The Importance of Extracurricular Activities for Adolescents

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From a tender age, adolescents are advised to enjoy life and experience the most out of it. Stressors similar to school and jobs consistently prohibit teenagers from the enjoyment of life, establishing a barrier that typically takes time to defeat. Extracurriculars provide adolescents with an out from real-word perspectives and provide them with meticulous characteristic developments that are life-changing. Guidance counselors and school officials must empower adolescent involvement in extracurriculars to establish learning experiences like no other.

Test scores are vital to an adolescent's education. It is the root that determines most choices in education and shows how knowledgeable and individual is. Research has shown that extracurriculars play a crucial role in school performance. Adolescents that are involved in extracurriculars have proven to show an increase in overall school performance, ranging from increased test scores to maintained school attendance. Taking part in extracurriculars held in schools provides most teens with support or a boost to excel in performance. While not commonly interpreted, increased test scores show a passion for school and a desire to learn. According to June Kronholz, 'The National Center for Education Statistics, in its own analysis of the longitudinal or NELS data, found that high-school seniors who were involved in school activities were less likely to cut class and play hooky than kids who weren't involved. Three times as many had a GPA of 3.0 or higher; twice as many scored in the top quarter on math and reading tests. And 68 percent expected to get a college degree, compared to 48 percent of kids who weren't involved in school activities.' (June Kronholz para.18). Higher test scores, a desire to learn, and maintained attendance is nothing more than a school could ask from an adolescent. Supporting the idea that adolescents should get involved in extracurriculars.

With college applications, come multiple factors that play a role in the admissions process. While test scores are a significant contributor, community and school involvement are essential. Extracurriculars provide these characteristics to display in college applications. Individuals who perform in extracurricular activities are perceived to have a more distinguished boost in college applications. Adolescents who are involved in extracurriculars show characteristics of leadership and passion. College Admissions Officers are intrigued by adolescents who are determined and committed. Adolescents who are responsible and willing to step out of there comfort zone are those who stick out to College Admissions Officers. Extracurricular activities account for thirty percent of application decisions, creating a heavyweight on the admission process of an individual (Crimson Editors University Applications).

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As an adolescent, self-esteem is a valuable characteristic that is essential in the development of life. Having self-worth provides teenagers with an understanding of what pride and triumph are. A bridge between extracurriculars and self-esteem establishes a relationship that is valued as life goes on. Experts claim, 'The more you achieve success through activities you’re passionate about, the more your self-confidence will improve... Working hard and mastering new skills in a fun, relaxed – and sometimes competitive – setting allows you to be successful without the pressure of getting a good grade.' (Crimson Editors Higher Self Esteem). Involvement in extracurricular activities presents teens with the ability to not only feel good about themselves but with the idea of being successful in enjoyable activities.

Extracurricular activities provide adolescents with a fundamental concept that is not easy to access. While we age, we learn essential life skills that help us mature and become adults. Adolescents must involve themselves in extracurricular activities due to the idea that it provides them with the opportunity to learn these life skills at an early age. An opinion given by Jennie Kelly states, 'Teamwork is another part of discipline and a very necessary skill. Understanding how to work well with others can guarantee a lifetime of positive relationships. In extra-curriculars, students learn to encourage others, lift others' spirits, celebrate wins and learn from losses. Teamwork creates a humble nature, when we know that a success is not solely ours to take credit for, just as losses are not only our responsibility.” (Jennie Kelly para. 6). Learning important life skills like problem-solving, teamwork, public speaking, and leading skills will provide a generation of adolescents to achieve and sore in their careers and the workforce.

Most importantly, extracurriculars provide teenagers with the ability to socialize and form social circles. An essential aspect of life is the ability to communicate and come in contact with individuals that share common interests. Socializing is fundamental as an adult; therefore, adolescents becoming involved in extracurriculars provide their mindsets with socializing skills. These socializing skills will allow for a future in the workforce to be comfortable and compatible.

Time management is a resulting factor from extracurriculars. Balancing out school and extracurriculars has shown negative results in adolescent life. A study by Jennifer Fredricks stated, 'Of the 10,000 15- and 16-year-old U.S. children who participated, those who had extracurricular activities that accounted for between one to 13 hours per week of their time actually showed some positive academic effects. However, academic improvement was not present when students were involved for more than 17 hours per week. Those who participated in 10 extracurricular activities each week scored 4 percent lower on their grade average than other children and performed worse than peers who did not participate in extracurricular activities.' (Leyla Norman para. 6). Not only is it a loos of downtime and relaxation but it also leads to high levels of stress within a teenager. In spite of this, stress is natural in adolescent development. When adulting, high levels of stress may range in a variety of spectrums. Being exposed to these levels of stress from an early age will provide for better management in future conditions.

Adolescents must encounter all types of experiences at an early stage of life. Extracurriculars are one of the many ways that developing teenagers can receive important life skills, establish high self-esteem, mature, and many other attributes. Allowing adolescents to obtain these characteristics from youth will provide a future of skilled and knowledgeable individuals to strive in a better society.

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