Non-traditional Ways to Improve Academic Performance

By Elizabeth Duggins
Center for Academic Success

Students looking for a higher grade point average (GPA) at Louisiana State University can start with two great campus resources: LSU University Recreation (UREC) and the Center for Academic Success (CAS).

These two departments have demonstrated that the use of their services leads to higher GPAs. Research by the American College of Sports Medicine shows that regular exercise can boost a student’s GPA by 0.4 of a point. Similarly, statistics show that using CAS services (free tutoring, Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Academic Coaching) can improve a student’s GPA by 0.5 of a point.

To find out if students who visited the UREC made better grades, Facility Operations graduate assistant, Jessica Pellerin, gathered information from the University’s Registrar's Office and Facility Operations team.

The average GPA of UREC users in the fall of 2015 was 0.12 of a point higher than those students who did not use the facility that semester (Table 3).


“Exercise has a positive impact, not only on your physical and mental health, but also on your ability to learn,” says Laurie Braden, Executive Director of University Recreation at LSU.

The second phase of the assessment focused on the GPA of students who accessed the facility a distinct number of times throughout the 16 weeks of the fall 2015 semester.

The findings show that students who used the UREC two or more times a week earned the highest GPA, at 3.2, a 0.13 increase, over students who did not use the facility throughout the semester.


Additionally, information provided by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that regular exercise, defined as three to five times a week for 30 to 60 minutes, improves mental health and can help with thinking, learning and judgment skills.

Research by the UREC, CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that exercise should not be seen as a hindrance or a distraction to academics, but as a way to improve student physical and mental well-being.

In combination with exercise, students seeking to increase their academic performance should use services provided by LSU’s Center for Academic Success (CAS). Students who use CAS services boost their GPA, remain at the university and graduate on time.

Located in B-31 Coates Hall, the Center is available for LSU students who seek practical, effective strategies and resources to enhance learning.

Students who use CAS services have graduation rates of up to 30 percent higher than those who do not. CAS offers a number of student resources including, academic coaching, tutoring, SI, and online services.


Being academically successful in college can be attributed to overall health and wellness along with the knowledge of what learning strategies and resources to use and when to use them,” says Melissa Brocato, Director at the CAS.

For more information or to schedule an appointment visit or call the Center for Academic Success today.


  • Laurie F. Braden, Director at LSU’s Recreation Facility
  • Jessica Pellerin, LSU Facility Operations Graduate Assistant
  • Melissa Brocato, Director at LSU’s Center for Academic Success
  • "Physical Activity and Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 20 Jan. 2017. 
  • Parker-pope, Tara. "Vigorous Exercise Linked With Better Grades." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 June 2010. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.
  • University, Michigan State. "Want a Higher GPA in College? Join a Gym." MSUToday. Michigan State University, 10 July 2014. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.
  • "ACSM | ACSM in the News." ACSM | ACSM in the News. American College of Sports Medicine, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.

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