Does All Work and No Play Make a Dull Graduate? Perceptions of Extra-curricular Activities and Employability

Sharon Milner, Wendy Cousins, Iain McGowan

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It has been argued that there is a prima facie case as to why extra-curricular activities should be thought to contribute to graduate outcomes, yet few studies have examined student activities beyond the classroom and their role in student experience and graduate outcomes. This study collected data via a questionnaire survey (n=852) and a series of focus groups with students (n=95) to examine undergraduate perceptions of the role that extra-curricular activities play in developing employability skills. It was found that extracurricular activities were significantly correlated with other employability related aspects of student experience and viewed favourably by students in terms of CV building and enhancing employability. Yet students also reported that it was often difficult to participate in activities outside of their academic work and paid employment. It is concluded that the value of extra-curricular activities is widely recognised and universities should support students who wish to engage in them. Furthermore, future programmes aimed at harnessing the capacity of extra-curricular activities to develop student employability need to give due consideration to strategies for enhancing inclusion and diverse participation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016


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