Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 273-298

First online:

Under-represented college students and extracurricular involvement: the effects of various student organizations on academic performance

  • Christina N. BakerAffiliated withCenter for Research on Educational Opportunity, University of Notre Dame Email author 

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Several studies indicate that students who are involved in extracurricular activities during college are more academically successful than are those who are not; however, most studies do not distinguish between different types of activities nor do they adequately consider the unique experiences of under-represented college students. Drawing on Ogbu’s theory of oppositional culture and Tinto’s theory of educational departure, I examine the effect of involvement in six different types of student organizations, as well as involvement in a co-ethnic student organization, on the academic performance of African American and Latino college students attending 27 different selective colleges. I find that student organizations differentially affect academic performance, depending on the type of organization and the race and gender of the students.


Academic performance African Americans Latinos Higher education Extracurricular organizations