The Effect of Extracurricular Activities on Academic Grades

Updated November 21, 2016

Extra-curricular activities are offered to a student who wants to spend his spare time in an enjoyable and structured environment. He is encouraged to take part in activities so that it will benefit him in other areas of his life. One area that an extra-curricular activity affects is academic achievement. It can have a positive and a negative impact on a child's grades.


The purpose of extra-curricular activities is to give children the chance to take part in interests that aren't covered in academic classes, according to the Jackson Public School District. For example, a child can pursue his love of soccer by joining an after-school team because PE lessons have to include other sports as well as soccer. A child who enjoys politics can join a debate team if he isn't able to take an elective in politics. These extra activities are supposed to enrich a child's education and give him a well-rounded experience outside of the classroom.

Positive Effect

There is believed to be a direct correlation between participation in an extra-curricular activity and high academic achievement. According to the University of Wisconsin, a child can take the principles of a structured extra-curricular activity and use them in his studies. A child can then have a better approach to studying. Research conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Stout shows that a child who takes part in extra-curricular activities has a higher grade point average than a child who doesn't. A child is provided with an extra-curricular interest that develops social skills, alternative resources and challenges. This can positively impact her concentration levels and allow her to focus on studying.

Negative Effect

There are arguments that extra-curricular activity participation can affect negatively on academics. According to California State University, a child who devotes his spare time to extra-curricular activities spends less time on studies. This can affect his grades if he is not spending enough time studying. It can also become stressful dedicating time to an activity if the schedule increases. As the academic workload increases, so too can an extra-curricular activity, and a child can feel stressed wondering how he can deal with both. Moreover, a child can get carried away and sign on to too many activities without thinking about how he will balance them all.


The types of extra-curricular activities available depend on where a child's skills lie. Sports-based activities are common for children of all ages. These include baseball, soccer, basketball, hockey and football. A child can become a member of an after-school club. Examples of these are theatre, debate and music. These clubs allow a child to express creativity, which she might do in academic subjects.


According to the University of Wisconsin, badly run activities outside of school can damage a child's achievements. The reason many are not run well is a lack of funding. It also states that affluent families are more likely to afford well-run programs for their child. However, a child from a poor background can benefit more from extra-curricular activities. An activity, like art or music, can open new experiences that a child from a disadvantaged school or neighbourhood would not otherwise experience.

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