Extracurricular activities

Program basics

  • Extracurricular activities include any organized social, art, or physical activities for school-aged youth that occur during out-of-school time. Activities can take place before or
    after school or during the summer.
  • Activities vary widely. They and may include academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, homework help, arts (music, theater, and drama), technology, science, reading, math, civic engagement and involvement, and activities to support and promote healthy social/emotional development.
  • Most after-school programs operate for approximately two to three hours per day, four to five days per week.
  • Programs can occur in a variety of settings, including schools, museums, libraries, park districts, faith-based organizations, youth service agencies, county health agencies, and community-based organizations

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

$7-12 hourly per participant

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Improved self-esteem and positive social behavior
  • Improved academic performance
  • Reduced use of drugs and alcohol
  • Reduced violent behavior, sexual activity, and juvenile crime

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Factors that drive positive outcomes in extracurricular settings include student access to and sustained participation in the program, the quality of programming and staffing, and strong relationships between programs, schools, families, and other community institutions.
  • Recruitment and retention outcomes are improved via tailoring programs to youth interests, family engagement with regard to participant attendance, and cultivating participant sense of belonging.
  • Programs that require staff to have more advanced academic credentials and focus on academics or the arts tend to produce better outcomes.
  • Parent liaisons on staff can improve relationships between programs and families.

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