“Get involved!” is probably not an unfamiliar message to students or those working within education, and it turns out there is a good reason for that. Recent research has shown that college students who engage in extracurricular activities within their university perform better, are less likely to drop out and are overall more satisfied with their studies.
A recent study from Indiana University among 6000 students attending eighteen baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities has shown that academic engagement is a key factor in performance, persistence and satisfaction among students. The study, taking into account demographical factors as well as previous achievement and experience, found that first-year students rely heavily on the academic activities they are involved in, especially when it comes to drop-out rates.
Having an agenda full of extracurricular activities as a student therefore seems the perfect way to succeed academically. Activities such as seminars, advising sessions, learning communities with peer tutoring and internships can help students reach a new level. This is especially true for low achieving and minority students who appear to thrive when participating in educationally effective activities, creating a compensatory effect. Early and consistent opportunities to get involved in an academic culture are key, so student engagement should be fostered by promotion and encouragement by involved teaching staff.
Professor George D. Kuh and his colleagues said: “Simply offering such programs and practices does not guarantee that they will have the intended effects on student success; institutional programs and practices must be of high quality, customised to meet the needs of students they are intended to reach, and firmly rooted in a student success-oriented campus culture.”
So, once again, get involved! It’s time to create a campus culture where every student thrives.