When preparing for college during the high school years, most teachers advise students to get involved as much as possible outside of the classroom with things like sports, extra-curricular activities and volunteering. Getting involved shows college admissions that this student is a well-rounded individual. Now, if you’re in middle school, how can you prepare to be involved in high school? For some students, they jump head first into a sea of clubs and activities their freshman year.
Most of these students will shortly realize they bit off more than they can chew with so many after school meetings and practices. To avoid this stressor, it is best to ease yourself into after-school activities during the middle school years.
In middle school, sports take form. Some teams start having auditions or tryouts, and this may be the first time a middle school student faces rejection. Middle school sports also start to become more competitive and travel to neighboring school districts. The positive effect of participation in sports at the middle school level has been reported in multiple studies over the last several decades. Students participating in one or more interscholastic sports had an average GPA of 3.151, while non-athletes had an average of 2.4, according to a study of interscholastic sports participation published in the NASSP Bulletin, the journal of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Joining an after school club has enormous benefits. There are a number of life skills that can be acquired from school clubs since eligibility for membership is less strict. Between meeting new friends, learning time management skills and investing time and energy into a passion, students truly grow as individuals. For example, a student who actively participates in debate club usually has better communication skills than those who don’t.
Volunteering in community service projects and helping others can be very fulfilling. Students who volunteer at a young age start to make an association between helping someone else and their own joy. There are lots of service projects available to teens locally, statewide, nationally and even internationally. Student volunteering has been on a steady rise since the 1980s. Research has shown that teens that engage in community service are more responsible with higher self-esteem and resilience. Volunteering helps students gain new skills necessary such as leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management, and decision-making. Also, students who volunteer perform better at school and also build a stronger resume.
All in all, getting a head start before high school can only benefit a student. Find a passion and let it grow over the years. Figure out what you love and now you’ve decided that you can’t live without it during summer when schools out? Find a summer camp that specializes in your passion and continue to cultivate it year round!