Capitalize on Your Extracurricular Activities

By the time my daughter was in eighth grade, she had changed her career choice at least a dozen times. In kindergarten she anxiously proclaimed that she wanted to be a dentist, and by second grade it changed to an architect. We found out later that she had actually grown tired of eating leftovers; she felt that if she became an architect, she could avoid eating leftovers by building a “food court” in her basement. As a parent, you want your child to choose a path that is both fulfilling and sustainable. My anxiety grew with every career choice that she contemplated. All I could think about were the cost associated with her “changing majors” while attending college.

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Capitalize on Extracurricular Activities to Narrow Down Career Choices

This prompted a concerted effort on my part to help narrow down her career choice before entering college. To achieve this task, we thought it best to utilize as many high school resources as possible. One valuable resource to tap into was the high school’s extracurricular activities. By taking full advantage of high schools extracurricular activities, students enhance their College Applications  while also experiencing various career choice options. Extracurricular activities include but are not limited to Student Government, ROTC, Theater, Chess Club, Debate Club, Math Club, Language Clubs, Minority Clubs, Orchestra, Business Professionals of America and Sports Clubs.

By the time she entered high school, she had decided that she wanted to be an Attorney. I’m sure that this was driven by television shows like “Law and Order”, “Drop Dead Diva”, and “The Good Wife”. What better way to decide whether or not this was a good fit for her, than to try out Student Government. During this time, she was given an actual case that she had to prepare for and take to trial in Springfield, IL. Needless to say, this required a lot of time, and effort. She had to balance a schedule that included preparation of her case, studying for her academic classes, and playing a Varsity sport.

When it was all said and done, this exercise enabled her to narrow down a career choice. After returning from Springfield, IL, she proclaimed that she was “so glad that she participated in Student Government”. Of course, I couldn’t have been more excited. I thought she had finally narrowed down her search, and decided to become an Attorney. She quickly announced, “I do not want to be an Attorney!” As I sat there with an open mouth…..she went on to say, “Aren’t you glad that I found out now, before I went to college. Look at all the money I’m saving you and Daddy”.

Many clubs later, she finally found her passion. She joined “Best Buddies”, and decided that she wanted go into Special Education. The goal of “Best Buddies” is to pair same aged peers with other students who have varying disabilities. We were able to narrow down her career choice and save money, by capitalizing on her high schools’ extracurricular activities.

How Do I Research Extracurricular Activities?

Parents and students can research extracurricular activities by going to the homepage of their high schools’ website.  There you will be able to navigate to “Activities”, and find descriptions, contacts and a list of “Clubs & Activities”.