After the Last Bell: Why your Child’s After School Activities Matter

September is in full swing and hopefully, by now your child is settled into the best routine to help him or her have a great academic year. For high school students the checklist of what they need to accomplish seems daunting and never ending. At this point in the semester they may already be scheduled to take the PSAT, got matched with a tutor for that one struggle subject, or even considering their options for a Homecoming date!

While a typical high school semester may seem mundane, this is actually the time in your young student’s life when every academic and extracurricular decision can affect their resume and enhance or hurt their college applications. Many parents choose after school activities with the simple intent of helping keep their teen busy or giving themselves a well deserved break. A busy but manageable schedule is never a bad idea however, as parents the goal is to not just seek filler activities but to steer and encourage your teen to participate in activities that they not only love but the that will give them diverse, well rounded experiences that will make any university admissions director take a second look.

Here are 5 after school activities that will help make your student impressive on and off paper!

1. Foreign language

Practicing a foreign language is great for high school students. At this point in their academic careers they should have already been exposed to one or two new languages. They should be working with a tutor, taking an additional class, or spending sufficient time on a language app or training program. Remember the goal is not a basic understanding but a good path towards fluency.

2. Musical instrument

Musical geniuses are not surprisingly a top pick for most universities. Your child doesn’t have to be the next Mozart but a general understanding of musical education and the ability to play a instrument beyond an introductory level will help set your teen apart from other scholars.

3. Community service

A caring student who has the maturity and compassion to help someone else or support an amazing cause always looks outstanding on a college resume. Consider having your student consistently enroll to volunteer at soup kitchens, hospitals, museums, children’s organization, and other useful organizations.

4. Athletics

Being an athletic super star has paid the way for many students to access higher education for many decades. It is no secret that universities court and gush after talented athletes to represent their school and boost morale and ticket sales. Even if you don’t think your student is at the athletic level to earn a free ride through school, consistently playing a sport shows discipline, responsibility, and dedication.

5. Student council

The student council is not fancy or a super popular move for your college bound teen. There are no bells and whistles but do not take the opportunity to join the student council nonchalantly. Participating in the student council gives your student a chance to brag about being an effective decision maker. Many student council organizations decide important things in schools and initiate new programs and opportunities to engage with the student body. Encourage your child not to miss having the opportunity to flaunt their creativity and ability to lead.

There is no cookie cutter strategy to your child’s academic and extracurricular success. But there is a method to what appeals to college admissions officers and directors throughout the country. From community college to Ivy League, having a well rounded student, who is aware of their talents, and has proven leadership skills is always a pleasant sight for both admissions and in the real world!

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