Hobbies for teens can range from the traditional to the unexpected. From playing sports or an instrument, to comics, video game design and knitting, there is something for everyone. And no matter what hobby your teen chooses, it can play an important developmental role and even help your teen prepare for college.
Here are six benefits of hobbies:
- Hobbies teach educational skills. Many people assume that pursuing your hobby can detract from your studies, but in reality, they often reinforce complementary skills. Most hobbies require research to get started and teens can learn how to perfect their craft. Many even help hone presentation and leadership abilities.
- Hobbies are a stress-relieving outlet. Everyone needs a break when they are studying. Hobbies can provide the perfect option to decompress — while still doing something productive. Finding a hobby that differs radically from studying can allow you to completely switch gears and return to your studies refreshed and ready to concentrate! With a course load full of math and science classes, something creative like art, dancing or juggling can be the outlet your teen needs.
- Hobbies teach desirable traits. Getting good grades requires focus, concentration and grit. So do hobbies. Mastering a challenging new skill can offer an incredible sense of satisfaction and help flex your “stick-to-it” muscles. Success with a hobby can help boost self confidence and can help teens with their poise and potentially even presentation skills. An active hobby boosts physical fitness, while a creative hobby can offer a chance to earn money.
- Hobbies can help build out a high school resume. College admissions officers aren’t just looking for the smartest students; they want the most well-rounded ones. Having a hobby can help provide that additional dimension to your resume that illustrates you are a multi-layered candidate.
- Hobbies can give be compelling subject matter for college essays. Looking for something interesting to talk about in your essay? Hobbies can provide fantastic fodder that will set you apart from other applicants. Choose an aspect of your hobby that can be used to illustrate something interesting about your personality. For example, do you have a unique hobby such as creating Lego dioramas or being a novice weather forecaster? Explaining how you got into the niche and what you find fascinating about it can make you stand out. Another option is to detail a character trait that your hobby helped you hone. Maybe learning to knit made you more patient and focused. Or maybe it inspired compassion and spurred you to create a community service project knitting hats for the cancer unit of your local hospital. Did you turn your expertise in learning magic tricks into a side business where you performed at kids’ birthday parties? Perhaps your school didn’t have a Robotics club, so you parlayed your hobby into a leadership opportunity by starting one.
- Hobbies can offer an avenue for earning money. Is it still a hobby if you earn money? Maybe not technically, but many teens have found a nice source of income for college savings, just from doing something they love. From fashioning Duct Tape wallets or bedazzled picture frames to sell online or at local craft fairs, to helping adults create a video montages for business presentations, many teens have found a way to monetize something they love. Not only does it produce cash, it teaches them important business skills like marketing, accounting and customer service.
And while hobbies can help bolster a college application, their benefits go far beyond that. Learning to appreciate tackling a task just for enjoyment is a lifelong skill that can lead to a more balanced life throughout college and beyond.