College Students Get More Out of Extra-Curricular Activities than Résumé Booster

College students around the nation have a lot going on.  Most importantly, they are enrolled in classes leading to their desired goal.  If enrolled full-time, they are likely to spend 40 hours or more per week attending classes and studying.  Many college students also have jobs that require them to work around their classes and study time.  Depending on the job, college students may spend 60-80 hours per week engaging in school or work functions. But, for some, it doesn’t stop there.  College students also have the opportunity to participate in various extra-curricular activities such as student government, clubs, organizations, or athletics. Time commitments range from one to ten or more hours per week.

Higher education professionals know the value-added that students who participate in these types of activities will gain.  From understanding group dynamics to developing good communication and leadership skills, college students who engage in extra-curricular activities learn how to work in groups to achieve a common goal such as identifying and solving problems. In the world of work these skills are highly sought and require some practice to develop proficiency.

In order for students to benefit, they first must join a club or group and then actively participate. Given their hectic schedules, this may seem an unlikely choice or priority.  However, national research on college student engagement suggests that students who participate in at least one “out-of-classroom” activity are more likely to persist in college and will feel more positive about their college experience.  In addition, college students who participate in activities outside of their classes will develop relationships with college staff who can speak to their transferrable skills (i.e., leadership, problem-solving, communication, negotiation, critical-thinking, etc.) in the form of a letter of recommendation or reference for transfer or a job.

So, if given the chance to engage a new college student in conversation, don’t simply ask them what they are majoring in – also ask them what extra-curricular activities are offered at their college.  If they don’t know, refer them to the Student Life department.  And, if they don’t realize why they should participate, now you can tell them about the benefits beyond building their résumés.

Members of RVC's Campus Activities Board (CAB) at last fall's Welcome Week.

Members of RVC’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) at last fall’s Welcome Week.