Editorial: Choosing extracurriculars over academics: short-term distraction, long-term consequences

Juniors Vivian Tam and Danielle Valerio spend a recent Saturday washing cars to fundraise for their upcoming HOSA conferences. This is just one example of the time commitment required for extracurricular activities.
Juniors Vivian Tam and Danielle Valerio spend a recent Saturday washing cars to fundraise for their upcoming HOSA conferences. This is just one example of the time commitment required for extracurricular activities.<br>Photo Credit: Bserat Ghebremicael
Juniors Vivian Tam and Danielle Valerio spend a recent Saturday washing cars to fundraise for their upcoming HOSA conferences. This is just one example of the time commitment required for extracurricular activities.
Photo Credit: Bserat Ghebremicael

Across the United States, every public school requires students to maintain academic eligibility. Basketball, football, and volleyball are just a few of the sports requiring grades to be kept at a set standard decided by the athletic commission. In turn, the athletes must maintain their grades over the course of the year in order to continually be eligible for practice and games.

Although career and technical academies in Las Vegas do not have sanctioned sports, due to student recruitment and conflicting NIAA policies, they can still play for their home schools, which do require a minimum GPA for participation. If a student does not meet that criteria, then they are benched for the game and may lose their spot on the team if it continues.

For those who want to excel socially and academically, extracurricular activities are also offered for students who want the opportunity to improve on valuable leadership and communication skills. These activities are offered Monday through Friday, and may require more dedication on the weekends, depending on the club.

Students are free to become members of a variety of clubs offered in public schools. From Health Occupations Students of America to National Honor Society to football, some students try to join every club or sport for the experience, to add more accomplishments to their resume, or in hopes of meeting the criteria many colleges’ qualify as a “well-rounded student.” In order to be the perfect candidate, students try to fill their after-school schedules which may look like this every week:

Monday – National Honor Society Board Meeting
Tuesday – Future Business Leaders of America
Wednesday – National Honor Society
Thursday – Key Club
Friday – Coyote Congress

However, many student activities do not require a set GPA minimum. Students can come and go to meetings as they please or may hold a leadership position that requires them to attend each and every single, weekly or monthly meeting, usually until 3-4 p.m.

Because students have the opportunity to join every club, it can cause problems for students academically. Athletes must hold a 2.0 GPA to participate in at least one sport, considering they require time and dedication. If an athlete were to have less than a 2.0 GPA however, he or she would be ineligible to play in any game unless his or her grades were improved. Now, if students involved in many clubs were to have a deficient GPA, they could attend meetings, but would be ineligible to participate in competitions or trips.

To keep students on track for graduation, schools could create a system that would help ensure students are maintaining at least a “C” average in their classes, rather than enabling them to prioritize their extracurriculars over their academics. Though it may deter students from joining more than one club, it could help keep their grades in acceptable standing.

Though a school policy can be a solution, it really comes down to the student and their parents. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain passing grades and their parent’s responsibility to make sure they are fulfilling the requirements needed for graduation. Students always have the option to increase their level of dedication for one club, instead of juggling between so many. If students do choose to join more than one club, then they must be able to effectively manage their time, without these activities negatively affecting their grades.

Sometimes, being too well-rounded can make students lose focus of what’s important–their grades, which colleges consider for admissions first. Prioritizing clubs over academics may seem more desirable now, but students ultimately must concentrate on their grades, rather than jeopardizing their futures for these activities.