This is the third part of the series on “How to Select an Appropriate Secondary School”

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What is a CCA? 

Many students have the idea that a CCA is just a weekly activity after school. Yet, it can be a determining factor in your child’s holistic and socio-emotional growth – considering that it spreads over 30-week calendar is an average of five to six hours per week.  It works with the LEAPS 2.0 framework where equal weightage is given to all four domains: Leadership, Achievement, Participation and Service.

Most students generally  have just 1 CCA. If your child wants to have 2 CCAs, it will require a lot of time commitment and the workload. There are different types of CCAs – ranging from sports to clubs and uniformed groups.

So, what happens if CCA is a consideration for selection?

Selecting a CCA

One way to ensure if the school will be a good fit is to look at the school and its offerings of CCAs. If your child has any particular interest towards a CCA, it may be good for your child to find out more of the CCA’s track record and its successes. Your child must bear in mind that a successful CCA will require a lot of hard work and competition can be steep, especially if your child wises to be selected for the school team.

The time commitment for the various CCAs follow a general pattern:

Sports and Performing Arts : 3-5 times a week (usually intensifies when competition is near)

Uniformed Groups                 : 1-2 times a week (best CCAs to instil discipline and focus as it can be physically demanding)

Clubs                                          : 1-2 times a week (usually do not have stringent rules)

If your child is interested in being the Executive Committee to boost their chances of improving their grades, they have have a higher probability by taking on a less popular CCA. If your child’s leadership potential and interest towards a CCA is high, they may consider taking up the more popular ones.

CCA Banners

This is applicable if your child is particularly interested or excel in a CCA in primary school. There are some schools which proudly display awards won by their various CCAs. Some of these banners are updated yearly and on their websites. And …there are some which use just the same banners for years to come. If CCA is a consideration factor and your child is very interested in that particular CCA the school is known for; it will be good to ask the following questions as the tide of the CCA may just change without you knowing:

Who is the coach/ instructor of the CCA?

Has he/she been coaching the CCA for the past few years?

Did they change the instructor/ coach recently?

This question allows you to gauge the possible future path of that particular CCA. For example, if the CCA has been garnering awards under the same coach for the past few years, it is highly unlikely they will switch the coach unless necessary. If the coach has been switched recently, it may be due to lack of results.

Should You Choose Your Child’s CCA?

While most parents think they know their child best, it is actually more advisable for your child to choose their CCAs and learn to live with their consequences of their choices. It is also beneficial for your child to be exposed to varied interests so that they are aware of the various choices out there. Sometimes, there will be cases where your child wishes to switch to another CCA after they may be disillusioned with the first one. The reasons may vary from differences in leadership, lack of interest to differences with coach. While most parents may be against the switching of CCAs as they may forfeit the points, it is advisable to let them go ahead as some teens may actually take the extreme route (Boy Jumped Over CCA, Straits Times 2008).