Extracurricular activities are opportunities to engage in extensions of academic activities and/or non-academic activities under school auspices. In special circumstances, for example, when there are budget or scheduling constraints, these activities may provide experiences that would otherwise be offered within the school day.
There are many types of extracurricular activities. Athletics is a major one at many schools. In some schools, football is the centerpiece of the athletic program, but depending on where you live, you may also find opportunities in baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, climbing, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, ice skating, lacrosse, orienteering, rugby, alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, soccer, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track, and volleyball. Sports may have varsity and junior varsity teams or be conducted as clubs or intramural opportunities.
Extracurricular activities in science and math range often include clubs, such as those in astronomy, chess, computer programming, robotics, and ecology. Competitions are also offered through, for example, the Science Olympiad, the National Science Bowl, the American Computer Science League, and MATHCOUNTS.
For students interested in writing and communication, there may be clubs for broadcasting, debate, foreign languages, the school newspaper, and the school yearbook. Competitions include Idea of America Writing Contest and Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Extracurricular activities in the social sciences include Geography Bowl, the National Mock Election, and the High School FED CHALLENGE, run by the Federal Reserve Bank to promote economics literacy. Opportunities to participate in student government may also call for extracurricular commitments. And for students in the arts, one can find drama clubs, guitar clubs, ensembles such as choirs, bands, and orchestras, and photography clubs.
Students who enjoy competition and have good general knowledge may wish to try out for Scholar’s Bowl, National Academic Quiz Tournaments, or Odyssey of the Mind for extracurricular activities. And community-minded students can find opportunities for community service in, for example, a Red Cross club or a peer helper group.