Effects of Extracurricular Activities on Students
Najum Ul Saqib, Musab Abdul Raheem, Mobeen Iqbal,
Muhammad Salman, Tayyab Shahzad.
Degree - 36, Syndicate – A
Department of Electrical Engineering
College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
National University of Sciences and Technology
The students who actively participate in extracurricular activities get a lot of benefits including
higher grades, and test scores, higher educational achievements, more regularity in class
attendance and higher self-confidence. While out-of-school activities increase leadership and
teamwork abilities in students. These activities also decrease the use of drugs, alcohol and
behavioral and disciplinary problems related to their use.
Over-scheduling in excessive activities can decrease the benefits of participation in
extracurricular activities. Students can become tired and lazy and thus become less interested in
participation. Students may also try to go beyond their limits to show extra performance resulting
in some serious injuries. Over-scheduling requires students to rest much more to fully recover
All the extracurricular activities are not free of cost. Financial barriers may restrict some families
from participation in activities which demand pay-to-play fee such as private lessons or training
fee in summer camps.
Students and guardians should try to establish a balance between extracurricular activities and
academics to help students increase their confidence level and self-concept thus contributing to
goodwill of whole community as responsible citizens. Responsible citizens must cooperate with
concerned authorities to help reduce financial barriers which hinder the participation of most
students in healthy extracurricular activities and thus providing leadership opportunities and a
Nowadays a vast variety of extracurricular activities are being offered in schools, colleges and
universities. These extracurricular activities may include sports, debates, essay writing, drama or
theatre, different clubs and student councils. There are two school of thoughts, one in support of
participating and other in support of not participating in extracurricular activities. So it is of great
interest to determine that how participating in different kinds of activities effects the students,
both in academics and as well as in their future professional life.
It is said that an empty mind is a home of Satan, emphasizing on the fact that it is necessary for a
person to keep himself busy in healthy activities, otherwise he may get involved in bad habits
such as drugs, smoking, stealing etc. So the question of how the young generation spends its
leisure time is important to determine the prosperity of society.
An important question arises that why some youngsters remain underachieved, are unable to
have confidence in themselves and not do something great in their life. These things in addition
to their academic performance can be linked to the activities that they do outside the class room.
Along with the benefits of participation in these activities one should also know about its adverse
effects, how one should maintain a balance between extracurricular and his academics, How
participating in different activities can have different effects in the future.
Keeping in mind the growing rate of un-employability of the young generation especially in
Pakistan, it is often claimed by the employers that students who develop additional skills outside
the class room are preferred over the students who just focus on their studies, as participating in
extracurricular activities develops self-confidence, improves communication skills and also help
in promoting other characteristics such as team work and leadership in the individuals. But some
people say that by getting involved in these activities, students become detracted from their
studies, lose their focus and are stressed from this overburden and hence their academic
A lot of research has been done to inquire the effects of involvement in extracurricular activities,
which are discussed later in literature review. Most of them have given a very descriptive
qualitative analysis regarding this topic, as a result the conclusions drawn were more biased to
the author’s opinion. This research paper aims to give broader and more refined results by
collecting and analyzing data from both the students and also the people who have graduated and
are currently pursuing their professional life.
For this research paper two types of survey were done, one was intended towards the current
students studying in various universities to get data regarding how participation in extracurricular
effects their academic performance and the other was intended towards the graduates who have
stepped into their professional life to get an estimate as how these activities have helped them
excel in their professional career.
This chapter discusses some of positive impacts of participation in extracurricular activities on
development of student’s personality and academic performance. It will also discuss some of
negative effects which may be caused due to over-scheduling and unfortunate injuries.
Students must associate themselves with activities which are beneficial for them. As Eccles
(2003) suggested that students who participated in intentional, school based extracurricular
activities perform better at school (referred to in Mahoney et al., in press). This happens on the
ground that it facilitates
1. Human interaction skills.
2. More passionate association to one’s school.
Participation in out-of-school activities help develop students brain contributing to better mental
health. It also helps them fortify their academic performance for a long period of time.
Extracurricular activities also reduce behavioral and disciplinary problems.
