What Extracurricular Activities Should I Do for College?

Ever found yourself puzzling over which extracurricular activities to choose for the greatest odds of college admission? You’re not alone; it’s a question I pondered, too. After delving into stacks of research and reflecting on my own personal journey, I uncovered that a significant 30% of a college application’s evaluation hinges on these very activities.

It’s clear they matter. As such, this blog aims to provide you with an insightful roadmap for selecting those crucial extracurriculars – ones that will not only tip the scales in favor of your acceptance but truly reflect your passions, too.

Ready to embark on this exciting adventure? Let’s make your journey to college smoother and more satisfying!

Key Takeaways

Extracurricular activities make up about 30% of how your college application is evaluated, so it’s important to choose the ones that you love and stick with them.

There are different categories of extracurricular activities to consider, such as STEM, Arts, Medicine, Politics, Athletics, Writing, Music, and Community Service. Choose activities that align with your interests and passions.

When choosing extracurricular activities for college applications, consider your level of commitment required and the impact they will have on your overall application. Focus on quality rather than quantity.

Examples of impressive extracurricular activities include leadership positions in clubs or sports teams, participating in athletics at a high level or with notable achievements, volunteer work with organizations, or starting your own nonprofit organization.

Understanding the Importance of Extracurriculars in College Admissions

Student Applies For University

Extracurricular activities play a big part in college admissions. They make up about 30% of how your application is looked at. It’s the same as your GPA or SAT score! So, it’s super important to pick activities that you love and stick with them.

What you do outside school shows who you are. It speaks to what drives you and what skills you have outside of books. You may shine as a leader or have a heart for helping others.

All these things matter when officers look at your college application. The more unique your activity list is, the more chance you have! So go ahead and find something that fits with who you are.

Categories of Extracurricular Activities

There are several categories of extracurricular activities that you can consider for college admissions. These categories include STEM, Arts, Medicine, Politics, Athletics, Writing, Music, and Community Service.


STEM is a cool area to explore. It’s all about science, tech, engineering, and math. If you love these subjects, STEM can make your college applications shine. You might want to join a robotics club at school or take part in events like coding contests and Math Olympiads.

But that’s not all! There are other ways to show your love for STEM, too. Helping out younger kids with their math skills or spending time volunteering at a science museum are good moves.

Want more? Try getting some hands-on experience by finding an internship in a STEM field or doing research work. This does not only give you great skills; it also makes your application stand out to colleges.


Art Extracurricular Activity For College

Arts are a fun way to show your creative side. You can join school clubs for music, dance, theater, or visual arts. This will make your college application shine. It’ll prove that you’re dedicated and have passion.

Plus, being in art activities might earn you a scholarship! There are also future jobs in these fields waiting for you. So why not give it a try?


If you love health and helping people, there are fun activities for you. You can give your time at hospitals or clinics. This lets you see what real doctors do every day. Also, try to learn from a doctor in person! Medical research is another cool choice.

It shows that you love learning new things about medicine.

You can also lead a club linked to health or medicine at school. It shows that you take action and care for others’ health, too. Medicine isn’t all about books and labs, either! You can join medical contests or talks to show your skills to the world.

It’s not just about putting it on your college papers, though; it’s about finding joy in what you do! So go out there, explore these options, find what makes you happy, and stick with it until college!


For someone interested in extracurricular activities for college, politics can be a great option to consider. Participating in politically-oriented activities can demonstrate your passion and commitment to social issues.

Whether it’s joining the Model Congress or getting involved with the Model UN, these activities allow you to explore how our government works and make connections with like-minded individuals.

You can also consider entering competitions like Doors to Diplomacy or applying for programs like the Senate Page Program. Being engaged in political extracurriculars shows colleges that you are informed about important topics and willing to take action.


Athletics is one of the categories of extracurricular activities that colleges look for when reviewing applications. Being involved in sports can show colleges important qualities like discipline, teamwork, leadership, and time management skills.

It’s a chance to grow personally and develop good character traits. Colleges appreciate athletes because they bring diversity and unique perspectives to their campuses. When choosing which sport to participate in, it’s important to pick one that you truly love and also consider your abilities and how much time you can commit.


Writing is a valuable extracurricular activity that students should consider for their college applications. By writing about their experiences, interests, and personal growth, students can effectively showcase their skills to admissions officers.

It’s important to focus on storytelling and presenting a compelling narrative in your writing. Whether it’s through essays, articles, or creative pieces, expressing yourself through writing allows you to stand out and make a memorable impression on colleges.

So don’t hesitate to pursue this activity if you enjoy putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard!


Music is a fantastic extracurricular activity to include in your college applications. It can fall into different categories, like performing arts or community service. Being involved in music shows creativity and dedication, which colleges value.

Whether you play an instrument, sing in a choir, or compose music, showcasing your musical talent can make your application stand out. Music is not only fulfilling and enjoyable but also enhances your overall college experience.

So don’t forget to highlight any involvement in music when applying for college!

Community Service

Participating in community service is an important way to make a positive impact on the world around you. It can involve activities like volunteering at a local shelter, organizing fundraisers for a cause you care about, or starting your own nonprofit organization.

Not only does community service show colleges that you are committed to helping others, but it also helps develop important qualities like empathy and leadership skills. By choosing community service activities that align with your interests and passions, you can make a meaningful difference while also gaining valuable experience for your college applications.

Consistency is key, so try to find opportunities where you can contribute regularly over time.

