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Should Extracurricular Activities Be Mandatory in High School?

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Alexandra Garthrite

on 26 April 2014

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Transcript of Should Extracurricular Activities Be Mandatory in High School?

Should Extracurricular Activities Be Mandatory in High School?
High School Requirements
Most high schools require the following subjects:
3-4 years of language arts
3-4 years of mathematics
3 years of science
3 years of social studies
1 semester-1 year of health
1 semester-1 year of physical education
1-2 years of foreign language

Often, the core curriculum subjects do not capture any of the interests that a student may have. This can lead to lowered enthusiasm toward schooling for students.
If there was one thing that I could change about my time in high school, I would be in more extracurricular activities (I was only in one for a few semesters; I was a typist for The Blurr, my school's annual publication of creative writing, music, and artwork). Being in more extracurricular activities probably would have helped me throughout high school in various ways, especially with my self-esteem and desire to work hard in class.

There are many benefits to participating in extracurricular activities in high school. Extracurricular activities are almost always voluntary in high schools, but should they be mandatory? Should every student be required to be in at least one extracurricular activity? I am a firm believer that education should be as diverse as possible, but should that extend to these often after-school activities?
Extracurricular Activities
The Oxford Dictionary defines extracurricular as something that is "pursued in addition to the normal course of study". So an extracurricular activity is an activity that is done outside of core curriculum of education.

Extracurricular activities usually require time outside of class, often after school. Extracurricular activities include:
Subject clubs
Alexandra Garthrite
Positives of Extracurricular Activities
Academic Performance: Extracurricular activities benefit a student's academic performance in many ways.
Completion: Students who participate in extracurricular activities are less likely to drop out of high school (Massoni 86).
Educational and Life Qualities: Extracurricular activities can improve a student's teamwork and leadership skills (Wilson 12).
Raised Self Esteem: Students who participate in extracurricular activities tend to have higher self esteem and positive values.
Higher Grades: "In a study done by the USDE, 'It was revealed that students who participate in extracurricular activities are three times more likely to have a grade point average of a 3.0 or higher'" (Massoni 85).
Many extracurricular activities require a minimum GPA, so for if no other reason, students may perform for this reason.
Negatives of Extracurricular Activities
Cost: Most extracurricular activities cost money. Students may not be able to afford these fees.
Budget Cuts: Why pay for extracurricular activities when art, music, and foreign education programs are already being cut?
Time Constrictions: Students may not be able to stay after school to participate in extracurricular activities for many reasons
May have to babysit siblings
May need the time for homework
May take the bus home
Selection/Availability: What if the club/team that a student wants to join hasn't been created? They would have to get permission to start the club, (usually) an adult chaperone, and a place to hold meetings. Students could run into trouble with this.
Added Pressure: Students may feel added pressure if they have to add an activity to their loads of schoolwork.
Research Questions
Should extracurricular activities be required in addition to the core curriculum in order to graduate from high school?
My personal opinion has not changed about this; I have believed that students should participate in an extracurricular activity for some time. Researching this topic and doing this project has only strengthened this belief.

The likelihood of this actually happening? Unfortunately, it is not very high. The main reason for this is the budget cuts that many schools face. As previously stated, schools most likely will not provide the funds for many extracurricular activities, when they already have to cut back on actual classes, like art, music, and foreign language.

This would be more likely to happen in schools that have more money, and more choice when it comes to classes.
Works Cited
"Extracurricular" Def. 1. Merriam Webster Online, Merriam Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2011.

Massoni, Erin. "Positive Effects of Extracurricular Activities." Essai 9.27 (2011): i-32. Web. 20 April 2014.

Wilson, Nikki. Impact of Extracurricular Activities on Students. University of Wisconsin-Stout. May 2009. Web. 20 April 2014.
Debate team
Yearbook club
School newspaper
Student government
Chess club
What are the positive and negatives of being in an extracurricular activity?
Social Interaction: Being in an extracurricular activity means that students will be with others that share the same interests, and possibly make new friends from this.
College Acceptance: Extracurricular activities look great when applying to colleges. While they will not guarantee that one will be accepted, they make a student very desirable.
At-risk Teenagers: Some extracurricular activities are specifically designed to help troubled and at-risk teenagers. In addition, extracurricular activities can provide an outlet for these teenagers.
Hobbies and Interests: Students can explore and nurture interests with extracurricular activities.
Positives of Extracurricular Activities
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