The Benefits of Co-curricular Activities in College
College is certainly one of the best periods of our lives. By going through it, we take an important step towards success. We also know that this is also a time when dedication and focus need to be present. Therefore, those who want to graduate quickly need to do their best and carry out all academic commitments, such as fulfilling the required workload of co-curricular activities.
But what, in fact, are these activities? Why are they needed? How to fulfil them? It was precisely with the intention of answering these questions that we created this post.
What are co-curricular activities?
If you enter an undergraduate course, at one time or another you will come across co-curricular activities. This is because they are mandatory to complement the academic curriculum — that is, to receive the long-awaited degree, it is necessary to comply with the minimum workload determined.
As the name implies, these activities are a complement to the learning obtained from the curriculum. The purpose of this type of task is to add new experiences to expand the student’s education. In this way, in addition to improving their academic performance, they also gain more support for their personal and professional development and as a citizen. Activities can be divided into two categories:
- Internal co-curricular activities: they are carried out within the faculty, such as supervising, scientific initiation, research, and extension.
- External co-curricular activities: workshops, congresses, free online courses, exchanges, and non-mandatory internships, among others.
Why are they important?
As much as many still think that way, co-curricular activities were not created with the objective of being another obstacle for those who want to graduate. They make a lot of sense in an academic context, as they are important for enriching the teaching and learning process. After all, they are activities with the purpose of promoting students to complement their personal, social, and professional training.
Co-curricular commitments open the door for the student to know their profession in other aspects. The student has the chance to learn new things outside the traditional teaching model, and this guarantees a series of productive experiences in environments other than the academic institution. These learning alternatives allow the development of more autonomy, which translates into intellectual independence and other characteristics valued in a professional, such as proactivity, curiosity, and innovation.
An important point to be highlighted is the true relevance of co-curricular activities to the university’s life. It is not enough to see them only as an obligation and fulfil them with the sole intention of completing the workload. For it to be valid learning, the student must choose actions that make sense for him, that bring positive effects, and favour his growth.
Another issue to be raised is that, due to the flexible workload, it is the student himself who controls and manages these commitments, which can be carried out even during the vacation period. By law, there is a limit on the additional hours that each faculty may require, and they are defined by the institution itself — therefore, it is necessary to obtain information from the collegiate body.
Which co-curricular activities are available in college?
The undergraduate course offers a series of interesting options for those looking for additional hours. Keep an eye!
Supervising is a great option for a co-curricular activity for those who want to get more involved in the academic world. Through it, the student can help colleagues from other periods in a certain discipline. At the same time, he reinforces the content for himself and develops communication and relationship skills.
One of the positive points of supervising is that, as it is carried out within the college itself, it becomes easier to fit it into your routine without having to unfold or rush. In addition, the workload for this activity tends to be more flexible since it understands that students have too many academic commitments.
Going through an internship experience is essential for every graduate. This is because it is through this experience that future professionals can acquire more knowledge about the field in which they will work, in addition to maturity and interpersonal development.
For this reason, professional internships are very enriching co-curricular activities. No wonder that, in some cases, they are mandatory — so that students can graduate soon and start a career with more chances of success.
It is also a good opportunity to enrich the curriculum and even find a good job for those in their final periods, as many companies have the habit of hiring interns after they graduate.
Undertaking an exchange program is an interesting co-curricular activity for those who want to be fluent in another language and, in addition, to discover new countries and experience other cultures. For this reason, it is an experience that is highly sought after by recruiters.
If you have the opportunity, it is interesting to opt for exchange programs between universities, as that way you can take a semester or even a year abroad. There are also work and study program options, in which the student can participate in a course and, at the same time, work part-time to defray their expenses.
Having academic research in the curriculum as a co-curricular activity is a way to make it more attractive to recruiters. This demonstrates interest and commitment on the part of the student to put into practice what was developed in the classroom.
In addition, it is an effective way to create engagement with professors, participate in academic events — such as conferences and seminars — and learn to develop scientific work.
If you are interested in this field, know that colleges usually have research groups coordinated by their own professors, who are responsible for selecting undergraduate students for scientific initiation scholarships.
The volunteering process is a co-curricular activity that has a lot to add to the student. In addition to being something well-regarded in a curriculum, it is a way of making a difference in society, doing good for others, and, at the same time, promoting personal fulfilment.
For this, look for social projects that are important to you and get in touch. You can volunteer for NGOs for animals, underprivileged children, cultural projects, among others. In general, these causes are always open for help.
Remember that volunteering activities do not always need to be related to your future field of action, as the important thing here is the experience for the formation of the undergraduate in all aspects, which includes social responsibility and personal evolution.
Free online courses
Open courses are great options for co-curricular activities. Thus, the student has flexibility in their routine and can create their own timetables to study online. With this autonomy, it is possible to develop a greater sense of responsibility regarding studies.
In addition to its practicality, another good reason to opt for this type of co-curricular activity is its cost-effectiveness. Online free courses have a very low investment compared to workshops, lectures, among others. Students will be able to study directly from their homes, without having to worry about traveling. Just have a device connected to the internet.
What are the benefits of participating in these activities?
The university student who participates in co-curricular activities has much to gain from these experiences. In addition to deepening your theoretical knowledge, there are also several other advantages, such as:
1. Skills acquisition
Through these activities, you can develop new skills or improve your behavioural skills. This is because all learning results in some modification in our way of thinking and seeing the world. Examples of characteristics that can be melded are communication; teamwork; leadership etc.
2. Develop practical knowledge
In the classroom, students receive a solid theoretical repertoire, but they do not always have good opportunities to put their knowledge into practice. In this way, co-curricular activities are great ways to launch into active mode and gain more self-confidence to play your role. And this is also a preparation for entering the job market.
3. Having contact with different realities and cultures
Extracurricular commitments allow you to leave the familiar didactic format and face other realities, related or not to your future profession. This is the case, for example, of those who opt for volunteer work and life experiences that are very different from those that are part of their daily lives.
4. Increase the network of relationships
Undoubtedly, one of the great advantages of participating in co-curricular undergraduate programs is the increase in the network of contacts. These activities are ideal for meeting new people — other university students, professors, seasoned professionals, speakers, and so on. And you already know that networking is essential for professional development, right?
5. Prepare for a future specialization
Co-curricular tasks also help give you an idea of the path you plan to take after graduation. When it comes time to do a postgraduate course, it is interesting that you already have some knowledge of the area in which you intend to specialize. For example, if you choose a scientific initiation during college, you can identify with that field and put a master’s degree in your career path.
Now you know what co-curricular activities are, how to fulfil them, and the advantages of participating in these programs. Therefore, to graduate, it is essential not to leave this issue to the last minute. Remember that your participation in these actions is of great importance not only for your academic training but also for your personal, social, and professional growth.