We often hear it said that the benefits of a university education don’t stop at honing your intellect. It’s as much to do with self-development, they say; meeting new people; and exposing yourself to many new influences.
There is, however, another crucial dimension that is often overlooked, and that is getting involved with extra-curricular activities. Why is this? And what difference will it make to a student’s ultimate employability?
University as an opportunity to develop in important non-academic ways
Many undergraduates, perhaps understandably, take the view that university life is a three-year lease on paradise. Not for them the sordid business of voluntary work or other selfless pursuits that would otherwise take up too much of their valuable time.
What students don’t often realise is that university is also an opportunity to develop in other non-academic ways. And these are ways that potential employers will value when it comes to selecting the well-rounded team players who will fit into their business or organisation.
Extra-curricular activities are many and varied. For some, it will simply be a case of following their passion such as sport or travel. For others, it may be out of financial necessity that they take part-time or vacation work to finance their student lifestyle.
Extra-curricular activities give you what employers are looking for
When it comes time to move on from university into the world of full-time work, it’s important to realise that many employers take into consideration those extra-curricular activities that will help differentiate one applicant from another.
When faced with a multitude of job applicants, many with similar levels of qualification, they will be looking for the ‘X-Factor’ that comes with getting involved with non-academic activities that demonstrate qualities of determination, self-reliance and the ability to work well with others.
In the mature, post-student world, high achievers will need to get on with other people; project confidence and sociability; feel comfortable working as part of a team; and be able to take on responsibilities and leadership roles.
All this will complement your academic achievements. No-one would expect you to emerge from university as the ‘finished article’, but the extra-curricular activities you’ve undertaken will surely show your determination to embrace mature, collective values.
For more extrovert and independent types, much of this is second nature. Join a university club, team or society? No problem. Find a job to make ends meet? Why not! But what if you’re the more reticent student type, happy to chug along in the background?
The answer to this is simple. If you want to get ahead and enjoy more success in your life – at both a personal and a professional level – you need to come out from behind your laptop and GET INVOLVED!
About the Author
INTO University Partnerships provide university preparation courses for international students who want to study a degree in the UK, US or China.