10 Extracurricular Activities to Improve Your College Application
Last updated September 29, 2022
There are so many reasons to participate in extracurricular activities both at and outside of school. From learning new skills to making friends, these activities come with a wealth of benefits. Also, with many colleges and universities no longer accepting or requiring students to submit things like SAT or ACT scores, it’s important to have other unique ways to stand out on your college applications!
Academics are very important, but they aren't everything. College admissions staff want to see that the students applying are dedicated and engaged outside of the classroom - however, this doesn't mean joining 10 clubs your senior year. Colleges love to see students' commitment over time to a diverse group of extracurricular activities. When deciding what activities to participate in, it’s all about quality over quantity.
Here are 10 activities you can try to boost your college application:
Join a club at your school!
Making new friends and exploring something you’re interested in are just two great benefits of joining a club in high school. Also, taking on a leadership role within a club like president or treasurer is an added bonus. Having a leadership role shows your commitment and willingness to take on additional responsibilities, which are traits that colleges love to see in future students! If your school doesn’t have a club you’re interested in, start one with your friends!
Learn up to 38 languages for free on Duolingo.
Learning a new language is not only fun, but it can help you later in life. It’s a great skill to add to a resume, can increase your ability to multitask, and has shown to improve problem solving skills. Bilingualism is also a huge value add for the college admissions process and job market!
Strengthen your resume or land a new job by learning a new skill.
There are so many sites out there where you can learn a new skill, or strengthen one that you’re just getting started with. Coursea, Udemy, Code Academy and Khan Academy are just a few of the many places you can go to explore new skills to add to your resume or college application. Most will be free and some will even provide you with a certificate of completion to add to your list of credentials.
Volunteer for an organization or cause that you care about - both in-person and online.
Giving back to the community is a great way to support those around you. It shows a college admissions team that you value using your free time for good, can balance school and volunteering, and a level of thoughtfulness they often look for in potential students. Pick a cause that you care about - an animal shelter, tutoring , church, cleaning up a park, the options are boundless!
Create a story, poem, or work of art and submit it for publication in a magazine or local newspaper.
Getting exposure for your talents not only elevates your craft, but also enhances your appeal to colleges. Submitting your latest writing piece to the local newspaper or advocating to have your art showcased in a community exhibit are great ways to stand out in the application process.
Try out for a sport at your school (or join a rec team in your community).
Sports provide tons of valuable key skills like commitment, teamwork and grit. While sports should never be your only extracurricular, it definitely shows your versatility as a student balancing your academics and sports.
Find an internship or career exploration opportunity related to your interest.
By exploring your future career pathway through an internship, remote internship, or job shadow it shows your commitment to developing your future self. It also helps you determine what future careers you're most interested in (and what you’re not interested in).
Tutor friends, classmates, or neighborhood kids in a subject you're confident in.
Tutoring is always a great way to share your academic talents and earn volunteers hours or in some cases, get paid. Tutoring shows off your strong academic skills beyond the classroom, and that is definitely noteworthy!
Try out for a play at your school or local theater.
Even if you’re not going to a fine arts or drama school, sharing your love for theater shows another element of you that may not be reflected through your academics or other extra curricular activities. It can also help you develop your public speaking skills, leading you to be more confident in class presentations, job interviews, networking, and more!
Get a Job!
Many students work a job throughout high school and don’t think of it as an extracurricular activity, but it is. Having a job is a huge responsibility and requires skills like punctuality, dependability, and customer service. If you're a student that can’t join other extracurricular activities because you have to work, consider all the skills you’ve acquired at your job. The foundational skills that you learn at your first job are transferable to any job.
Now that you’re participating in some great extracurricular activities it’s time to build the best college list! Watch our quick video to walk you through building a strong college list, or text our college advisors by sending #College to 33-55-77. Don’t forget, we’re always here to help!