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47 Extracurricular Activities To Put On Your College Application

Looking for an activities list for college applications with examples? Here are 47 things you can put on your application to stand out.

Starting college is an exciting new chapter of your life, but there are a few hurdles to get through before you turn that page.

A major one is the college application. It’s good practice to be well rounded on these applications. That is where extracurricular activities come into the picture. 

When I was in high school, extracurriculars I joined included Honor Council, Softball, Key Club, NHS (National Honors Society), environment club, and art club.

Over the years, I also dabbled in Yearbook, Newspaper, band and choir, and more. Each of these were listed on my college application and helped me get into the schools of my choice.

Why do extracurricular activities look good on your college application?

Extracurricular activities give college admissions officers a peak into your interests, personality, and academic strengths.

Being a part of a club doesn’t just have to be for the benefit of the admissions process.

They are great for creating an enriching high-school experience, creative pursuits, and even self-discovery.

Extracurricular activities say more about who you are as a person beyond just your GPA.

They also give you experiences you won’t be able to get anywhere else. These experiences help you build identity capital – the building blocks of who you are as a person.

College applications are more than test scores. In fact, it’s truly the culmination of a leadership position, volunteer work, your drive and initiative, that make you stand out.

How To Talk About Your Extracurriculars on Your College Applications

On your college application, you can share that through Habitat For Humanity, for example, you were able to travel around the country and meet people from all walks of life while you aided in building homes.

Another example is if you participated in the Student Council, you could share how you worked hard to host events that positively impacted your school community.

Even more, you could share how your hobby of learning sign language connected you to the deaf community and gave you the opportunity to connect with young children.

There are endless opportunities and experiences available when you join extracurriculars that interest you!

47 Extracurricular Activities To Put On Your College Application

If you’re looking for a few more clubs to join during your last years of high school, I’ve got some ideas for you.

All schools are different, so some of these may not apply to you, but try to find a couple that interest you that you can look into.

I have them broken up into sections, with their related activities – academic, vocational/hobby, and miscellaneous. That way you can go straight to the best activities for you. 

Academic Activities For Your College Application

Academic clubs may not always be the most exciting out of the options, but that doesn’t make any of these less important than the others on this list.

Choosing an extracurricular activity in this section could help your college application stand out if you are going for certain majors.

For example, if you are wanting to major in Psychology as a college student, joining the psychology club in your senior year of high school would be a great step. 

These clubs can also provide some great memories in the form of field trips and summer trips.

You could travel somewhere to attend a competition, go visit a museum, and even take a spring break or summer break trip. Maybe these clubs are exciting after all?

two high school students standing in the hallway talking

Mathletes 

Mathletes is an academic club designed to foster a love of mathematics and challenge students to compete against their peers in math competitions.

Mathletes typically meets once a week after school and members of the club have the opportunity to participate in regional, state, and national competitions.

Through these competitions, students are able to practice their problem-solving skills and work as a team to solve difficult math problems under the pressure of competition.

Mathletes also serves to provide students with resources and support for their mathematics studies, such as practice tests and helpful study guides.

Participating in Mathletes is an excellent way for students to strengthen their math skills, increase their confidence in problem-solving, and develop a love of mathematics.

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is an academic club that provides students the opportunity to compete in events related to science and engineering.

Academic Decathlon

Academic Decathlon is an international competition where teams of students compete in knowledge-based activities such as interviews, research papers, and tests related to math, science, literature and the arts.

The Academic Decathlon focuses on helping student build leadership skills, collaboration abilities and strengthens their academic knowledge through rigorous study and practice.

Mock Trial

Mock Trial is an academic club where student take on the roles of attorneys, witnesses, and other legal personnel in order to act out a simulated court case.

This activity allows students to learn about the judicial system while honing their public speaking, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Participating in Mock Trial provides students with an opportunity to explore their interest in law and gain a better understanding of the legal process.

Furthermore, mock trial provides students with the opportunity to develop practical skills such as research, writing, collaborative problem solving and effective communication.

These skills can be used both inside and outside of a courtroom setting.

Speech and Debate Team

Speech and Debate Team is an academic club that encourages students to develop their public speaking, research, negotiation, and critical thinking skills.

Members of the Speech and Debate Team have the opportunity to attend tournaments where they can engage in competitive debates related to current events, political issues, and matters of national importance.

Vocational/Hobby Clubs

These activities are great if you’re interested in a certain hobby or career field. You can find clubs that range from robotics to coding and even culinary arts.

These clubs provide students with the opportunity to explore different career paths, develop essential skills, and build relationships with professionals in their chosen field.

It’s also a great way to learn more about an interest or hobby while meeting like-minded people who share your passion.

Quiz Bowl

Quiz Bowl is an academic club where teams of students compete in a variety of trivia-based and knowledge-based activities. The questions cover a wide range of topics from science, history, literature, pop culture and more.

This activity gives students the chance to test their knowledge across different subject areas and challenge themselves with fast-paced and competitive questions.

