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Extracurricular activities are those sponsored by schools staff at school but that are not part of the academic curriculum. They often involve some time commitment outside of the regular school day.

Extracurricular activities range from sports to newspaper editing to chorus and band. Many activities, like basketball and band, enjoy extreme longevity, serving as a part of their school's program over a number of years. For many students, extracurricular activities present an opportunity to practice social skills and to experiment in activities that may represent a career interest. For a child who is not gifted academically, the opportunity to excel in the arts or sports may make a big difference in his or her self-esteem.

Many extracurricular activities, such as the school newspaper, chorus, and band, can lead to careers. Extracurricular activities also help to form the student's profile for consideration in college admissions. A student's academic record and scores on standardized tests form the core of his or her college application profile. However, admissions officers consider other factors, such as a demonstrated talent in athletics or the arts or leadership in school or extracurricular activities. After-school activities can also include scouting and volunteering, such as working with the Red Cross, a local animal shelter, a homeless shelter, or in a political campaign. Through these diverse activities, students can have fun, build a resume for college, increase creativity, improve organizational skills, learn time management, and develop people skills.

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