermined by children living two bus-rides away from the school to which they have been allocated? I’m sure you are very well aware that there are many students who do not get involved in these activities precisely because of the considerable distance they live from the school to which they have been allocated.
    The possible time-tabling of such activities within the school day will inevitably be met with the issue of the “loss of teaching time”.
    School allocation may well turn out to be the very undoing of that which you rightfully identify as being indispensable to the fostering and development of the essential skills you point out in your article.
    It just may be that “the whole society will benefit” from an abandonment of the present system of segregation…oops…I meant, of course, “allocation”…do forgive me, sir.
    I congratulate you once again on your creation and commitment to this educational blog.


    • I appreciate your support and your incisive insight into this topic, sir. I, too, have called for the abolition of the present system of allocation of students to secondary schools, in a previous blog post.


  2. I really enjoyed this post. I was talking to my colleague in Thailand about extra curricular activities here. Things like band involvement and participation in scouts/guides/cadets are big at this school while the standard of academics at this school and in Thailand in general, is extremely low. One argument against is that these activities cut into class time, however I think it helps students make friends and build confidence. Particularly students who are not academically inclined, but are allowed to pursue other activities in which they do show talent. Additionally, for a lot of these students, who mostly come from farming backgrounds, the ability to cook a good meal on fire, or make a structure out of bamboo will be more useful to them than some of the academic things they are obligated to learn.
    A final thought, a lot of careers are built directly from hobbies.


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  4. Just came across this old post of yours. Could not agree more. But maybe we’re biased, since most of what we’ve done in Allendale, SC (one of the most impoverished counties in the US) has been after school & summer camp programs. 🙂


    • This has been one of my most popular posts and I am glad that you are of the same mind. I have seen extra-curricular activities enrich the lives and careers of many former students, and keep others on the Biblical straight and narrow path.


  5. Great post sir!!! your blog is very informative.
    students engaged in extra-curricular activities tend to reduced behavior problems for they show discipline in drills, practices, and routines and they have a responsibility to perform those tasks correctly.They got higher grades and positive attitudes towards the school and it gives positive aspects that students need to become productive students and adults. It molds a student holistically.


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  7. Wow. this post will help a lot of parents understand the importance of extracurriculur activities, and its influence over children all over the world. I myself am a student and feel that nothing could be more true.


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  11. Impressive one but not only the fault of parents,students must also try to involve in extracurricular activities most of them are now interested in playing games in mobile and mostly wastes time in watching television.NICE READING YOUR ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!. I just expressed my view i don’t about others.


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  13. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.


  14. Thanks for the article about ecas. I find it interesting that every educational establishment seems to have an eca or co-curricular programme, and its almost universally acknowledged that ecas play a vital role in education -but its very difficult to actually quantify such things. As an eca coordinator in a secondary school i am sometimes asked how i go about ensuring that the activities delivered are of a high quality. Could you recommend any academic articles that might help me to find out how this can be done?


    • I cannot recommend any at this point. I usually look for empirical evidence which indicates success, such as students’ growing ability to combine their academic work with their ecas., students’ personal gains in self-discipline, physical fitness and health, school success in winning or improving in inter-school track and field and other sports competitions, and improvement in the academic arena. These achievements often lead to an increase in the number of students who get athletic or sports scholarships every year and those who get into universities or jobs more easily because they have something to offer apart from academic qualifications and are more rounded and mature. This also works for non-athletic ecas.


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