Extracurricular Participation and Academic Outcomes: Testing the Over-Scheduling Hypothesis
This author contributes to the debate over whether today's youth are overscheduled in extracurricular activities, using data from a nationally representative and ethnically diverse longitudinal sample of high school students (N = 13,130). On average, 10th graders participated in between 2 and 3 extracurricular activities, for an average of 5 h per week. Only a small percentage reported high levels of participation, while a large percentage reported no involvement in school-based extracurricular contexts. Controlling for some demographic factors, prior achievement, and school size, the breadth and the intensity of participation at 10th grade were positively associated with math achievement test scores, grades, and educational expectations at 12th grade. Breadth and intensity of participation at 10th grade also predicted educational status at 2 years post high school. In addition, the non-linear function was significant. However, at very high levels of participation, the academic adjustment of youthdeclined. The author discusses the implications for the over-scheduling hypothesis. Modified Author Abstract.