Factors To Consider When Choosing Extracurricular Activities

To truly embrace the high school experience students should become involved in the extra-curricular activities that offered by the school districts. For many students, there is a wide range of activities and it can be difficult choosing one or a few to become involved.

These are a few things to consider when choosing an extra-curricular activity in high school.

Past experience

The first place a student should look for ideas is past experience. Whether it is athletics, music, drama or another area, these will likely be the activities that a student has enough experience with the potential to make the team or squad.

Natural ability

Natural ability cannot be overlooked at a factor in choosing extra-curricular activities. It may be difficult to make the basketball team or the orchestra if the natural talent is not there. So consider where the talent and abilities are before signing up for an extra-curricular activity.

Practice and performance times

Consider whether or not there is time to be at practices and performance. Know when the coach or advisor holds practices. If the practice times conflict with a job, watching siblings, or other activities, it may not be the activity to choose. Coaches and advisors generally are not interested in accommodating the schedules of students. Don’t sign up for the school play only to not be able to be at the performance.

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Independent vs. team activity

Consider whether working with others is something to engage in. Perhaps cross-country which tests individual success is preferred. In public speaking, there are debate teams or individual events. So it is a good idea to determine whether working with a team is desired or not.


Increasingly as school districts struggle for funding, extra-curricular activities often come with fees. Students may pay a single activity fee that applies to all activities, while other schools have fees associated with particular activities. In addition, each activity can have its own expenses ranging from shoes for athletics to dress clothes for public speaking contests. Before choosing an activity know the expenses and if it is affordable for the student and the parents.

Leadership position or participant

It is important to make a decision about whether or not to be just a participant in an activity or to take on a leadership role. Accepting the role of editor of the school paper may not be the best choice for students who don’t want to be in charge of other students. Accepting a role as a participant may be a better initial activity.

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Effect on academics

The reality is that extra-curricular activities can provide students with diverse opportunities, but they can place a demand on a student that may be detrimental to academics. Before choosing an activity always consider how it may affect school work and studying. Is it going to require a missing school to participate in the activity? If so, a plan of action for dealing with absences may need to be considered before making the commitment.


Coaches and advisors want students in their respective activities that will commit themselves to the success of the program. Make sure before taking on the challenge of a school activity, that it is something that the student will commit to and not just quit if the times become tough. Often activities are not easy and teams don’t always have a winning season. Make sure the dedication and work ethic is there even if success doesn’t come easily.

Amount of activities

Another factor is the number of activities a student wants to engage in. Too many activities can leave a student strung too thin, which results in not being able to give any activity 100%. Be selective in the activities and remember: just because a person can be in many activities, doesn’t mean that a person should be in many activities. Devote 100% to the activities that are most important.

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Don’t pad the college application

Signing up to be in activities just to make college admission and scholarship application look better is a poor reason to choose an activity. It is likely that the activity will not receive the full attention of a student who is looking simply to enrich the experience list for application.

Extra-curricular activities help student create bonds with teachers, coaches, and advisors as well as other students and community members. The benefits that students reap from acting in a play, playing on the basketball team or singing in the choirs will be ones that will help the transition to college. Just follow these tips and choose the most appropriate activities for the right reasons.