Extracurricular activities are anything you do outside of your school work that is not directly class-related. The most common extracurriculars are:
- Sports team: 6.7%
- Volunteer work: 22.9%
- Paid job: 32.5%
- Other: 35.6%
As high schoolers, the pressure is high to pad college applications with extracurricular activities in hopes that such displays of well-roundedness will tip the admissions scales towards acceptance. But extracurriculars have other benefits as well.
Research conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that participation in extracurriculars has a positive correlation to student attendance, GPA, test scores, and educational goals. Extracurricular activities have also been linked to the improvement of communication and leadership skills. And when it comes to landing a job, extracurriculars help you gain key skills and experiences.
Academic Benefits of Extracurriculars
- High School – Studies show that high school students who engage in extracurricular activities have higher indicators of school success and SAT test scores. In fact, a study found that participation in extracurriculars increased SAT math scores by 45 points and SAT verbal scores by 53 points.
- College – The results of a research study at California State University, Sacramento, showed that college students involved in extracurricular activities consistently outperformed students not involved in extracurriculars.
- MBA Program – In a survey of more than 150 business schools, researchers discovered that participation in extracurricular activities allowed graduate students to learn skills that benefited both their professional and academic careers.
Benefits of Extracurriculars for New Grads
Your academic transcript may be what gets your foot in the door, but relevant experience is one of the most important factors that employers look for when making hiring decisions. The biggest challenge for recent graduates is being able to show relevant experience.
The good news is, relevant experience isn’t limited to professional work experience. Extracurricular activities such as volunteering also qualify, while an internship is far and away the most valuable extracurricular to have on your resume.
The following infographic explores the value of extracurriculars, from academic success to landing your dream job.