NFHS Outlines Benefits of Co-curriculars: Enhanced School Engagement and Sense of Belonging

Marshfield junior forward Nina Hashimoto was a unanimous first-team selection to the 2019 All-Wisconsin Valley Conference Girls Soccer Team. (Photo by Paul Lecker/

The NFHS has prepared a list of benefits from participating in co-curriculars,  HERE.

In our Part 3 of a 9 part series, we take a detailed look at the second benefit:

Participation in high school activities is a valuable part of the overall high school experience, enhancing students’ school engagement and sense of belonging.

  • Examination of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed strong evidence that school extracurricular activities were positively associated with adolescents’ friendships, both supporting existing friendships and developing new ones.
  • A study looking at social adjustment in making the transition from middle school (8th grade) to high school (9th grade) found involvement in sports helped students with friendships during the transition.
  • School arts participation and engagement are associated with enhanced academic motivation and engagement measures as well as [non-academic] measures of well-being, including a sense of meaning and purpose according to a longitudinal study of students in 15 Australian schools.
  • Involvement in a moderate number of activity domains, among academic/leadership groups, arts activities, clubs, and sports, promotes a greater sense of belonging at school, increased academic engagement, and higher academic performance as measured by grade point average according to a study of urban, ethnically diverse students (40.7% Latino; 16.8% African-American, 12.7% Asian-American, 11.2% Caucasian, and 18.5% other ethnicity or two or more ethnic groups).
  • Contributors to Organized Activities as Contexts of Development: Extracurricular Activities, After-School and Community Programs, noted that making diverse clubs and activities available to a wide range of students is important.


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We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]