In this paper, I provide a comprehensive review of recent literature (published since 2010) regarding the relation between academic success and participation in extracurricular activities. I examine the direct effects—both positive and negative—that such participation has on the academic performance of students of all grade levels. Subsequently, because sports constitute a large portion of the extracurricular spectrum, I also examine studies that analyze t he effects of physical activity on academic performance. These studies suggest that extracurricular activities may have a positive effect on academics, especially when they contribute to a balanced life, self-confidence, an increased sense of personal duty and contribution to the school, and feelings of belonging. Meanwhile, extracurricular activities may have a negative effect when they produce an overloaded personal schedule and cause students to define themselves primarily by their activities rather than as students. Studies regarding the general effects of physical activity included both positive and negative correlations with academic success; however, most studies lacked a layer of depth necessary to form any definite conclusions concerning the relationship. I also discuss the presence of confounding variables in the research, practical applications for parents of the students, and provide suggestions for future research.

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