By participating in Quiz Bowl, students can improve their problem-solving skills, increase their knowledge base, and build confidence in their ability to think quickly and accurately. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for team-building as members must collaborate to come up with correct answers.

Foreign Language Club

The Foreign Language Club is an academic club that encourages students to explore different languages and cultures. It provides members with the opportunity to engage in language-learning activities, practice speaking, and experience various aspects of global culture.

Members can attend events such as cultural festivals, language tutorials, potlucks featuring dishes from around the world, and group trips to foreign countries. It’s a great way for students to immerse themselves in different cultures, practice their language skills and gain an appreciation for the diversity of the world.

Additionally, members can participate in activities such as book clubs, debates and foreign-language movies that help them further develop their linguistic abilities. The Foreign Language Club is an excellent way for students to gain insight into different cultures while furthering their language skills.

Architecture Club

The Architecture Club is a great way for students to explore the world of architecture and gain hands-on experience in the field.

Members have the opportunity to attend lectures from industry professionals, participate in workshops and tutorials related to design, and visit various architectural sites.

Through this club, students can learn more about how buildings are designed, the history of architecture, and the process of constructing a structure. Members also have the chance to collaborate on projects with fellow students and gain valuable experience in creating their own designs.

This club provides students with an opportunity to explore the world of architecture and become knowledgeable about different design elements.

Astronomy Club

The Astronomy Club is a great way for students to gain an appreciation for the wonders of the night sky.

Members can attend events such as stargazing nights, lectures from experts on various topics related to space, and tutorials that teach essential astronomy concepts.

two girls sitting on a couch laughing over school work

Biology Club

The Biology Club is a great way for students to explore the world of biology and gain experience in research and laboratory work.

Members have the opportunity to attend lectures from experts on topics related to biology, participate in labs and experiments, engage in field trips to observe wildlife up close, and compete in science fairs.

Chemistry Club

The Chemistry Club is a great way for students to explore the world of chemistry and gain experience in research and laboratory work.

Members have the opportunity to attend lectures from experts on topics related to chemistry, participate in labs and experiments, engage in field trips to observe chemical processes up close, and compete in science fairs.

Economics Club

The Economics Club is a great way for students to explore the world of economics and gain hands-on experience in the field.

Members can attend lectures from industry professionals, participate in workshops and tutorials related to markets and finance, and visit various economic sites.

Through this club, students can learn more about how markets work, the history of economic principles, and the process of analyzing economic data.

Members also have the chance to collaborate on projects with fellow students and gain valuable experience in researching topics related to economics.

This club provides students with an opportunity to explore the world of economics and become knowledgeable about different aspects of financial markets.

Physics Club

The Physics Club is a great way for students to explore the world of physics and gain hands-on experience in the field. Members can attend lectures from industry professionals, participate in workshops and tutorials related to mechanics and energy, and visit various scientific sites.

Through this club, students can learn more about how physical systems work, the history of physics, and the process of analyzing physical data. Members also have the chance to collaborate on projects with fellow students and gain valuable experience in researching topics related to physics.

This club provides students with an opportunity to explore the world of physics and become knowledgeable about different aspects of physical phenomena.

Overall, participating in an academic club is a great way to explore one’s interests, build knowledge in a particular subject, develop leadership qualities and have some fun along the way!

Sports For Your College Application

Joining a sports team in high school can be a great way to learn about teamwork, persistence, hard work, leadership experience – if you are a team captain, and more.

All while playing a sport that you, hopefully, love. All schools have different sports options. Some of the most popular ones are football, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, and soccer. 

One thing to keep in mind is whether or not you’d like to play sports in college as well. If the answer is yes, you’ve got a few options.

There are club sports, and then there are the official university sports. You may start getting contacted by college scouts to join their teams if you are talented at the sport you play. 

There are other reasons to play school sports other than the potential to get recruited to play in college.

Some of those reasons are to stay fit, to gain mentors (coaches make great mentors), learn time management skills, and more.

Ask yourself: What have you learned through playing sports, if you are on a sports team?

Another reason to consider sports is because many scholarship opportunities are available to athletes.

two high school women practicing volleyball in the school gym

Sports to consider playing in high school:

– Football

– Volleyball

– Cheerleading

– Basketball

– Soccer

– Baseball/Softball

– Tennis

– Swimming/Diving/Water Polo

– Track & Field

– Cross Country

– Golf

– Lacrosse

– Hockey/Ice Skating/Figure Skating

– Gymnastics/Dance/Cheerleading

With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find a sport that interests you and enhances your college application.

No matter which sport you choose, the most important thing to remember is that it should be something you enjoy. With

teacher talking to students

Vocational/Hobby College Activities for Your College Application

We’ve reached the biggest category on the list of the best extracurricular activities to put on your college application.

There is a lot to cover here, but you can basically think of this category of clubs as the career discovery and development part of the list. 

There are clubs like FBLA, Model United Nations, and Entrepreneurship Club that teach leadership skills.

Then you have the more creative options for school clubs like Art Club, Film Club, Dance Club, etc.

These are great for spending time with club members that enjoy the same hobbies as you do, or as an opportunity to learn new skills.

