Even though academics are of significant importance in a teen's life, involvement in extracurricular activities provides opportunities for growth that will benefit him as he approaches adulthood. Notable benefits include enhanced academic achievement and the acquisition of useful life skills, such as persistence and focus, according to Jennifer A. Fredricks and Jacquelynne S. Eccles in a 2005 article published in the "Journal of Youth and Adolescence," on the University of Michigan's website. Teens who are not involved in organized extracurricular activities should engage in a hobby to keep their minds occupied and their time well spent.
Underdeveloped Time Management Skills
Teens who are not involved in extracurricular activities miss the opportunity to learn effective time management skills. Involvement in extracurricular activities helps teens learn to balance schoolwork with other activities like sports and clubs, and with keeping an active social life. Teens should strive to be effective in each of their activities. Teens who do not have responsibilities to juggle may not get the chance to develop necessary time management skills until they reach adulthood. Whether a teen chooses to pursue college or enter into the workforce after high school, learning time management skills are essential for keeping stress levels down and for improving productivity, according to MayoClinic.com.
Colleges View Candidates Less Favorably
The TeensHealth website says that teens' involvement in high school extracurricular activities is a plus on college applications, because these activities give admissions officers the impression that active teens are responsible and well rounded. Colleges assess not only academic achievement, they also want to understand the kind of person a potential applicant is. Admissions personnel can glean a great deal of this information from the extracurricular activities in which applicants choose to participate. College admissions teams view teens who are involved in sports, clubs and other activities more favorably than teens who fail to engage in extracurricular activities. This lack of appeal might provide a teen with fewer college options, or with a limited number of scholarship opportunities.
Missed Opportunity to Gain Self-Awareness
Involvement in extracurricular activities enables a teen to be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Self-esteem and self-efficacy become enhanced when teens can demonstrate their strengths, and when they have opportunities to work on any areas that need improvement. Teens who never try out for football or basketball may not be aware of their gifts in these sports. Those teens who have a fear of public speaking miss opportunities to develop this skill so that they can become better speakers. Self-awareness is essential to be an effective leader, notes Anthony K. Tjan, CEO of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, in an article in the "Harvard Business Review." Self-awareness and leadership qualities benefit teens while they are in school and in adulthood. Having leadership qualities opens the door for teens to many academic, social and professional opportunities.
At Risk for Negative Behaviors
When teens do not have anything constructive to do, some will find something destructive to engage in. This can result in drug and alcohol use and abuse, involvement in criminal activity and sexual promiscuity. Research compiled by the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health notes that teens' involvement in extracurricular activities serves as a protective factor against these negative behaviors of drug use, early sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Teens who are not involved in extracurricular activities in high school -- especially those with other risk factors, such as family conflict and a lack of commitment to education -- are susceptible to making grave mistakes that can negatively affect them for the rest of their lives.
- TeensHealth: Extracurricular Activities
- University of Michigan: Research Center for Group Dynamics: Developmental Benefits of Extracurricular Involvement: Do Peer Characteristics Mediate the Link Between Activities and Youth Outcomes?
- Mayo Clinic: Time Management: Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Productivity
- Harvard Business Review: How Leaders Become Self-Aware
- Alaska Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant: Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Substance Use (and Other Problem Behavior)
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