Over 50 extracurricular activities that look good on college applications

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    College applications are becoming increasingly more competitive so it’s important to start thinking about college early in your high school career. Extracurricular activities are an important factor for your college applications, especially as you brainstorm ways to stand out to colleges. 

    This is because extracurriculars and clubs help demonstrate your passions, interests, values, and personality to college admissions committees. College essays and extracurricular activities also help personalize the admissions process, especially at highly-selective institutions. If you’re wondering what clubs look good on college applications or how many extracurriculars for college, read on!

    Start thinking about your college applications now. Plan ahead by considering what extracurricular activities look good on college applications. Discuss opportunities with your high school guidance counselor, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with college applications. You may even consider hiring a college counselor, especially since college acceptance rates for the class of 2026 have decreased significantly. 

    In this article, we will discuss tips for college applications, as well as some of the best extracurriculars for college applications. Learn more about how to stand out to colleges and put together a competitive college application!

    Academic clubs

    Joining academic clubs is a great way to enrich your high school career while actively preparing for college. Through your involvement with these high school clubs, you will gain opportunities to make meaningful friendships and forge productive, working relationships with your academic advisors. 

    It is important to foster meaningful connections with teachers early in your high school career who will be able to write thorough and thoughtful college recommendation letters during your senior year of high school. This is an important tip for college applications, especially as you consider how to stand out on college applications.

    Consider joining one (if not several) of the following clubs in order to pursue personal interests, develop your passions, and impress college admissions committees as you start thinking about your college applications. Check in with your teachers and high school counselor about extracurricular activities offered through your school. 

    The following gallery includes some of the best extracurriculars for college applications. Use this to start brainstorming about what clubs are good for college. 

    Art, music, and performance

    Colleges want to admit passionate students who invest in their dreams. For many students, the arts play an important role in their lives outside of academics. Students with significant performance experience exhibit confidence and professionalism, and are often skilled at public speaking.

    College admissions committees want to admit diverse, vibrant student bodies. If you are wondering what are good extracurriculars for college applications, involvement in the arts is an important factor for many colleges. 

    Many schools recruit talented student performers with the expectation that students will continue their artistic and musical involvement during their college careers. Vocalists, instrumentalists, actors, poets, and visual artists can offer a lot to their future college communities in terms of cultural enrichment.

    The following list includes creative extracurricular activities suitable for artists, musicians, writers, and actors. Use this list to gain inspiration and start brainstorming ways to actively prepare for your college applications and learn how to stand out to colleges. 

    • Concert band
    • Jazz band
    • Marching band
    • Orchestra
    • Chorus
    • Solo music projects
    • Music lessons
    • Musical theater
    • Art lessons
    • Art club
    • Drama club
    • Theater set design
    • School radio
    • Slam poetry

    Leadership opportunities

    College admissions officers want to admit students who are serious about their personal and academic goals and are able to take the initiative. This is why it is important to showcase your leadership skills in your college applications, especially as you start thinking about what makes you stand out to colleges as you move forward with your college applications.

    College applications can be incredibly competitive, especially if you are interested in attending an elite institution such as an

    Ivy League college. Leadership positions and opportunities are a great way to demonstrate your passion, commitment, and dedication while helping you learn how to stand out to ivy league colleges.

    There are lots of leadership opportunities to pursue in high school. Some high school clubs naturally foster leadership abilities through the nature of the club. This is often the case with extracurriculars and clubs involving student government, mock trials, model congress, or other related activities. 

    Another way to pursue leadership opportunities is by acting as an executive officer for a high school club. These roles often include acting as the president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer.

    There are countless ways to demonstrate your leadership abilities. The list to the right includes some of the best extracurriculars for college that will help you gain leadership experience as you continue to prepare for your college career. 

    Athletic participation

    Many prestigious schools recruit talented student-athletes; this is especially the case for Ivy League schools. Being recruited is an important aspiration for many high school athletes. This is not the only way, however, that athletic participation can enhance your college application. 

    Participation in sports can highlight important values such as hard work, determination, teamwork, and a desire for excellence. Athletic coaches can be valuable resources for students as well, especially when considering who to ask for personalized college recommendations.

    There are countless ways to participate in athletics during high school. As is the case with all extracurriculars and clubs, continued involvement throughout your high school career will help demonstrate commitment, passion, and responsibility. 

    The following list includes popular athletic extracurricular activities. Learn valuable life skills about teamwork, hard work, and communication by joining a team!

    • Soccer
    • Football
    • Baseball
    • Softball
    • Basketball
    • Cheerleading
    • Dance
    • Gymnastics
    • Swim team
    • Track and field
    • Fencing
    • Golf
    • Tennis
    • Martial arts
    • Skiing
    • Hockey
    • Water polo
    • Yoga
    • Lacrosse
    • Volleyball

    Volunteer opportunities

    There are countless ways to invest in your community by pursuing various volunteer opportunities. Giving back to your community is an important way to demonstrate passion and initiative. Volunteer opportunities can also grant your college application a competitive edge, especially as you consider how to stand out to ivy league colleges. 

    Working with professionals and organizations in your community can be an important opportunity for personal, academic, and professional growth. These opportunities could also result in meaningful college recommendation letters, as well as potential employment or internships.

    Demonstrate your passion and commitment by including various volunteer opportunities on your college applications. The examples to the right will give you some good ideas to get started!

    Work experience and internships

    Internships and part-time and/or summer jobs can help you stand out to colleges on your college applications. These opportunities will help demonstrate personal initiative, responsibility, maturity, and commitment. Jobs and internships can also help expose you to potential career options, as well as present you with valuable networking opportunities, as you transition into college and start thinking more seriously about your potential career. This is an important tip for college applications. 

    The possibilities for employment and internships are endless. Do your research and see what’s available in your area. Reach out to teachers, your high school guidance counselor, coaches, mentors, and other professionals in your life to find out more about opportunities that may be available to you in order to help with college applications and learn how to stand out to colleges. 

    Consider pursuing an internship at a library, museum, education center, hospital, publication, or research center. There may be opportunities for one-on-one mentorships available to you as well, whether you are interested in the arts, sciences, finances, media, or more. 

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Academics, class ranking, college essays, and SAT scores are all important college admissions factors. Extracurricular activities and clubs, however, are equally important. This is why it is important to be involved in your community through your involvement in academic clubs, the arts, athletics, leadership opportunities, volunteer opportunities, internships, and work experience. 

    College admissions officers appreciate students who commit to clubs, teams, and extracurricular activities all four years of high school. This is because continued involvement shows passion, commitment, and responsibility. When thinking about how many extracurriculars for college, focus instead on how to best contribute meaningfully to a few extracurricular activities. This is among the top tips for filling out college applications.

    College essays and extracurricular activities are important ways to share personal details on the Common App. It’s important to use every opportunity available to you to personalize your college applications and give admissions committees a reason to want to admit you to their college. This is especially true today, as applications become increasingly more competitive.

    As you continue your high school career, make goals for yourself and seek out additional college planning resources to help with college applications. If you feel like you could benefit from professional, individualized assistance, reach out to learn more about our services.

    Subscribe to our blog!