How to Balance School with Extracurriculars

High school student, Jessica Levy, shares how she strikes a balance between her priorities of school and extracurriculars.

Many students face common, recurring internal debates. Should I study before or after practice? Should I sign up for this club or focus on this tough class? Even while the situation varies, the core challenge remains the same. How do I juggle my schoolwork with my extracurriculars? As academics and hobbies both play crucial roles in college admissions, it’s important for students to find a balance that works best for them. We spoke with RaiseMe High School Ambassador, Jessica Levy, to understand her approach on managing priorities, and get the tips she has for fellow students.

Jessica Levy Student Voices
Juggling school with extracurriculars

Are you worried about the workload of high school? College and financial stability is a major goal for most high school students, but sometimes this fixation leads to many unseen problems. Though it is in no way bad to contribute to school activities, it’s still important to remember that there are only so many hours in a day. Trust me — I speak from experience.

With so much expectation on our shoulders as a generation, we can often get carried away with responsibilities, and before we know it, we’ll be struggling to keep up with our commitments. If you feel yourself thinking, “The more activities I participate in, the more colleges will like me,” please consider your schedule before applying for something! As an AP student myself, I tend to overwork myself sometimes, which can lead to little sleep and long, grumpy days. A little tip for this: Do as much homework during the day as you can if you have a club or practice after school — it will help with your workload when you get home. And if you find that it’s getting too late and you can’t focus properly on your work, go to sleep! At that point, there’s nothing else you can do, so it’s not worth it being tired the next day.

It also helps to write things down in a planner! I know this helps me keep track of things when I have band practice or projects due, not to mention it’s been scientifically proven that crossing items off a list once you’ve done them releases endorphins in your brain and relieves stress. The act of writing something down also helps you remember it better and builds good time management habits for college.

And one last option people often forget: talk with your teacher! If you know the teacher well and you know they’re reasonable, don’t be afraid to talk with them about any scheduling conflicts. I just had a teacher last year that gave students two days to complete a homework assignment, because he understood that many kids in AP classes were involved in time consuming extracurriculars. They will most likely try their best to work out a solution with you, making things easier on both parties.

RaiseMe Insight: Wondering why colleges are interested in what you do beyond the classroom? Check out our piece on how your extracurriculars can help you get accepted to college.

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