We found a lot of information showing how important extra-curricular activities are for successful students.  Most of the researchers said that the break from studying refreshes a student so they can concentrate when they return to their homework.  Most people agree that coming home from school and starting your homework right away is not a good habit.  Taking a break to get something to eat and getting some physical exercise helps you pay attention when you do start to study. 

Some people think that students who are involved in after school clubs or sports have better time management because they know they can't keep their grades up and do sports unless they use their time wisely.  When you are involved in extra-curricular activities, it is important that you have a priority system.  Grades should be the first priority and then you should rate all the other activities.  Both of our families have a system that works something like this:

Grades (homework, attendance)
Church activities
Girl Scouts
Community Service

Our parents do not allow us to quit something after we have made a commitment to a team, a club, or a group of people. We have learned to think things out before we ask to join something.

We think it is important to be involved in extra-curricular activities, but it's also important to make time for family and friends.  Sometimes our lives get so busy we don't have time for our family or our friends.  Sometimes it would be nice to watch television for an afternoon.  But we think it is better to be involved than to sit around all the time playing video games, watching television, or just hanging around on the streets.  The main reason to join a club or team is that it gives you something better to do than staring at the wall, or napping all afternoon. People get involved are less likely to become addicted to bad habits, such as smoking or drinking.

Mary Rombokas did a survey of college students and came up with some interesting facts.  We have put them on another page in case you would want to read her research.

Mary Rombokas did a survey of college students who were involved in extracurricular activities in high school to discover if there was in fact a connection between involvement in activities and academic achievement. She concluded after inquiring two hundred ninety-two college students that "participation in extracurricular activities improves both the academic and social development of students" (Rombokas 21). In her research, she discovered that athletes have higher grade point averages than the students that are not in athletics (Rombokas 6). In addition, Rombokas found that a national survey performed by Durbin in 1984 showed that students in extracurricular activities in high school received better grades when they were participating in activities. But the students that were not participating in activities  (Rombokas 8). It is proven that people who exercise do better in school.

A large amount of components have a say about the reasons why extracurricular activities benefit students academically. One of the reasons is that, students learn character-building lessons that they can apply in their studies and to their lives. Activities such as athletics, music, theater teach students how to discipline themselves through drills, practices, or rehearsals. The students have a responsibility to the activity and must perform the tasks assigned to them whether it means to run, sing, act, or organize an event. By participating and persevering in any of these activities, the students gain a sense of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Extracurricular activities give them pride in their accomplishments, and they learn that if an activity is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Students echoed Rombokas’ conclusions because on her survey 74.6% reported that they felt team sports are an excellent way to build character (Rombokas 18).

Through extracurricular activities, students learn life skills that help their studies. Matt Craft, president of the Iowa State University Government of the Student Body, stated that being involved teaches students organization and time management skills. Because activities take time out of the students’ schedules, the involved students must plan their time wisely and efficiently to complete the assigned tasks (Craft). In Berson’s survey of the community college softball team, she also found that the students had to learn to budget their time for their studies and four-hour per day softball practices. In addition to organizational skills, extracurricular activities in the arts teach students logical skills and creative problem solving skills since they have to think creatively to successfully perform music, act in a play, or produce a work of art.

Not only do extracurricular activities help students that are already successful in school to further succeed, they also help students that are at risk of flunking out to remain in school. Erin Fowkes, counselor at the Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School, stated that students involved in activities at that high school cannot flunk more than two classes or they will be unable to participate. Therefore, the borderline students who thoroughly enjoy their activity work hard to pass their classes in order that they may continue to participate (Fowkes). In Rombokas’ research, she found that extracurricular activities are the only component that makes some students stay in school and attend regularly (Rombokas 10). Another benefit of extracurricular activities for at risk students is that it lessens the number of discipline problems. Rombokas discovered in her research that “High school athletes were considerably less involved in school-related deviance, non-school related deviance, drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse, and serious offenses with the law.” Extracurricular activities give students positive activities in which to be involved, and they spend their time in a productive manner. Also, some high schools have policies that students cannot participate in activities if they have violated the law (Fowkes).

Although social aspects of a student’s life do not affect his or her grade point average, they do affect the overall wellbeing of the student. Education is not exclusively learned by reading the textbook for students can learn an incredible amount from their peers through extra-curricular activities. Students learn how to compromise and work in a group. Extracurricular activities also allow students to meet and interact with students that may not be within their close group of friends. In addition, extracurricular activities help to enhance these social skills and teach lessons not learned in a classroom. Laura Bestler, assistant director of the student activities at the Student Activities Center, said that extracurricular activities are an effective way to network and meet other people with whom the students can study (Bestler). Reinforcing Bestler’s statement, Erin Fowkes commented that extracurricular activities teach students to work in teams and work cooperatively, skills that will help students be successful in school and attain jobs in the future (Fowkes).

Therefore, administrations of schools ought to continue their funding of extracurricular activities since it clearly benefits the students’ academic achievement. Schools should encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities since they benefit the students in many ways. Also, the schools should inform the coaches and group sponsors on the influence that the extracurricular activities have on the students’ lives. Activities are not solely about what the score is, how many wins or losses are attained during a season, or what place is won at a competition. They provide and instruct students with lessons that will last them a lifetime.

Interview questions for Laura Bestler, Matt Craft, and Erin Fowkes

  1. Why is it beneficial for students to be involved?
  2. Why do involved students get better grades?
  3. Does it matter what type of activity the student is in?
  4. Why are clubs and organizations funded by the university?
  5. How are activities a vital component of a well-rounded education?


Berson, Judith S. (1996, March). Student Perceptions of the Intercollegiate Athletic Program at a Community College. Paper Presented at the Annual Convention for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Atlanta, GA. ERIC Document ED404607.

Bestler, Laura. Telephone Interview. 11 Oct. 1999.

Craft, Matthew. Telephone Interview. 11 Oct. 1999.

Fowkes, Erin. Telephone Interview. 11 Oct. 1999.

Rombokas, Mary. (1995, October). High School Extracurricular Activities and College Grades. Paper Presented at the Southeastern Conference of Counseling Personnel, Jekyll Island, GA. ERIC Document ED391134.



The National Center for Educational Statistics states on their website:

Almost every high school in the U.S. offers some type of extracurricular activity, such as music, academic clubs, and sports. These activities offer opportunities for students to learn the values of teamwork, individual and group responsibility, physical strength and endurance, competition, diversity, and a sense of culture and community. 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. Recent research suggests that participation in extracurricular activities may increase students' sense of engagement or attachment to their school, and thereby decrease the likelihood of school failure and dropping out (Lamborn et al, 1992; Finn, 1993).

  • Decide how many days a week you can work without allowing your schoolwork to get behind.

  • Join an extra curricular activity that would be fun for you.

  • If you want to get involved listen to announcements  for school activities like student council, clubs or sports. Some schools have bulletin boards that have the activities listed.

  • Make sure that school work comes before the activities.