Do Extracurricular Activities Affect Academics?

Updated February 21, 2017

Extra-curricular activities are programs such as athletics, clubs, performing arts and community service in which students engage while they are not in school. Parents and teachers often worry about a student being able to maintain their grades while being involved in additional activities. However, studies have shown that extra-curricular activities may actually help a student perform better academically.


According to a presentation given at the College of New Jersey by Alana Filosa, involvement in extra-curricular activities raises student's self-esteem. This outcome is produced because students obtain an enhanced sense of worth and responsibility through their participation in activities outside of school. Filosa points out that this increase in self-esteem could lead to more confidence and participation in the classroom and thus increased academic success.

Life Skills

A student who is involved with activities outside of school improves their time management, organizational and problem-solving skills because they must learn to balance their schoolwork with their extra-curricular commitments. These abilities all translate into improved academic performance. According to Iowa State University, high school students who are involved in extra-curricular activities have higher grades than students who are not due to their increased social and intellectual development.


According to Iowa State University, extra-curricular activities may help motivate high-risk students to work harder in class in order to remain in school and be able to participate in sports, fine arts or other programs and thus be the factors that prevent these students from failing or dropping out of school. Parents can mimic this motivation by telling young children that they must keep their grades above a certain level if they want to continue being involved in their extra-curricular activities.


According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health, fatigue is one side effect of extra-curricular activities that could negatively affect a student's academic performance. A student could become mentally and physically exhausted if she spends long hours on both her schoolwork and her extra-curricular programs. Parents and students need to work together to achieve a sense of balance, which includes proper nutrition and rest. If necessary, a student may need to reduce her out-of-school commitments to ensure she remains healthy and avoids exhausting herself.

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About the Author

Claire Jameson began writing in 2007 and received her first breakthrough when she had a narrative published in "Oxygen for the Swimmer." Her articles have been featured on eHow, where she specializes in topics concerned with health and science. Jameson holds Bachelors of Science in mathematics and biology from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently pursuing a nutritionist certification.