A study was conducted by Daley and Leahy in 2003 which discussed the improvement in self-
concept caused by involvement in physical exercises. Participation in physical extracurricular
activities reduce the stress caused by excessive studies. Students remain physical and mentally
fit. Also, their body is in good shape which gives them self-confidence and a better view of their
appearance. Apart from these those who are not involved in any physical activities at all lack
these qualities (Daley and Leahy, 2003).
The first group in research conducted by Daley and Leahy included 126 arbitrarily chosen
children which were roughly 8 to 9 years of age. All of the children were involved in some or
other form of physical extracurricular activity like athletics, gymnasts, sports etc. The activities
were organized by their schools. The activities were held at least once per every 7 days. The
second group included 63 other students which were not involved in any sort of physical
extracurricular activities whether at school or out-of-school. Those who were regular
participators had a better self-concept than those who were not. So, Delay and Leahy concluded
that there was a direct relation between self-perception and participation in physical
extracurricular activities (Daley and Leahy, 2003).
It is also proposed that such kind of investment also gives children a sort of certainty about their
social and physical selves. Socialization and fellowship are also a crucial part of a student’s life
thus it makes social skill a necessary part of student’s character. Participation in extracurricular
activities provide students with greater opportunities to interact with people outside their current
social circle thus contributing to increased friendship and social confidence development.
Participation in these activities promote maturity and self-discipline in youngsters. This study
also concluded that those students who were active participants have developed a greater feeling
of responsibility and commitment. As a result it as concluded that those students who took part in
physical extracurricular activities ha a higher self-discernment than those who were not involved
in physical exercises (Delay and Leahy, 2003).
Another study discussed the impacts of investment in extracurricular activities on academic
achievements of students. As per Brown (n.d.), students who were actively participating in out-
of-school activities secured higher grades and standardized test marks, they had higher
educational achievements, they were more punctual and regular in their class attendance and had
a greater self-perception. Participants in extracurricular activities are also found to be less
involved with the usage of illegal drugs and liquor, less drop-out rate and less suicide cases
Participation in extracurricular activities help youngsters learn important set of skill like team
building and teamwork, and role-playing skills like leadership skill. All these skill help students
prosper in their school life as well as in their professional life. During the school life and
afterwards, those students who are members of teams are more likely to make friends more
easily that who are not, they are more easily adjusted in new environment and can easily
showcase their leadership abilities based on their experience gained by participation in
extracurricular activities. Participation also decreases behavioral problems. The research
concluded that those students who were engaged in social activities from 2-8 pm were less
probable to commit crimes (Brown, n.d.).
Participation in organized extracurricular activities not only help students achieve a better
position in studies by also contribute largely to social and personal development of students. For
example, Logan and Scarborough (2008) told a story about a child named David who was a poor
but academically gifted child. He had a very troublesome time during his early days at new
school. But later on as he joined school’s “Outdoor Adventurers” club all his troubles were gone
and he started making better relations with his peers.
Extracurricular activities provide students with a genuine chance to develop their social identities
and skills. As Olson (2008) told that the students who attended school’s musical programs had
less sentiment of distance, had advanced individual development and a typical bon between
home and school. It provides students with an informal organization and an emotionally
supportive network that is related to their school (referred to in Darling, Caldwell and Smith et
aI., in Feldman and Mati asko, 2005).
Athletic is another example of helpful extracurricular activities to be participated in. Athletics
help students learn the skill of interaction with their peer, working for the best interest of whole
team, subordination skills and also leadership skills. All these skills are crucial to development of
self-identity of a student athlete (referred to in Darling, Caldwell and Smith et aI., in Feldman
and Mati asko, 2005). The sports activities organized by schools create a social network for their
student athletes that encourages the value of school, studies and studies in schools here after
A student’s social self-concept is positively impacted by the development opportunities offered
to him by sports. This contributes to higher scholarly desire and thus better academics outcomes
for student athletes (Smith, 2008). Juvenile students who does not get a chance to be associated
with a particular group are more likely to endure negative repercussions which include:
disciplinary issues, drug abuse, drop-out and suicide in extreme cases (Smith, 2008).
One of the most common debating topic regarding the participation in extracurricular activities is
whether the involvement in these activities have a positive or a negative impact on academic
performance of a student. As per Reeves (2008) those students who were invested themselves in
more than one extracurricular activities throughout the whole academic year had secured much
higher grades than those students who were not involved in any such activities at all.
