Extracurricular activities give students a way to express themselves outside of the classroom. Activities like sports, art, music, volunteer work, and more allow students to engage in creativity that bring them joy, challenges, social stimulation, and more.
While extracurriculars land on the middle rung of the importance ladder and cannot substitute for good grades and solid test scores, several studies indicate that students who participate in extracurriculars have better attendance, achieve higher test scores, and have higher GPAs than students who opt out of after-school activities.
When evaluating college application forms, admissions officers are looking at many different things, from grades and test scores to essays and, yes, extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities are one of the most important “soft factors” that colleges consider, so students need to be thoughtful and strategic about their extracurricular involvement.
Some Extracurricular Activities for College Admission
- Academic activity: If you want to get into humanity programs, you could be working for your school newspaper. A math major could participate in the Math Bowl or some other competitive form of the subject. A future medical student may have volunteered at the local hospital.
- Service activity: Develop empathy and accountability, such as serving on Youth Court if you’re interested in criminal justice or get involved in some community service.
- Leadership activity: Leadership activities are some of the most important ones to put on your college application. Many colleges look for leadership skills or leadership potential in college applicants. Whether you’ve been the president of a high school club or other organization or the captain of your sports team, these activities provide colleges with evidence that you have what it takes to be in a leadership position.
- Personality activity: Highlight your individuality. Join clubs like dance, theater, music, etc. any activity which you like to do as a hobby or which you enjoy and relaxes you.
- Internship: Internships are a great way to show colleges that you have already gained some experience in your chosen field. For example, business students might do an internship with a local company in their marketing department or another department, which should be included in a college application. The tech or stem student can do summer jobs summer tech camps or in companies.
- Research: Students can also get into college research programs or work with a professor who is involved in research example Physics, Math, biology, etc.
- Athletic Participation: Playing team sports, such as football or basketball, also lets colleges know that you’ve been able to function as part of a team. Athletic participation generally takes up quite a bit of time and requires significant effort to develop skills.
- Technology Skill: Technological skills are another important extracurricular activity to include in your college application. While colleges generally expect students to have certain basic skills, such as typing skills, online research skills, experience with commonly used software programs, and knowledge of online etiquette, other skills can help you stand out.
Now that you understand the importance of extracurricular activities, it is time to choose one (or more). Of course, this can be a difficult choice.
One way is by considering your career goals extracurricular activities should reflect who you are as a person and what you value in life. Extracurricular activities are important that does not mean that you sign -up or have a big list of activities.
One or 2 activities are more than enough. Any activity you pick should demonstrate your persistence, passion, and commitment. If you select Soccer in sports try to get into the school team and participate all 4 years of high school, it applies to any activity. Your college application and resume should demonstrate that you are ready to accept the college challenges and will be successful in the program you are interested in.
If you are preparing for SAT, ACT, PSAT, etc. check out Socrato’s YouTube channel to learn about test-taking strategies and how to score practice tests.