Extracurricular Activities and Academic Grades

Extracurricular Activities and Academic Grades

Many parents worry that extracurricular activities will inhibit their children’s performance in school. Various studies have shown that students who participate in extracurricular activities excel in academic performance more often than children who do not. The National Center for Education Statistics states, “Extracurricular activities provide a channel for reinforcing the lessons learned in the classroom, offering students the opportunity to apply academic skills in a real-world context, and are thus considered part of a well-rounded education.”

1 Higher Attendance Rate

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students who participate in extracurricular activities have a 15 percent higher classroom attendance rate than students who are not involved. Sports and clubs expect participants to attend all meetings and practices and often limit participation if too many are missed. Students learn to recognize that attendance is vital to their success. Therefore, they are more apt to take their academic attendance just as seriously.

2 Better Grade Averages

Students who do not miss classes are more likely to have a higher grade point average. This goes hand in hand with extracurricular activities, because the majority of sports, arts and academic clubs require a good GPA for participation. Enforcing this rule motivates students to stay on-task with their classroom and homework assignments. Fellow participants encourage each other to keep good grades. Often, while waiting for practice or meetings to begin, students can work on homework assignments together. In addition, physical activity increases brain function and concentration levels, which lead to higher grades.

3 Social Engagement Improvement

The social component of extracurricular activities instills a sense of community, responsibility and involvement. Students who participate in extracurricular activities are more likely to feel confident in their ability to multitask and are more likely to request help on assignments they do not understand. Students learn to respect themselves and others, and this leads to higher self-esteem. High self-esteem improves social, personal and academic performance.

4 Improved College Opportunities

Most extracurricular activities have a connection to higher education opportunities. Students who excel in sports, master a skill such as playing an instrument or invent a formula in a physics or math club may be entitled to college scholarships and grants. This incentive makes students more aware of their performance in and out of the classroom, making them pay greater attention to their studies. In addition, teachers, coaches and instructors are more willing to write recommendation letters for students who show dedication and perseverance. College scouts are looking for high achievers, and these students are often given opportunities to continue their extracurricular activities in higher education. Participation also shows the student's ability to balance all areas of his life.

Sera Rivers is a writer, writing coach and child advocate. In 2007 she began teaching creative writing in group and private settings and freelancing for "Southwoods Magazine." She writes online about Western Massachusetts special needs kids. Rivers received her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2010.