The majority of high school students participate in some form of extra-curricular activities. In addition to sports and cheer squad, there are opportunities to sign up for a wide range of afterschool clubs, theater and study groups. The immediate benefit of these activities is that it keeps the student engaged and challenged. There are some more surprising benefits of extra-curricular activities to consider:

Increased Self-Respect

Extra-curricular activities can help promote an increased sense of self-respect. That is vital to foster especially with preteen and teen girls. Going out for the cheerleading squad can help a young girl overcome a fear of getting up in front of a crowd. That is a skill set that will help her in every subsequent job interview and board meeting. Highlands School discusses how extracurricular activities build skills which will in turn help children and teens feel confident and capable. The activities all come with goals. Accomplishing those goals provides confidence. That is something every child should have.

Lower Likelihood of Risky Behaviors

When a student signs up for extra-curricular activity, they are instantly becoming part of a group that can provide emotional support for that student. This helps lower the risk of engaging in risky behaviors like alcohol, drug abuse, or sexual activity. When isolated, many teens turn to those behaviors as a way of filling a void. That can lead to serious problems. The Recovery Village talks about how teenage and young adult girls make up larger and larger proportions of heroin use. It could be that participating in extracurricular activities will simply make them too busy to get involved with those bad habits.

Improved Health and Fitness

Extra-curricular activities like cheer and sports can improve the overall health and fitness of teens. They will certainly get in at least one hour a day of physical activity, if not more. Whatever strength building they do at this age will benefit them later on in life especially with issues like bone density. That is something every woman will deal with after a certain age.

Builds Leadership Skills

Whether the activity is on the playing field or the classroom, the teen will be part of a team. That provides the chance to build up their leadership skills. You don’t have to be the captain of the cheer squad or football team to be a leader. Teens can set an example of working hard at practice and doing their best at play. TalentSmart recommends to let teens and children be independent as frequently as possible, as this will help them gain experience leading, but also to learn how to handle making good and bad choices and living with the consequences of each.

Looks Great on a Resume

Once high school starts, the quest for getting into college begins. Academics are a major determining factor for admissions. However, Wisdify explains that extra-curricular activities help create a stronger portrait of that student. They are able to show where the student’s interests are and how they can benefit their chosen course of study. Colleges want students to be role models for their institutions. That means finding well-rounded candidates who are active in their community and schools. Extra-curricular activities can provide that in abundance.

Even though family schedules can get a bit hectic with the inclusion of extra-curricular activities, it will be worth the effort. You want your kids to look back on this time with fondness. All the lessons they’ll be learning will become the foundation for their lives out in “the real world.”