“More than half of American teenagers attending school participate in some sort of organized activities” (Wilson 1). Important activities include such as sports, clubs, organizations, dance teams, drill teams, theater, drama club, glee club and etc. Students engaged in activities increased their connection with the school, and when students get involved in extracurricular activities, they feel a stronger bond towards school and connection to the community that most likely lets them experience academic success (Bryan et al. 467). Then students are told that, when it comes to succeeding in school, studying and doing the homework is all there is to it. Therefore, some students tend not to get involved, and instead spend most of their time studying. However, there are students who are involved with extracurricular activities at school and still do great in their studies. These students are still able to attain academic achievement. Participation in extracurricular activities in school improves a student’s success during high school.
Students attend their daily classes at school and raise their grade point average to be able to participate in a sport or activity. “When students take extracurricular activities they are less likely to drop out of school and are more likely to have a higher academic achievement […] Schools do not let students who aren’t getting at 1.5 grade point average play a sport, which usually makes the student work hard to bring his or her grade up to play that sport” (Siegmund). Even then, there is always something that gets in students’ way. “Usually to be involved in any school extracurricular activity there are stipulations such as minimal grade point averages, no discipline referrals and regular attendance in school.” (Wilson 7). The students involved would do their best to behave in class. These students get no discipline referrals and makes sure to attend their daily courses at school. Thus, students who are involved in activities usually do better in school, attendance, behavior and academics. For example, Reeves (p.87) states that students who participate in extracurricular activities have better grades than ones who does not participate. However, there are other ways that students improve academically, such as self-motivation.
Students’ attendance improves by self-motivation from extracurricular activities. “It has been argued that school-based extracurricular contexts are peer-driven and emphasize values that are contrary to academic achievement.” (Fredricks 329). Such as students’ “eligibility to be able to participate in sports may motivate students to do their best academically in order to participate in the activity (Wilson 4). For instance, there is more to extracurricular activities than meets the eye; extracurricular activities can help development the student individually. “The key components of structured extracurricular activities include facilitating intrinsic motivation, empowering the individual, and finding life satisfaction through voluntary choice” (Wilson 23). A lot of people say that participation in activities gives training for the outside world, keeps students in school and develops interest in making friends and help make adjustments in home, college or work (Reeves 86). Other than self motivation there are also other factors that contribute to a person’s increased attendance such as ability to form strong bonds.
When students participate in activities a strong bond is built between the students, school and the adult advisor which encourages the students to show up at school and have a commitment to the organization, thus causing a positive influence in the students’ life, allowing the students to relieve some stress. For example the following describes how participating in a sport team has a positive influence on the life of the students. Stephanie was a 14-year-old eighth grader. Throughout her early school years, her teachers described her as a good student. During fourth grade, Stephanie’s parents separated and she witnessed a lot of conflict in the home. Stephanie’s grades began to slip and her teacher commented that Stephanie was preoccupied with the events occurring in her home life. In sixth grade her grades continued to plummet. In seventh grade, her brother
suggested she become involved in sports. Stephanie enjoyed basketball and she became the captain of the seventh-grade basketball team. When Stephanie was asked what made seventh grade different from sixth grade, she answered, “playing basketball and being the team captain.” She indicated that she plans to continue to play basketball because it has been a positive influence in her life and it gives her an outlet in which to channel some of the negative energy she was experiencing within her home life. As a result of her desired to engage in this sport, she made a conscious effort not to let her family life interfere with her school work. (Cosden et al. 223). Bonds are said to increase the interests of the students, such as academic achievement. Supportive relationships with peers were found to be one of the key factors that have to deal with initial participation (Fredricks 327). When students have a special bond with a teacher or staff, asking for help, asks questions, seeking advice etc., has become easier which increase the student’s success at school and the bond. Presence of “adult relationships” is recognized as a development factor linked to academic and life success (Wilson 16). Increase of attendance and grades is just a couple factors that success helps develops. Skills could also be increased or developed, students be able to manage time and self-perspective.
When students are involved with school activities students learn to manage time to do homework, study, participate in activities and much more. There’s why extracurricular activities are a great benefit for the students involved because students get to learn about time management and prioritizing things in life which is more important to students. Another good benefit is the ability to boost the students’ self-esteem because students out there that feel worthless and have lack of faith in themselves furthermore when students join, the activities gives the students a sense of having talent, providing them with ways where the students can see they shine and boost their self-esteem (Burgess). There’s also a particular study that discussed how a student’s increase in self-conception can help the student’s succeed in high school. Such as participating in sports or any physical activity that influences the mental well-being of the student by reducing the amount of stress the student has on their shoulder, being able to stay in shape, and most of all to feel better about themselves such as the way they look
and the feelings they feel towards themselves (Wilson 11). Teenagers can find that being able to manage time is helpful and makes life more productive afterwards.
