What Are the Pros and Cons of Extracurricular Activities?

Some benefits of extracurricular activities include improving children’s socialization, keeping kids out of trouble and instilling them with more skills and confidence. Some detriments include overscheduling, stress and kids attempting to take on too many activities. Most experts advocate a balance between school and extracurricular activities.

After-school activities give kids a useful venue to socialize outside of the classroom, as participants must learn to work together and communicate with others. Extracurricular activities also give kids a chance to learn and practice new skills, many of which are useful later in life. This sense of accomplishment is beneficial to children, especially if they struggle with schoolwork.

The scheduling of extracurricular activities also gives kids a sense of structure in their lives, which can protect them from negative influences. Extracurricular activities typically occur during the hours after school, when students are most likely to be left unsupervised. A lack of parental supervision can lead kids to experiment with substance abuse or other risky behaviors, but extracurricular activities can help prevent these behaviors.

Conversely, critics argue that students are often overscheduled with extracurricular activities, which can lead to stress and other health problems. Students attempting too many activities may feel overwhelmed and may also not get enough sleep. Additionally, taking on many activities is a common strategy to improve college admission applications, but schools are often unimpressed by students who dabble in a number of activities without committing to one in particular.