The benefits of extracurricular activities

20 Sep 2022

By Evan Jones 9 min read

HSC success is important but there’s more to high school than just studying. In this guide, we look at how students can benefit from extracurricular activities.

Academic success is important, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of a balanced lifestyle. In our latest guide, we’re looking at why students should include extracurricular activities as part of their schooling.

If you’re into sport or music or involved in the school leadership team, that is the sort of thing that will help you get into a college or get a scholarship."
Danika Smith

Extracurricular activities are basically anything that students participate in outside of the school curriculum. There’s a huge range of activities that fall into this category: they can be solo, team or organisation-based, within the school or run externally, active or passive. Some examples include:

  • Sports: Many students play some sort of sport, whether it’s on the school team or with a local club. Sports can be team-based or solo, and they don’t even necessarily have to be competitive. You don’t have to be the next superstar to enjoy playing sports with your friends.
  • Volunteering: Serving the community can be incredibly rewarding. Examples of volunteer opportunities include fundraising, event organisation and working directly with disadvantaged members of the community.
  • Music and arts: Artistic expression is a vital outlet for many students, and it’s always worth putting time aside for it. Again, you don’t need to be a prodigy, just having a go can be reward enough. Examples include learning an instrument, playing in a group (either through school or outside), taking part in a workshop, or drawing/painting/sculpting just for yourself.

Extracurriculars: the real benefits

It’s clear from the research: extracurricular activities help students in a number of ways. A recent Life Course Centre report states that “adolescents who participate in extracurricular activities have better academic outcomes, more academically oriented and less delinquent peers, reduced risk of substance use, and fewer behavioural problems.” While getting a boost with HSC tuition is always great, there are other ways to help students improve. Let’s break down a few of the main points.

Mental health

 It’s true what they say: being active is good for more than just our physical health. A 2021 study on extracurricular activities states that “exercise is widely recognized as contributing to health and wellness.” It shows that students don’t even need to be actively sporty to get the benefits of an extracurricular sporting activity, they just need to do a little exercise. Sports, though, are always a fun and approachable way to get active, so joining a team or competing can help things along.

The same report also suggests that creative activities across a wide spectrum – from songwriting to just listening to music – have positive impacts. Maintaining a creative pursuit is definitely easier if it’s done as part of a regular activity, such as an art group or performance troupe, and can be another way to give students some extra mental health support. 

Academic boost

There’s plenty of evidence that working on skills outside of the classroom can actually help students with academic achievements. One study from the University of British Columbia noted that students who devoted time to group music needed to develop skills in reading notation, coordinating with others and listening concentration. The study’s co-investigator Martin Guhn said “All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner’s cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy.” 

It’s not just music, either. Pretty much all students who effectively balance school with extracurricular activities will show some academic improvement. Another study suggests that “students who participate frequently in extracurricular activities tend to have higher grades, better test scores, and more positive educational experiences in general.”

Employers and universities love to see it

While extracurricular activities can certainly help students stay grounded and perform better academically in high school, the benefits go further. As our webinar guest speaker Danika Smith notes from personal experience, extracurricular activities can really help when transitioning into university and employment. “If you’re into sport or you’re into music or you’re really involved in the school leadership team, keep that because that is the sort of thing that will help you get into a college or get a scholarship.”

Extracurricular activities can be important to universities and employers because they demonstrate a broad skill set. Often, candidates can be virtually impossible to separate academically, and having some other set of criteria can help them make their decisions. It can also demonstrate evidence of ‘soft skills’ – skills like interpersonal communication – that aren’t judged academically, but are still very important.

Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition: the benefits of HSC tuition with Accel iQ

At Accel iQ, we understand the benefits of a tailored approach to education. Our HSC tuition relies on the vast experience of our tutors, with beneficial programs of Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition. When looking towards university  and future careers, HSC tuition can help set up students for success.

Our Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition is designed to be flexible, engaging and personalised to the learning goals of each student, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed and be their best.

Want to learn more about our Physics, Chemistry and Maths tuition programs? Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how HSC tuition can help set students up for exam success.