When students are able to manage their time, doing many things within a day, they start to see the difference from when they were not able to manage their time and from now where they can, realizing their days are spent doing more efficient, and productive things within a day. Thus increases the amount of successful tasks done and achievements accomplished in students’ daily life. “They learn to manage their time, relieve stress and learn to strive for excellence in more than one thing […] besides being fun and a great way to socialize with peers, extracurricular activities can enhance students’ time management and stress management skills, improving overall productivity” (“I Have a Plan”). Improving in overall productivity allows students “see an improvement in their academic and life skills” (“I Have a Plan”). Study has also shown that involvement in activities just doesn’t improve only overall productivity but also the youth’s communication skills and the will to act responsible.
Students participating in activities get the chance to step out of the comfort zone, to speak up, communicate with strangers and interact with peers. Participating in sports, for example, students learns to work with peers within a group, also with the help of the adult advisor(s) the students’ written and oral communication are improved (“I Have A Plan”). Students participate as a team member develops the ability to communicate well under stress (“The Need for High” 38) as students experience pressure and stress together as a team when the students have come together to play games or matches with other teams. Being involved with sports, students starts to realize the time consumption of participating in a sport team, including practices, games, meets, goal settings, etc. Therefore students learn to work around the eventful schedule and to be responsible for tasks required to be completed and things that students have missed out on, based on decisions students have prioritized and complete.
The schedule of the youth tends to get full as the youth begins to
participate in more than one activity and get involved with the community, thus learning that responsibilities are needed to be taken by the decisions made whether it be doing homework, going to play matches or games, or going to class instead of going on a field trip that is being provided by the organization. “Working around a busy schedule helps a student grow in responsibilities that will benefit them in life” (Siegmund). Students realize the importance and consequences of decisions made and sooner or later will have a decision to be made that will allow participation in one thing at a time. For example, a teenage girl who participated in tennis had a conflict with attending algebra class or attending a tennis match. Being proactive, she was able to work out a way to attend the match, missing the class but still able to keep up with her algebra class lectures after the match (“I Have A Plan”). Increase in communication skills could also be due to the increase of leadership skills as well.
Enlargement in communications skills happens at the same time as a student’s leadership skills increase. Students learning to be a better leader, develop social skills such as communication skills, interacting with others comfortably and the ability to guide and help peers. For example, Wilson tells of a story about a male student who used to struggle with communicating with peers and eventually increased the skill as the student processed in the organization. “David is a student I was working with who seemed to have all the cards stacked against him. He had a difficult home life with little involvement from the grandmother who was raising him. He was chronically picked on because of the way he spoke and looked. He was a special education student who needed a lot of academic and social support from the adults in the school. He frequently cried in school because he didn’t have any friends. The teachers worked with him in the classroom to impact his academics and he participated in a weekly social skills group. David told me that every year had bee like this for him. He was in my office almost every day for the first three months of school. One day, I was talking with out teacher who worked with the academically gifted students and was the club leader for our “Outdoor Adventurers” club. She said, “I have a student in my club who is such a wonderful leader! He helps me set up for the club. He keeps the other students on task. I want to talk to his
teachers about him.” I asked who it was. “David,” she said. She had no idea of the struggles David was having in school. I realized I was not seeing David in my office as frequently as I had been. His teachers reported to me that he seemed to be making better relationships with peers. When I talked with David and asked him where he felt best, he answered, “In my club.” (p. 13) Students have the opportunity to enhance their skills and students take the opportunity when students decide to join activities. Therefore students learn skills such as teamwork, leaderships, (Wilson 27) and are able to see an improvement in life skills (“I Have a Plan”).
Overall participation in extracurricular activities improves success in high school for students who participate in it. The student being able to succeed in high school fully falls on the student’s will. Extracurricular activities overall is just simply a pull factor, a motivation that helps students succeed. The youth’s success in high school affects the success in the future as well. Students’ success in high school teaches a valuable lesson as obtaining success in the world isn’t all black and white, having fun and working can still lead to success. Finding self-identity, improving self-esteem, improvement in skills learned in high school and applying it to every day life out of school is really important. High school success is just the beginning, because there’s always more to come. For example, earning an award for the first time may be hard but it gets easier and easier to get the second time, third time, fourth and so on. Therefore, success in high school isn’t the end. Success after high school is what it’s really about; high school success is simply a prep guide. Students participate in activities to have self-motivation to success because students need is something to look forward to and that little push off the swing to start. Getting an opportunity to participate in activities so exciting that the experience may have felt like students’ heart has made a jump for joy; happiness that allows students to keep moving forward in school, putting a little bit more effort, and to improve academically. Success can be identified in many different ways, to most high-school teens it is merely passing high school courses, or to have the ability to do better than students had done years ago. Success is obtained through extracurricular activities, motivation, significance, etc., because in the
end whether what the reason may be, it is waking up every day in the morning feeling happy and good about the progress students went through to get them where students are today.