Co-curricular or extra-curricular activities include athletic, academic and arts and cultural events that occur apart from the normal academic curriculum. Students' participation in any of the activities is usually on a voluntary basis; and the events typically occur before or after the regular school day. Co-curricular activities are often promoted by parents and educators as time has shown that a youngster's participation can benefit him in a number of ways and help to shape him into a well-rounded individual.
Students participating in co-curricular activities gain teamwork skills. The students feel a sense of belonging and unity. Communication skills are enhanced, and students learn how to work well with others, to take turns and be patient. These are the skills students can use in future careers and in relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Teamwork leads to increased self-confidence when students feel support from peers.
Many co-curricular activities promote a healthy, active lifestyle. Athletic extra-curricular activities such as soccer, football, track, dance, cheer leading and show choir all involve movement of the body. The type of cardiovascular workout that occurs during these programs brings energy to participants, keeping students focused in class. When a student maintains a healthy lifestyle, he is less likely to get sick and, therefore, is less likely to miss school. The healthy lifestyle a student adopts at a young age through co-curricular activities often follows him throughout his entire life, making him a healthy and dependable employee.
Students involved in activities outside of school are more likely to gain a sense of direction. A student may choose a specific career path because of his accomplishments in co-curricular activities. For example, a student who enjoys his debate or speech team may realise he wishes to become a politician or lawyer. Co-curricular activities may also lead students to attend a college or university. A student may receive a scholarship based on his performance in a co-curricular activity or he may be inspired to further pursue his love of a particular sport or interest while in college.
Participation in co-curricular activities promotes positive experiences such as teamwork, motivation and reaching goals. When a student is involved in an extra-curricular activity, he is less likely to get involved in negative and harmful schemes such as drug or alcohol use, vandalism or gang involvement. Additionally, most schools have policies that say any students who have made poor choices such as drug or alcohol use or are failing in any classes are prohibited from participating in co-curricular events. This can motivate students who enjoy playing sports and other activities to lead a drug-free lifestyle and maintain good grades.