How to Choose the Right Extracurricular Activities

To choose the right extracurricular activities, consider your interests and passions, assess the level of commitment required, and evaluate the impact on your overall application.

Consider your interests and passions

When choosing extracurricular activities for college, it’s important to think about what you’re interested in and passionate about. This is because participating in activities that you genuinely enjoy can make your experience more fulfilling and meaningful.

Colleges want to see that you have pursued your passions outside of the classroom, so finding activities that align with your interests can help showcase your dedication and commitment.

Whether it’s sports, music, community service, or writing, choose activities that excite you and allow you to grow as a person while making a positive impact. Remember, colleges value authenticity and passion, so be true to yourself when selecting your extracurriculars.

Assess the level of commitment required

Before choosing your extracurricular activities, it’s important to consider how much time and effort they will require. Some activities may only meet once a week, while others may demand daily practices or meetings.

You should also think about any additional commitments such as travel or competitions. Keep in mind that taking on too many activities can negatively impact your grades and well-being.

It’s better to choose fewer activities that you are truly passionate about and can fully commit to. Remember, colleges value dedication and growth demonstrated through extracurricular involvement.

Evaluate the impact on your overall application

When choosing extracurricular activities for your college application, it’s important to consider how they will impact it overall. Admissions officers are looking for activities that showcase leadership, initiative, and personal growth.

Think about the level of commitment required for each activity and choose ones where you can demonstrate these qualities. Remember that colleges value specialized interests rather than being well-rounded in everything.

By focusing on a few meaningful activities and showing dedication, you can make a strong impression on admissions officers.

Examples of Impressive Extracurricular Activities

High School Student Participates In Extracurriculars
  • Leadership opportunities such as serving as the president of a student council or leading a club can showcase your ability to take charge and make a difference in your community.
  • Athletic participation demonstrates discipline, teamwork, and dedication, especially at a high level or with notable achievements.
  • Volunteer work with organizations like Amnesty International or starting your own nonprofit shows your commitment to making a positive impact on society.
  • Internships in fields relevant to your interests can provide real-world experience and demonstrate your passion for a particular area of study.

Leadership opportunities

Holding leadership positions in clubs, organizations, or sports teams is a great way to show that you take initiative and responsibility. It can demonstrate your ability to lead and make things happen.

Being part of student government or leading a school club can also highlight your communication and decision-making skills. If you have led a team or organized events/projects, it shows that you are good at organizing and solving problems.

Participating in leadership development programs or attending conferences can be impressive, too, because they show that you are actively developing your leadership abilities.

Athletic participation

Being involved in sports is a great extracurricular activity for college applications. It shows that you are dedicated, hardworking, and committed. Playing on a team also demonstrates your ability to work well with others and be a team player.

If you have leadership positions in your sport, it can highlight your leadership skills, too. Being part of an athletic program gives you opportunities to grow personally and develop as an individual.

So, if you enjoy playing sports, don’t hesitate to include it as one of your extracurricular activities when applying to college!

Volunteer work

Another impressive extracurricular activity for college applications is volunteer work. Colleges are looking for students who show a commitment to helping others and making a positive impact in their communities.

Volunteer work demonstrates important character qualities like compassion, empathy, and the desire to make a difference. Whether it’s volunteering at a local hospital, mentoring younger students, or organizing community service projects, colleges will be impressed by your dedication to giving back.

Plus, volunteer work allows you to gain valuable experience and develop important skills such as teamwork and leadership. So, if you’re passionate about helping others and want to make a difference in the world, consider getting involved in volunteer work as part of your college application journey.


Internships are really important for college applications. They show that you have real-world experience and can help you explore different careers. It’s a good idea to choose internships that match your interests and goals.

For example, if you’re interested in STEM, an internship in a science lab or engineering company could be impressive. Look for internships that give you hands-on experience and chances to grow professionally.

These kinds of internships can make your college application stand out!

Frequently Asked Questions About Extracurriculars And College Applications

What are Tier 1 to Tier 4 extracurricular activities for college?

Tier 1 to Tier 4 activities range from top-notch, such as the International Biology Competition and Minority Introduction to Engineering, mid-way programs like the Science Olympiad and Telluride Summer Program, to less competitive ones but equally valuable, like student clubs and hobbies.

How can I shape my profile with Spike or Juxtapositional depth?

Spike means being super skilled in one area, while juxtapositional depth involves having skills in a few focuses. Competing at Hackathon programs shows a spike while joining Key Club and running a half marathon exhibit juxtapositional depth.

Can doing arts help my college application?

Yes! You can join the Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive or the National Art Honor Society. Winning the Congressional Art Competition or Scholastic Art Award also boosts your application.

Are there medical-related activities that I can do?

You bet! Be part of the Doctors Without Borders high school program or HOSA – Future Health Professionals club. The Medical Explorers program also gives good exposure.

Is sports activity good for college applications?

Absolutely! Being captain of a competitive team shows leadership qualities, while being a recognized athlete demonstrates dedication and discipline.

Can writing help boost my chances of getting into college?

Definitely! Newspaper writing, interning at publications, and winning the NCTE Achievement Award or the Scholastic Writing Award are great feats on your Academic Index.


Robotics Club Extracurricular College

In conclusion, when choosing extracurricular activities for college, it’s important to focus on your interests and passions. Consider the level of commitment required and how it will impact your overall application.

Remember, quality is more important than quantity – showcase activities that reflect your genuine interests rather than just trying to pad your resume. By selecting the right extracurriculars, you can demonstrate drive, leadership, and passion to admissions officers.




Photo of author


I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

Leave a Comment