Does your school offer enrichment programs? If you haven’t considered them before, now is a great time. Enrichment programs can not only change the entire course of a student’s life, but they can attract more families to your school and build your reputation in the community.

Put simply, a generous enrichment program can improve all aspects of students and develop their abilities quite rapidly in specific subjects. It can open up new opportunities and broaden perspectives. The programs can also create lifelong friendships, spark new ideas, and develop confidence.

Below we share seven significant advantages that enrichment programs offer to students at any age. It should also be easy to see that the more enrichment programs a student can take advantage of, the better!

1. Gain exposure to new subjects and disciplines

An enrichment program of any kind gives students the opportunity to try new things and explore recent interests. It gives them a chance to branch out and learn about things they may not have considered before.

Younger children can use this exposure to develop unique interests. For example, a coding camp can allow middle schoolers to explore practical code applications or even teach them how to make their own video games. Older students may use the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day of what their current “dream job” might entail or what a job in an entirely new field of interest is like.

2. Encourage curiosity and further learning

Rather than learning something new, an enrichment program may allow students to explore an interest in greater detail. It could even shift their perspective radically by introducing new tools or frames of perspective.

For everyone, no matter their age, passion can fade with time. By taking advantage of expertly designed enrichment programs, that recent interest may be renewed. Students involved in extracurriculars, including enrichment programs, are more engaged at school.

3. Identify talent and key areas of interest and ability

Specific programs can help students identify what they are good at in particular. They may have an aptitude for something they have never even tried before. For all students, discovering they have a natural talent for something new can be inspiring and exciting. This combination can spark any student’s potential.

If this is done at a younger age, a student will have a greater range of opportunities later down the line. Older students, however, can still benefit from a new interdisciplinary spark.

4. Reduce anxiety

Anxious students frequently focus on what could happen. On if they are capable of a given thing, or if they are falling behind. Specific enrichment programs can help with the anxiety directly. However, any enrichment program can provide students with a set of new, unique experiences to draw from and help students prove to themselves how capable they are. These programs can also help illuminate future paths and careers.

5. Increase social and soft skills

In a traditional classroom, soft skills are not often emphasized. If a student is interested in a pure science discipline, it may help them to improve their speaking abilities to gain funding or sponsorship. The same can be said for art disciplines. The ability to make new friends and connections can be an invaluable life skill and is often overlooked in a traditional classroom.

6. Helps students gain “real world” and applied experiences

For most disciplines to be learned successfully by a student, that student needs time to apply any knowledge they have collected. In many cases, this application won’t be found in the classroom. The more generous an enrichment program, the more experiences someone can gain.

These experiences of applying what one has learned fall under the umbrella of “applied learning.” Students with the ability to focus on applied learning are 1.5x less likely to fail in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subject. They also do an average of 6% better than their peers.

7. Enhance confidence in personal abilities

Being confident about something you’ve never tried before is hard. This is true even if you’ve read about it, heard lectures about it, and taken tests on the subject. If you’ve never done the thing in question by yourself and with minimal guidance, it can be hard to say, with complete confidence, that you know how to do it.

Enrichment programs can give that to students—the ability to know what they are capable of. In many cases, a student’s skills are higher than they think they are. Giving them a challenge or set of problems in a relaxed, un-graded, and supportive environment can grow a person’s confidence and ability more rapidly and with less stress.