Darling, Caldwell and Smith (2005) concluded that student athletes had following studies related
benefits over those students who were not athletes: they secure higher GPA, they are more
strongly committed to their school, they have less behavioral and disciplinary problems, they
have lower drop-out and absentees rate, they are more inclined to go to school full time and
graduate in time, they have higher desires to attend colleges, universities and they have better
professional status 15 years after completing secondary school.
It should not be perceived that only athletics impart a positive impact on students, other activities
like fine arts also positively impact students’ life. Olson (2008) conducted a study which
concluded that the absentees rate was significantly lower for the students who were involved in
fine arts activities as compared to those students who didn’t participate in any extracurricular
activities at all. He also determined that those students who were dropped out of the school were
less likely to be participating in any kind of activities than those students who completed their
school on time (referred to in Olson at el., Bowman and Matthews, 2008). Contribution in
extracurricular activities is reliably related with regularity in attendance and regularity in
attendance is directly related to higher GPA (Olson, 2008).
One of the most helpful positive impact of participation in extracurricular activities is the
likelihood of a student procuring a steady relationship, guide or good example with a grown-up.
Students may identify a helpful coach or mentor and then look for genuine advice towards them.
This provides students with an opportunity to develop healthy relationship outside their
immediate family. This promotes respect, commitment in relationship and most importantly trust
(referred to in Smith at el, Feldman and Matjasko, 2005), If a student is related to a caring and
supporting mentor, teacher, coach or other adult, he/she may get a lot of benefit out of this
relationship. This “other adult relationship” is an asset which can be relied upon for academic
and professional life success (Logan and Scarborough, 2008).
In addition to positive impacts of extracurricular activities, there may be many potential negative
impacts which should also be mentioned. Reeves (2008) conducted a study with the conclusion
that guardians and teachers does not allow students to participate in out-of-school activities with
this concept in mind that student may become too much involved with these extracurricular
activities and lose their focus on studies. Students may not be left with enough time for home
work if they are attending excessive training class, or gathering. Over-scheduling may cause
students to become irritable and lazy, they may not be much attentive in class and spend less time
preparing for tasks assigned.
The case may be reverse too. Some parents and guardian may want their students to participate
in almost every accessible extracurricular activity. Moreover, parents are scheduling their
children in activities like football, youth gatherings and piano classes as a daycare routine. This
not only effects the academic performance of students but also the commitment or dedication
shown by student towards a particular activity is affected if he/she is forced to be involved in it.
Thompson (2008) also stated this concept as “The level of commitment is much more important
than the specific activity”. Over-scheduling also affects students physically and emotionally.
Emotional impacts include stress and fatigue while physical impacts include injuries and burn-
out. The main reason of these problems may be parent if they force their children to be involved
in activities which students does not want to participate in at all. Students are afraid to quit the
activity with the fear of disappointing their parent, while on the other hand some students may
quit everything. Thus student should be allowed to be involved in activities of his/her own
Gilman (2004) determined from his research that student athletes had a higher rate of illegal drug
and liquor utilization. Here it should be noted that these negative impacts may be because of
poor coaching quality or students’ own associate gathering or social significance of activity in
students’ community. (Gilman, 2004).
In another study, Gilman (2004) requested his subjects to recognize themselves as on particular
character from the movie “The Breakfast Club”. The subjects could choose from one of the
following character: the Princess, the Brain, the Criminal, the Jock and the Breakfast Case. He
concluded that those who recognized themselves as “Jocks” had greater involvement in sports,
they had higher self-concept and lower social confinement, they also secured greater GPA. But
as in the previous studies, these subjects were more probable to using drugs than others (Gilman,
Those who are economically stronger may have an unjustifiably preferred stand point over those
who are poor. Student competitors are lopsidedly of a higher financial status (Smith, 2008).
Athletic participation in not free of cost, one requires gear, transportation and pay-to-play
charges. This may become a barrier for those who are not financially strong. The socioeconomic
status hinders most students, who are good athletes, from going to top level as they be lacking
private training, and clubs play. An average-income student can never compete with an athlete
who is equipped with top gear, and enjoy the facility to train in clubs. This economic
disadvantage causes dissatisfaction and frustration to students and can even disallow some of
them from attempting sports/athletics at first hand. Allar (2008) also determined that funds may
be an issue for most of the students. “I have to work to help make money for my family” by a
student clearly shows that how financial status can be a barrier between interest and participation
in extracurricular activities.
