Best Extracurricular Activities for College

Extracurricular activities are a nice break from school work and vital for your college application. Let’s take a look at some good extracurriculars for college!

TCM Staff

22nd December 2021

Students that participate in extracurricular activities are more likely to score higher grades and have better school experiences. Even though it takes up time, extracurriculars help you find balance amid the stress of school work and college prep. 

Whether it’s a contact sport or an intricate craft, extracurriculars are essential to your high school experience. And, they can help you score some scholarships as well!

You’ll need to demonstrate extracurricular activities on your college application. But what do colleges look for in extracurricular activities? Let’s take a look at some of the best extracurricular activities for college and overall examples of extracurricular activities!


Why Do You Need Extracurricular Activities for College Applications?

Colleges love seeing extracurricular activities on applications from prospective students. Of course, they like to see good grades as well; however, extracurriculars show them a little bit more about your character. Extracurriculars show college admissions offices that:

You’re Productive With Your Time

Managing school work and extracurriculars requires strong time management skills. A student with a 3.8 GPA that also attends weekly soccer practices and monthly games, along with mentoring a first-year high schooler demonstrates a strong command of their time. 

You’re A Well-Rounded Individual

Colleges want new students to have fresh perspectives from their life experiences. All grades and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Extracurriculars show that you have more to your personality than schoolwork. 

You’re Social

College is a social experience - you’ll interact with fellow students, professors, alumni, advisors, and many more college professionals. If you’re involved with extracurricular activities, college admissions offices can assume you’re a relatively social individual that will offer cordial interactions to your fellow students. 

You Have Life Skills

You can’t learn everything you need to know in life through your classes. Extracurriculars teach you valuable life skills that college admissions offices will be happy to see, like:

  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Critical Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solving
  • …and much more!


Best College Extracurricular Activities

For many people, extracurricular activities are everywhere. You can find them through your high school, work, or charitable organizations in your neighborhood. Or, you can make your own extracurricular activities through personal development and creative pursuits. Here are some of the best college extracurricular activities:

    1. School Teams and Clubs

School teams and clubs are great extracurricular activities for college. They demonstrate your willingness to collaborate with your peers and show your passion for a certain pursuit. Some examples of teams and clubs include:

  • Debate team
  • Chess club
  • Soccer team
  • AV club
  • Arts club
  • Drama club
  • Volleyball team
  • …and much more. 

When including school teams on your college application, think about quality over quantity. Even if you’re on 5 different teams, include details about the ones likely to impress. For example, if you’re in a leadership position for one team, include that. If you’re involved in a club that’s related to your prospective major program, certainly include that one! 

     2. Tech Skills

These days, technology is king. Job prospects continue to grow for people with technical skills, like knowledge about computer programs or other software skills. If you took a coding boot camp one summer, for example, make sure you include that in your application. This is especially important if your tech skills are related to your field of interest for college!

    3. Internships

If you’ve completed any internships, make sure to include them on your college application, either for a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Internships demonstrate that you have some experience in your field of interest. College admissions offices will welcome your experienced perspective and dedication to your interests. 

    4. Work Experience

Some students work to save up money to put towards their school tuition. Others do it to have some spending money and not rely on their parents. No matter the reason, work experience looks great on a college application because it demonstrates professionalism, as well as strong time management and prioritization skills. If you don’t have work experience, though, don’t worry. At the high school level, colleges don’t expect all applicants to have a part-time job. Focus on your school team, club, or other extracurricular activities for your college application instead. 

    5. Creative Endeavors

If you’re a creative individual, share it on your college application! School teams and work experience are great as well, but information about a creative pursuit will help you shine from the other applicants. If you won a painting contest, regularly knit, participate in town plays, play an instrument well, or any other creative activities, colleges will gather that you’re a well-rounded individual with discipline. 

    6. Volunteer Work

If you volunteer at any organization, whether it’s a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or mentoring service for young children, that’s an extracurricular activity to include on your application. This shows colleges that you’re a dedicated, compassionate individual. A nice bonus would be to include any intention to continue those extracurricular activities in college. 


What Do Colleges Look For in Extracurricular Activities?

If you have good extracurriculars for college, that’s great. But, having the experience isn’t always enough to impress a college admissions team. Here are some things that they’ll look for in your extracurricular activity level:

Leadership: Have you taken up a leadership role in any of your extracurricular activities? If so, colleges will be impressed with your application. 

Interest: Does your passion leak from your application? Try to demonstrate your high interest in your extracurricular activities to make a stronger impression. 

Time: How long have you been involved with your extracurricular activities? Three years shows more dedication and discipline than a simple three months, for example. 



Extracurricular activities are a great way to find balance in your academic life and impress college admissions teams at the same time. Showing interests and activities outside school assures colleges that you’re more than just a GPA. It shows them that you’ll participate in more than one college activity and really interact with college student life. 

Interested in learning more about college applications? Check out our scholarship database, or review some of our helpful resources below. 


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