Research has shown that student involvement enhances the overall college experience and the development of transferable skills for undergraduate students. Participation in student organizations can lead to the development of social and leadership skills, higher retention rates, heightened self-confidence, improved satisfaction with college, the ability to see course curriculum as more relevant, and further success after college. Despite the long list of benefits, there is an assumption that student organizations distract students from educational activities, thus resulting in lower academic performance. This study examined the grade point average (GPA) of undergraduate students enrolled at Purdue University during the fall 2009 semester to determine if there is a relationship between student involvement and GPA. The students were divided into one of three groups: general students, student organization members, and student organization officers. An average GPA was calculated for each group and used in a two-sample t-test for significance. The results indicate a relationship between involvement and GPA with student organization officers earning a significantly higher GPA then regular members of the organizations, and student organization members earning a significantly higher GPA than the general student population. Additionally, the study attempted to determine an optimal amount of involvement by testing the correlation between the number of organizations in which a student holds membership and term GPA. The results showed a very weak negative correlation. Additional research is needed, but the results of the current study provide students and student affairs professionals with a better understanding of how student involvement impacts academic performance.


Student Activity, Academic Performance, Student Organizations, GPA

Date of this Version



Organizational Leadership and Supervision

Department Head

Dr. M. Beyerlein

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science

Head of Graduate Program

Dr. G. Bertoline

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Daniel Lybrook

Committee Member 1

Alexander Crispo

Committee Member 2

Lisa Ncube