Information Brief 2013-17

Extracurricular Activities: High School Participation and Planned Participation in College

Extracurricular activities are an important part of high school, allowing students the opportunity to pursue interests and gain new skills outside of the traditional school curriculum.

Almost half of the 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates participated in an extracurricular activity during high school. The most popular extracurricular activities were participation in school or community service organizations and varsity athletics (45% for each). The least popular activities included race/ethnic organizations (4%), radio/television (4%), and political organizations (3%).

However, only about a third of 2012 ACT-tested high school graduates plan to participate in extracurricular activities during college. Participation in service organizations was the most popular with 35% of students stating that they plan to participate. Race/ethnic organizations and political organizations (6% each) were the least popular.

Percent of 2012 ACT-Tested High School Students Reporting Participation in High School Extracurricular Activities and Planning to Participate in College

ActivityHigh SchoolCollege
Political Organizations3%6%
Race/Ethnic Organizations4%6%
Fraternity, Sorority, or Other Social Clubs12%28%
Student Government14%11%
Vocal Music15%11%
Drama or Theater15%12%
Instrumental Music20%12%
Religious Activities21%17%
Varsity Athletics45%28%
Service Organizations (School or Community)45%35%

Note: Data are based on 1,666,017 ACT-tested 2012 high school graduates.

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