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Impressive Extracurricular Activities for College Applications

When it comes to college applications, making a solid first impression is essential. Teens should be prepared for stiff competition, so ensuring their application stands out is key. Extracurricular activities are often included in the college application process. These activities provide colleges with a better understanding of teens’ personalities, interests, and objectives.

What extracurricular pursuits are ideal for college applications? Understanding what extracurriculars colleges look for is important. Even though teens may have engaged in several activities, not all activities need to be included. In fact, listing too many can work the opposite way. The best activities will always stand out on a broader list. To choose which extracurricular activities to list on your college application, keep the following in mind and be sure to check out these tips for a stress-free college application.

Importance of Extracurricular Activities

Why are extracurricular activities important to college applications? Through extracurricular activities, students demonstrate various personality traits about themselves to colleges, such as their willingness to develop new skills and collaborate with others.

Extracurricular activities, such as after-school science club or math competition participation, demonstrate to colleges that teens are engaged in a subject of study outside the classroom.

Extracurricular activities also demonstrate to colleges about interests outside of the chosen major.

The 7 Best Extracurriculars for College

What appeals to admissions officers? While teens don’t need to include every activity, choosing which ones to mention can be difficult. The following extracurricular pursuits are among the greatest for college applications.

Leadership Activities

Colleges look for applicants with a background in leadership. Leadership activities can show that teens are dedicated to their goals and interests and have what it takes to contribute to the school community. Eagle Scout, Gold Awards, editor of the school newspaper, captain of a sports team, and seats on the student council are a few examples of leadership.


Relevant internships will be a solid complement to applications. These positions demonstrate enthusiasm and expertise in an area of interest and may provide teens with a valuable advantage when applying to colleges.

Interning with a nonprofit or small business might increase the chances of getting into more selective colleges, so do not forget to add any relevant internships to college applications.

Athletic Participation

Admissions offices like seeing prospective students participating in sports. Participating in team sports demonstrates a readiness to cooperate with others and strive toward an objective beyond individual success. Participating in a club or school sport can show motivation, dedication, and time-management abilities.

Include any athletic participation, no matter how small or big. It may influence your college application positively.

Work Experience

College admissions highly favor teens with part-time jobs. Any work experience should be included as it demonstrates the applicant’s ability to develop new skills and manage finances.

Additionally, employment experience might demonstrate the capacity for success in a setting outside of the classroom. It can prove to admissions committees that applicants can contribute to campus life outside of school.

Academic Clubs

Activities such as Debate Club show that teens are interested in learning and have expertise outside of the classroom. Pursuing academic endeavors beyond those necessary to earn a high school diploma is looked on favorably by admissions committees.

Participating in academic clubs and teams demonstrates to college admissions that teens have teamwork skills, dedication, and a commitment to a collective goal.

Artistic and Creative Pursuits

Activities that require artistic and creative expression, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic design, fashion design, theatre, music, and dance, can highlight the capacity for imaginative thought and creation. 

Colleges love seeing these activities on students’ applications, so be sure to add any creative pursuits to college applications. 

Volunteering and Community Service

Volunteering shows commitment to the community. Serving meals at a soup kitchen, organizing cans at the local food bank, or constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity can all demonstrate a dedication to service and to the community.

Volunteering and community service can highlight the potential to contribute to the college community in ways other than just attending classes, which can increase the chances of being accepted.

Need Help With College Applications?  

GradePower Learning can help teens with college applications and with the skills to ensure postsecondary success. Contact a location near you to learn more about our College Applications Success programs today!

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