• Shella Gardezi

A parent’s guide to balancing extra-curricular activities with studies

A history of extra-curricular involvement can help your student stand out in a competitive college admission process, but teens need to ensure their grades don’t suffer as a result.

Activities build confidence, strengthen communication skills and teach time management. They create lasting memories and friendships that your teen will cherish. The downside is they can lead to increased stress and less time to focus on homework. When kids find themselves over-extended, grades can suffer. As a parent, you have a role to play in helping your child achieve a healthy balance.

Be selective

While recruiters are looking for well-rounded individuals, this doesn’t mean they are looking for students that tried out for everything. Help your teen pick activities that speak to their potential. Excelling at one or two activities will give your student a lot of material for college applications in the form of medals, certificates, leadership roles, and other recognitions.

Be flexible

On the other hand, don’t dissuade your teen from taking on roles that you didn’t expect. If your introvert has suddenly announced that he wants to try musical theater or your sports star has signed up for art club, support their choices. Being able to get out of one’s comfort zone and talk to people with different interests is a skill that will be invaluable in college and the workplace.

Personalize it

Many high achievers feel stress around extra-curricular activities because they dislike group activities. Instead of forcing the issue, help your teen find quieter activities, such as tutoring younger students or writing for the student newspaper. Once your teenager builds confidence, he or she will find it easier to interact in a group.

Budget time

As a parent you have a better understanding of how long tasks will take than your teen does. At the beginning of the year, ask your teen for their syllabus and teach them how to estimate the amount of time will be needed for studying and completing assignments. If you are unsure, talk to the student’s teacher or ask your teen to find out how much homework is expected in each class. Then, factor in chores, tutoring, family time, getting to and from school, and socializing. Knowing how much free time is available will help your teen make better decisions.

Be realistic

A student with a part-time job or a competitive athlete is not going to have as much time to fill out their scholarship application with activities. However, the one activity they are focused on will still be impressive as long as they keep their grades up. Help your teen understand the remarkable achievement they are demonstrating through these more intensive commitments, and they will feel better about “missing out” on other things.

Keep your teen on track

While it’s important not to overburden your teen, sometimes poor study habits or difficulties with the learning materials can take away from enjoying all the opportunities available. Working with a tutor can help your teen master good study and time management habits and take advantage of all the unforgettable experiences available in high school.

At PACE Learning Center, academics is the priority. Our programs include after school programs focused on helping students complete homework accurately and in a timely manner, academic enrichment programs that test students grade level competency and assign curriculum specific to their needs or private tutoring. Get schoolwork and homework completed allowing for more time to other extra curricular activities. www.PACEKids.org


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