Student involvement is a mantra in academic circles everywhere, and for good reason. Wide research cites student involvement as a critical component to success, leading to increased retention toward graduation.
A 2006 study by John Foubert and Lauren Grainger shows developmental improvement for students involved in more extracurricular activities. The study followed 307 students their freshman, sophomore and senior years at Williamsburg, Virginia’s College of William and Mary, a public research university. Results show students who engaged in more out-of-class communities, and especially those in leadership roles, reported having a greater understanding of their purpose, and a more established independence and autonomy.
By contrast, uninvolved students placed consistently lower in those same areas.
“Having [a community] makes me feel more connected to the school,” says Anna Wermuth, a current Colorado College student. “It gives people an awesome space to feel like they belong.”
Though some shudder at the term “extracurricular involvement,” and all the weekend driving, fees or additional equipment that usually entails, others are finding inexpensive and creative ways to further their involvement. For Wermuth, a member of Element, one of Colorado College’s a cappella groups, music proved a perfect avenue.
It wasn’t easy finding her place, though. Wermuth says she tried to start an a cappella group…
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