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Multiple Extracurriculars Unnecessary for College Entrance

Potential college students don’t need to spread themselves thin by choosing multiple extracurricular activities to try an impress college admission, according to a study by sociologists from Ohio State University about how socioeconomics play a role in college admission and attendance.

What to know:

  • Participating in two or more extracurricular activities offers no advantage and may draw attention away from academics, whereas becoming skilled, committed, and well-rounded in at least one sport and/or nonsport extracurricular activity is beneficial.

  • Extracurricular activities may help students build character and learn how to persist in the face of challenges, signaling to people making college admissions decisions that these students have the traits that are necessary to thrive in college.

  • Students with higher socioeconomic status accrue cumulative advantages over students with lower socioeconomic status by having lifestyles that expose them to more extracurricular sports as well as more frequently experiencing higher- quality schooling, elevated academic expectations, and reinforcements of early achievements.

  • The parents of students with lower socioeconomic status are less likely to seek out and enroll their children in extracurricular activities that help them stand out among their peers in recognized aspects of social and academic achievements that help prepare them for professional life.

  • Students who participated in one school sport and one other nonsport extracurricular activity were more likely than were those who did not have these pursuits to go to college — and to go to more selective colleges.

This is a summary of the article “Family Socioeconomic Status and College Attendance: A Consideration of Individual-Level and School-Level Pathways” in the Journal PLOS ONE on April 24, 2023. The full article can be found on

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