Monday, November 15, 2010

Activities and Achievement

It turns out that all those clubs and activities you got involved in during
high school may have done more than just burnish your college applications. A new study by graduate students from the University of Nebraska looked at the impact of student involvement in extracurricular activities during high school. "Adolescents' expectations about their occupational and educational attainment as adults predict their eventual educational attainment, and these expectations seem to shape and be shaped by extracurricular activities -- which, in turn, contribute to young adult educational attainment," noted Sarah Beale, the lead author of the study.

Surprisingly, neither volunteer work nor holding a job during high school seemed to have the same impact as involvement in clubs and sports. As might have been expected, students who were involved with drugs or who had brushes with the law had lower levels of education and achievement.

So, what can we learn from this study? Thinking about the future is shaped by experiences. A student who is involved in the French club, or the math team, or plays on a sports team, learns about a new subject, or about teamwork and leadership. This kind of learning can impact educational achievement which can, in turn, have a positive impact on careers and adulthood. The benefit goes beyond the well known positive impact of high school activities on college admission officers. So, join a club or play a sport -- or urge your student to do so. It can be a helpful step in helping to plan for adulthood.

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