Students who spend no time in extracurricular activities are 49% more likely to use drugs and 37% more likely to become teen parents than those who spend one to four hours per week in extracurricular activities (United States Department of Education. No Child Left Behind: The facts about 21st Century Learning. Washington, DC: 2002.)


In their 2006 report, Effects of Title IX and Sports Participation on Girls’ Physical Activity and Weight, Professors Kaestner and Xu of the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that the dramatic increase in sports participation among girls in the aftermath of the passage of Title IX was associated with an increase in physical activity and an improvement in weight and body mass among adolescent girls. They conclude that their results strongly suggest that Title IX and the increase in athletic opportunities among adolescent females it engendered had a beneficial effect on the health of adolescent girls.


A Harvard Educational Review article in 2002 found that participation in extracurricular activities in high school appears to be one of the few interventions that benefit low-status, disadvantaged students – those less well served by traditional educational programs – as much or more than their more advantaged peers.


In telephone interviews of a national sample of teens in 2001, more than half (54%) said they wouldn’t watch so much TV or play video games if they had other things to do after school. The same survey found that more than half of teens wish there were more community or neighborhood-based programs available after school, and two- thirds of those surveyed said they would participate in such programs if they were available.


Bonnie Barber and her colleagues, contributors to the 2005 book, Organized Activities as Developmental Contexts for Children and Adolescents, concluded that making diverse clubs and activities available to a wide range of students is important. The opportunity to embed one’s identity in multiple extracurricular contexts and to experience multiple competencies facilitates attachment to school and adjustment. Activity participation is also linked to affiliation with peers who are academically focused. Adolescents can benefit from this synergistic system when they have opportunities to participate in diverse activities.


Students who compete in high school activity programs make higher grades and have better attendance.

According to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, students who participate in the arts nine hours or more each week for at least a year are four times more likely to: be recognized for academic achievement, win a school attendance award, participate in a science and math fairand win an award for writing. They are also three times more likely to be elected to class office.


A Minnesota State High School League survey of 300 Minnesota high schools showed that the average GPA of a student-athlete was 2.84, compared with 2.68 for the average student, and that student-athletes missed an average of only 7.4 days of school each year, compared with 8.8 for the average student. (Trevor Born. High Standard for GPA, in Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 14, 2007.)

A study published in the August 2007 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that students who took part in more vigorous sports like soccer or football or skateboarding, did approximately 10% better in math, science, English and social studies classes.


According the College Entrance Examination Board, music students scored about 11 percent higher than non-music students on the 2001 SAT. Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT than students with no arts participation. Students in music performance scored 57 points high in the verbal area and 41 points higher in math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math.