Sunday, March 29, 2009

Social Skills, Extracurricular Activities In High School Pay Off Later In Life

Social Skills, Extracurricular Activities In High School Pay Off Later In Life

According to a University of Illinois professor who studies the sociology of education, high school sophomores who were rated by their teachers as having good social skills and work habits, and who participated in extracurricular activities in high school, made more money and completed higher levels of education 10 years later than their classmates who had similar standardized test scores but were less socially adroit and participated in fewer extracurricular activities.

Christy Lleras, a professor of human and community development, says that “soft skills” such as sociability, punctuality, conscientiousness and an ability to get along well with others, along with participation in extracurricular activities, are better predictors of earnings and higher educational achievement later in life than having good grades and high standardized test scores.

“That’s not to say that academic achievement in high school doesn’t matter – it does,” Lleras said. “But if we only look at standardized test scores, we’re only considering part of the equation for success as an adult in a global marketplace. Academic achievement is part of the story, but it’s not the whole story. You’ve got to have the social skills and work habits to back those achievements up.”

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