One of the most denying negative impact of participation in athletics is wounds or injuries.
Sometimes injuries are so serious that they last for a life-time, such injuries mostly occur in
sports like football, soccer and hockey etc. During the developing age, athletes are full of
confidence and may push themselves beyond their limits or over-work themselves. In addition,
played may push themselves beyond the breaking-point if coaches are expecting much more than
their limits from them. Human bode needs some time to relax and recover from the tiredness
caused by hard work, if players doesn’t get ample time to recover they have an increased risk of
getting seriously injured. The risk on accident may be reduced with better coaching, top gear and
thorough warmup but there is always some margin of error. Student who lack medical insurance
because of lower economic status prefer not to be involved in such activities even if they want to.
A final negative impact of investment in extracurricular activities is having a poor-quality coach
as a mentor or role model. Poor coaches are found in almost every community. They may lack
proper understanding of students’ growth and do not implement great tenets of sportsmanship.
Despite the fact that it is important to know about negative impacts of an inefficiently run
program, the positive advantages always exceed negative effects.
What are the main effects for participating in extra-curricular activities?
How many students are participating in activities?
In what activities are the students choosing?
What are the barriers faced by students to participation in activities?
This topic requires to use a “Mixed method” approach for research, the strategy of inquiry
employed was “Concurrent mixed method” in which both quantitative and qualitative questions
were asked concurrently. Two surveys were done, each from a separate group of people. Surveys
were conducted online via “Social Media”. One survey was focused towards the students to
examine their behavior regarding their participation in extracurricular and the corresponding
effect on their studies, they were also asked some open ended question such as their views and
opinions regarding the topic to get a qualitative aspect, this group included students from various
Pakistani Universities such as NUST, Comsats, Karachi University, Bahria etc. The second
survey was focused towards professionals who have already gone through their academic stage
to analyze what are their thoughts and experiences regarding the effects of extracurricular
activities on their career as a whole (including both academic and professional development
As already mentioned above two separate surveys were conducted, so the research variables can
be categorized into two categories.
1. First category of variables being effects of participation in outside class activities on
academics of the students and relation of academic performance with the type and no of
activities being done.
2. Second category of variables being effects of extracurricular activities on the professional
While discussing the first category it is necessary to keep in mind that it is not necessary that
only extracurricular activities could be responsible for bad grades of students, there are number
of factors involved such as they might not find enough time to study due to the long commute,
some don’t have any mentor to guide them in their academic life so they find it difficult to
balance these activities with their studies, Some students have very difficult majors which
require their full attention and do not let them give time to activities and in turn they have to
choose either their studies or outside class activities.
The data was taken from 250 students of various universities as shown in the following graph.
" #$ !
Universities for Survey
Some people say that additional activities should not be adopted as they take most of the
student’s time so we asked in our survey, how much time do they spend studying each week?
How much time do they spend in extracurricular activities and how much do they waste by
procrastination or watching movies etc.
*$ & $&
Hourse spent per week
)!, %- # #* # * #
As total number of daylight hours in any week (considering 12 per day) are 84 hours and the
above charts clearly show that only a small portion of students spend time doing each activity for
more than 10 hours per week, so it can be concluded that time spent in extracurricular activities
should not actually overlap with the studies of students.
Question of Grade Point Average was asked in the
survey to determine their academic success.
It was seen that a vast majority of subject understudy have average GPA while a few fall below
, , /
0 1 )#*
The type of studies a student is doing also has a relation with the amount of activities that he can
do without sacrificing his academics as majors like Engineering and MBBS require more hard
work as compared to Arts subjects.
2!#$* 3%* 4
When talking about relation of academics with extracurricular activities the first variable is of
available time that is required to maintain a balance between studies and activities. To inquire
this variable we asked a series of questions, first was whether they live on campus or outside the
campus, as we conducted this survey from a group of 250 students more than 61 % were Day
Scholars (out livers) whereas only about 19 % on campus.
