It is believed that academic performance is in part determined by cognitive control, the skill of flexibly guiding behavior. Although previous neuroimaging research has demonstrated that lateral and medial prefrontal cortex, including ACC, are involved during tasks of cognitive control, little is known about the relation between brain mechanisms underlying cognitive control and academic performance in a real-world educational environment. In the current fMRI study, Freshman students from Medical College performed a Go/NoGo task and Stroop task. A positive correlation was observed between average course grades and activation of dorsal ACC during cognitive inhibition on the Stroop task. No significant correlation was found between grades and activation in rostral ACC during emotional inhibition. Grades were not associated with prefrontal activation during motor inhibition or performance monitoring on the Go/NoGo task. These findings suggest that engagement of dorsal ACC for cognitive control can be linked to individual differences in academic achievement. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.