Benefits of Participating in Extracurricular Activities for Students

Participating in after school activities can lead to specialized skills and enhanced awareness. Discover three ways that after school activities prepare students for life!

Extracurricular activities refer to pursuits outside of the classroom, but every activity has the potential for teaching important life lessons and underscore vital academic skills. The benefits of participating in after school activities range from enhanced communication to new friendships to leadership training to greater personal or social awareness.

Whether it revolves around a club, fine arts program, athletics, student government, or volunteer opportunity, extracurricular activities should reinforce the student’s character, values, and ability to think critically. While students learn many of these lessons in structured classrooms, extracurricular activities enable the student to explore new avenues of thinking and to collaborate in a more relaxed environment.

They also provide a space for students to practice the principles they learned in class, including active listening, negotiation, advocacy, and service.

Thus, this article will explore the following benefits of participating in after school activities:

  • Creating Personal & Social Awareness

  • Teaching Flexibility & Collaboration

  • Building Competence & Composure Under Pressure

What are the Benefits of Participating in After School Activities?

According to a study by Steven Wesley Craft from the University of Southern Mississippi, students who immerse themselves in carefully selected school activities are more likely to outperform their peers academically, even beyond high school. In one example, students’ continued success was attributed to participation in honor societies or school government, both of which require students to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better.

The benefits of participating in after school activities are far-reaching, especially since the variety of activities appeal to students of all ages, interests, and abilities. Yet, after school activities become even more important as young people mature; for instance, a choir can become a setting whereby a shy student builds new relationships with peers she might not meet otherwise.

Top-tier, single-sex schools like Marlborough, provide teenage girls with the unique opportunity to discover their potential in a safe, extracurricular environment that accentuates creativity, cooperation, and solidarity.

With more than 50 clubs on campus, Marlborough invites young people to cultivate leadership and teamwork through our diverse, yet inclusive, student-based school organizations. Our clubs attract a wide range of students, including those interested in politics, social justice, art and culture, entrepreneurship, and recreation. Here are three specific examples of after school activities:

  • As members of Girls Go Global, our students focus on the inalienable rights of women and girls around the world; thus, they educate the community about feminism while taking an active role in social outreaches, including Room to Read, Girls Learn International, and Girl Up.

  • The Third Street Tutoring club works with young children at Third Street Elementary; twice a week, Marlborough students help children from kindergarten to fourth grade complete homework, then engage them in fun, educational activities.

  • As you might expect, many of our girls love engineering, but their schedules do not leave room for a rigorous robotics class; in response, students created the Remote Car Club, which gives the girls an outlet to compete, expanding their knowledge of STEM.

The Benefits of Participating in After School Activities: Enriching a Student’s Education

Since extracurricular activities are strictly voluntary, they often reveal a student’s untapped interest while introducing new, practical skills that correlate to other areas of life, like writing, public speaking, computing, or problem solving.

More importantly, the benefits of participating in school activities include character development, since extracurriculars emphasize teamwork, accountability, and empathy. By joining the school’s chess club, for instance, a student pledges integrity; concurrently, the other members expect the new student to be reliable, amiable, and prepared. Thus, the benefits of participating in school activities multiply over time.

Extracurricular school activities target the student as a whole person; she is not simply a passive classroom learner. In fact, the more challenging the after school activity, the greater the opportunity for transformative growth.

Consider the high school senior who agrees to organize the school’s homecoming dance: She must manage her time wisely, attending to school assignments as she oversees a high-profile event for the entire community. Meanwhile, she must recruit team members who will help her execute the plan with creativity and excellence. She must communicate clearly and address problems as they arise. Although the senior has undertaken an enormous task, the experience forces her to grow, often in unexpected ways. Thus, an extracurricular school activity can benefit a student in incredible ways, preparing her for college, career, and life.

As one of the nation’s premier private schools, Marlborough believes that girls are allies; they can work together for common goals that benefit the individual and the community at large. Therefore, we encourage our students to participate in the many exciting activities our school offers, from the DJ Club to the Investment Club; truly, a lifelong commitment to learning leads to future success, benefitting the participants, and ultimately, society.

Marlborough’s extracurricular school activities appeal to middle and high school students, training them to identify needs as it equips them to serve, thus preparing them to enter adulthood with confidence.