Time from residence to class
This is an important variable as students living on campus find more time to participate in
extracurricular activities as well as study. As to further support this argument we asked the
students how much time was taken to reach the class room to which their responses were.
Another important variable that determines a student’s success is that if there is some mentor
present in his friends or family who can guide him to balance his extracurricular activities and
academics, so the questions of whether the students are first in their family to go to university
and do they have any mentor to guide them were also asked.
First in family to attend university?
Any mentor to guide trough Universitylife ?
It can be seen from the above data that almost 50% of students have no one to guide them and
thus they may find themselves ignorant to the techniques of balancing outside activities with
academics as well as the benefits of activities on their future professional life.
In addition to time it is important to know what kind of activities students do, most of the
students said that they do sports while only a 12.4 percent like to do activities such as debates,
essay writing, projects etc. which are in one way or another somewhat related to studies. Some
people have the point of view that activities like sports are very physically demanding and
require a lot of stamina to do, so those inclined towards sports have a hard time keeping up their
Type of extracurricular activities
6 9* : ;<! #
0 1 ( !: ,<2< #
As nowadays a lot of societies are there in every university so it is necessary to see how many
societies or outside organizations are joined by a student to estimate his participation in these
activities as well as outside organizations such as internships and part time jobs etc.
Number of socities joined in Unverstiy
Number of outside organizatiions joined
To the question of why do you refrain from joining societies or outside organizations almost 40%
answered that they could not find enough time to study.
=6 ( *)
Reason for not being involved with societies.
On the question of what are effects of these activities on academics most of the students had the
point of view that a healthy mind needs a healthy body and in order to keep yourself you need to
activities such as sports, and all extracurricular activities are necessary for the human
development in one way or another and they effect the academics in a good way as a balance is
Now moving on towards our second part of the survey in which questions from different
professionals were asked to determine what were the effects of activities on development of
students for their future career.
Number of years of Education Completed
$ , 2,
In order to know how participating in
extracurricular activities affected them in their professional career (was it useful or not), we
asked them the following questions.
Q1. Were you not involved with any society? And do you think it was the right option?
$ , 2,
Q2.Do you think that you should have been involved in more extracurricular activities and you
have missed out on some opportunities because you were less involved?
$ , 2,
Q3. Do you think if you had participated in less extracurricular activities you would have done
better in your academics?
$ , 2,
Q4. Do you think students who are more involved in extracurricular activities are more
successful later on in professional life?
Q5. How participating or not participating in extracurricular activities has impacted your career?
While some said that it did not but most of them said thatit is always important to keep a balance
between both extracurricular activities and studies. Overall these activities have played an
important role in developing their personality and boosting their confidence. Now, they are
confident and motivated more than they were before and it certainly has helped them dealing
things in a confident way in their professional life.
The analysis showed that some most students like to spend their free time resting instead of
spending it on extracurricular activities. A very few students are active participants of societies
inside and outside their university. The major reason for this noninvolvement the traditional
perception that extracurricular activities will divert ones focus from his/her studies. While a few
people refrain from these activities because of the responsibilities they have towards their
families. Sports/athletics are most commonly adopted type of extracurricular activities while
students are less inclined towards fine arts and literature related activities. The students who have
some relative attending university previously or those who find a mentor in university are more
likely to establish a balance between their academics and out-of-school activities. Most of the
students are day scholars and have difficulties attending activities organized by their
colleges/universities. The program of education a student is in, has a very impact on his/her
involvement in extracurricular activities. Most people realize the importance of participation in
extracurricular activities when they go into professional life as it helps develop social and
personal skills and increases self-perception and confidence, professional advice students to be
involved in extracurricular activities while at the same time keeping it at balance with their
The fact that most student realize the importance of participation in extracurricular activities is
and alarming factor. There is a need to spread awareness about the positive affect of participation
in healthy activities and as how to keep a perfect balance between such activities and studies.
This study does not take into account the individual intellect of the students. The study could
have been extended for a more thorough investigation by selecting a greater sample set carefully
having same academic level same programs.
However, this research does not scope the behavior of students towards their peers and society.
This is an important area to be studied. To study how the individuals interact with other
individuals of their community is a key variable to determine how the participation in
extracurricular activities affect the behavior of students towards the individuals outside their own
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