Are extracurricular activities a college necessity?

Extracurricular activities is a term that the vast majority of college, high school or even middle school students are familiar with. The term is closely associated with academia and the potential of obtaining a higher education, yet it is not necessarily academic.

In fact, this term has to do with the interests and activities a student enjoys outside of the classroom. Due to the fact that these activities are interest- based, they act as a good indicator of a person’s strengths, weaknesses, ethics and inclinations.

For this reason, extracurricular activities dovetail seamlessly with one’s academic performance. However, on a solely collegiate level, is it truly necessary to participate in these activities?

The question as to whether academic performance or involvement is more important has been worded in a plethora of different ways, and is likely one of the top ten questions students have who seek to pursue a higher education. For college students who are solely seeking a bachelor’s degree, the question is less stressful.

On the other hand, to a student pursuing a master’s, a doctorate or further, the question is ever present.

In hopes of alleviating this source of anxiety, Amy M. Tenhouse, writing from, offers a few definitive statements to aid in this dilemma.

According to Tenhouse, extracurricular activities are by no means miscellaneous and can even “positively impact students’ emotional, intellectual, social and interpersonal development.”

One might suggest that this is clearly self-evident and may just be a string of hackneyed words that are easier said than visualized. As a student it leaves one to wonder how this manifests in real life, what are the underlying mechanisms?

The truth is that being involved on campus has a beneficial impact on all of the previously aforementioned components of a student’s life.

On an emotional level one can observe an increase in their mood by engaging in an activity catered to their interests. Getting involved for the sheer principle of getting involved is not enough, it’s better to seek an activity you enjoy.

In a real world sense this is clear to see when niches and cohorts organically develop as a result of peers getting involved in an interest based activity like the student government, soccer or the environmental club.

In fact, Tenhouse asserts that “by identifying with a peer group, that group may influence a student’s affective and cognitive development as well as his or her behavior.”

On a socio-psychological level, such an advantage is priceless and has the potential to last a lifetime.

Alongside the more cerebral benefits, extracurricular activities can help “students to understand the importance of critical thinking skills, time management, and academic and intellectual competence.”

These benefits will in turn manifest into a well-rounded student; this is essentially the “principal goal of extracurricular activities on college and university campuses.”

In other words, in participating in extracurricular activities, a student is given the ability to grow in various areas of their lives e.g. emotionally, socially, etc.

So ask yourself, are you sometimes flooded with questions regarding graduate school or higher education?

If the answer is yes, rest assured that you can check this source of academic anxiety off of your list, as extracurricular activities are always a benefit to you on a personal and academic level.

Regardless of whether you desire to further your education after attaining your bachelors or just gaining a bachelor’s, you will quickly find yourself growing on levels you never imagined.

College is essentially a bridge from a sophomoric state of mind to a more cultivated and refined state of mind, so be sure to get involved and grow into the exceptional individual that you were meant to be.