1. Participating in After School Activities Creates Personal & Social Awareness

At most schools, students gravitate to classes or pursuits that seem familiar; however, when a student signs up for an extracurricular activity at Marlborough, she will likely forge unexpected relationships that may change the way she thinks about the world. Thus, the benefits of participating in after school activities can be life changing.

Since Marlborough is home to eight student-led councils, our young leaders can partner with faculty advisors to effect meaningful change and advocacy throughout the community.

  • For instance, All-School Council makes decisions about events that impact the entire student community, including Spirit Week, the Honor Code Assembly, and Grandparents and Special Friends Day; by contrast, Class Council focuses on grade-level class representation at special events, such as Prom or the Ring Ceremony.

  • Likewise, Marlborough’s other council members seek to make long-lasting, positive changes to the school community; indeed, motivated students find opportunities to lead by serving on the Campus Environmental Council, Athletic Council, Arts Council, Student Equity and Inclusion Council, Community Outreach Council, or Communication Council.

Although the benefits of after school activities often seem to focus on enjoyment, Marlborough’s extracurricular activities create personal and social awareness through community-based events.

2. Participating in After School Activities Develops Flexibility & Collaboration

Whenever a student joins a school organization, she agrees to abide by guidelines that promote unity and shared values; inevitably, however, students disagree over goals or methods. Consequently, extracurricular activities become a space where teenagers learn to resolve conflict while cultivating flexibility, accountability, and respect.

As a private, single-sex school, Marlborough has an extraordinary array of clubs appealing to middle school and high school girls from varied backgrounds; therefore, the girls develop the habit of listening, negotiating, and adapting. Consider, for instance, this partial list of Marlborough’s current clubs:

  • Chance 2 Dance
  • Explore L.A.
  • Fashion Club
  • The Tide Riders Surf Club
  • Outdoor Wilderness League
  • The Entrepreneurship Club
  • Science Olympiad
  • Adopt an Embassy

Each of these clubs expects participants to be attentive, malleable, astute, and respectful. A prime illustration is the Violet’s Giving Circle (VGC), a student-initiated, philanthropic organization, which advances the educational opportunities of underserved women and girls in the Los Angeles area. Juniors and seniors at Marlborough collaborate with donors to review grant proposals, then allocate funds to worthy organizations.

Another example of Marlborough’s extracurricular excellence is the Korean American Coalition. As a result of joining this group, Amanda O. ’19 created a documentary, promoting awareness about gentrification in Koreatown.he interviewed tenants, landlords, residents, business owners, lawyers, professors, and community activists in the neighborhood.

Since Marlborough’s extracurricular activities encompass such a broad range of interests, they afford students a unique opportunity to develop flexibility as they serve the community together.

3. Participating in After School Activities Develops Competence & Composure Under Pressure

Certain extracurricular activities, like debate or entrepreneurship clubs, can hone a student’s communication skills as it fosters poise, particularly in stressful circumstances. With practice, the student learns that adequate preparation quells nerves so that she can deliver an eloquent presentation flawlessly.

Each fall, students host a Club Fair to promote their clubs to the student body; girls meet club members and explore their options, which range from arts and culture to sports to STEM to gaming; some of our justice-based associations include School on Wheels, Model United Nations, Girls 4 Change, and Heal the Bay.

  • Affinity groups and cultural appreciation groups, like MIX (Multiracial Identity Exchange), create a safe space for students to share their experiences and stories. As participants delve into their own heritage, they find the confidence to engage peers and adults in productive conversation about identity.

  • Marlborough’s award-winning debate club trains girls to think logically, listen with purpose, and respond intelligently and persuasively. Last year, our team won 53% of their debates. And Three of our varsity students reached the bid-round while our novice team won the tournament. Even under pressure, our girls demonstrate composure and grace.

Ultimately, extracurricular activities stimulate growth as students begin to think critically, overcome obstacles, then learn from their mistakes.

Finally, extracurricular activities round out a student’s resume, proving that a student has breadth and depth of knowledge.

Why Choose Marlborough?  

Marlborough serves girls in grades 7 through 12. We are a private, college-preparatory secondary school, conveniently located in the heart of Los Angeles, California.  

Our goal is to ignite intellectual inquiry and to build the problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills that our students will need to innovate, invent, and lead in college and beyond.

Next Steps

If you want your daughter to become a curious, agile thinker, consider Marlborough. Our outstanding extracurricular activities can enhance your daughter’s confidence as it prepares her for college and beyond.

Want to know more about the Marlborough experience? 

Contact us today


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