Who knows, maybe joining one of these clubs or activities will ignite a passion you didn’t know you had?

FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America)

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a club for high school students interested in developing their business skills.

The organization provides its members with various tools, competitions and resources to help them become successful business leaders.

FBLA helps its members improve their communication skills, develop leadership qualities, understand how businesses function, and build self-confidence.

Members have the opportunity to participate in various events and competitions, such as public speaking contests, job interviews, business simulations and more.

Through FBLA, students can gain a better understanding of the business world and get a head start on their business careers.

Model United Nations

Model United Nations (MUN) is an academic club that focuses on international relations, global politics, and diplomacy. MUN provides students with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of current events in the world and build essential leadership skills.

In Model UN, student “delegates” take on the role of different countries and use debate, negotiation and diplomacy to work together as a team on various global issues. The goal is for the delegates to come up with resolutions that can be applied in the real world.

This gives students an opportunity to gain insight into international affairs and develop a respect for different cultures and perspectives.

Additionally, it allows students to hone their debating, public speaking and writing skills while learning more about the inner workings of international relations.

Thespian Troupe

Thespian Troupe is an academic club that focuses on theater and the performing arts.

Members of Thespian Troupe have the opportunity to take part in everything from theatre productions to workshops and seminars related to drama, musical theatre, and even film-making.

HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America)

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is an organization aimed at providing opportunities to those interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field.

The organization provides members with various leadership and competitive activities, such as health-related competitions, conferences, workshops and seminars. Furthermore, it also gives students the chance to network with professionals.

Entrepreneurship Club

Entrepreneurship Club is a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience with the business world.

In this club, members will have the chance to explore entrepreneurship and develop ideas that can help solve real-world problems. Members will also learn about different aspects of running a business, such as marketing, finance and operations.

three female students talking about school work

FFA (Future Farmers of America)

Future Farmers of America (FFA) is an organization dedicated to preparing members for leadership and careers in the agriculture industry.

Through FFA, students have the opportunity to learn about agricultural science, participate in competitions related to the field and attend conferences and workshops.

Additionally, it provides members with valuable networking opportunities within the agriculture industry.

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America)

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is an organization that focuses on the marketing, finance, hospitality and management aspects of business.

The organization provides members with various activities, competitions and conferences to help them refine their skills in the areas of communication, problem-solving and leadership.

Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn more about different business functions. Additionally, DECA also allows students to network with professionals in the industry.

Newspaper Club

Newspaper Club is a great way for students to hone their skills in writing, reporting and journalism.

Members have the chance to write for the school newspaper and learn about different aspects of journalism such as editing, photography and layout design.

This type of club provides students with an opportunity to gain insight into the news industry as they develop valuable communication and writing skills.

Chess Club

Chess Club is a great way for students to hone their problem-solving and strategic thinking skills.

Members have the chance to develop strategies, practice against opponents and learn from experienced chess players.

This type of club can also provide students with an opportunity to socialize and build strong relationships with other members.

Yearbook Club

Yearbook Club is a great opportunity for students to explore their creative side while learning the fundamentals of graphic design, layout and photography.

Members of this club have the chance to create unique designs, capture memories and capture special moments around the school.

Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to network with professionals in the graphic design

industry.

Art Club

Art Club is a great way for students to explore their creative side and gain an understanding of the different mediums and techniques used in art.

Members have the chance to learn about sketching, painting, sculpting and more as they create unique pieces of artwork with other members.

Photography Club

Photography Club is a great opportunity for students to develop their photography skills and explore the field of photography.

Members have the chance to learn about different types of cameras, lenses and editing software as they take photos around campus and create unique projects.

Film Club

Film Club is a great way for students to hone their skills in filmmaking and storytelling.

Members of this club have the chance to learn about different aspects of filmmaking such as cinematography, editing and scriptwriting as they create short films with other members.

Drama Club

Drama Club is a great opportunity for students to explore the world of theatre and performance.

Members have the chance to develop their acting skills as they perform various plays and musicals throughout the year.

Band

Band is a great way for students to learn about different musical instruments and gain an understanding of music theory.

Members have the chance to play in ensembles as they practice technique and learn about various styles of music.

Young Writers Group

Young Writers Group is a great opportunity for students to develop their writing skills and explore their creativity.

Members of this group have the chance to write short stories, essays and poetry while receiving support from other members.

male student sitting in class answering questions

Environmental Club

Environmental Club is a great way for students to learn about sustainability and take action to protect the environment.

Coding Club

Coding Club is a great opportunity for students to learn the fundamentals of coding and develop their programming skills.

Members have the chance to explore different coding languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript while working on projects with other members.

Robotics Club

Robotics Club is a great way for students to hone their problem-solving skills and gain an understanding of robotics.

Members have the chance to build, program and compete with robots while learning about different engineering concepts.

Dance Club

Dance Club is a great opportunity for students to explore different types of dance and gain an understanding of the history and culture behind it.

Members have the chance to learn dances from various cultures as they develop their coordination and performance skills.

Debate Team

Debate Team is a great way for students to hone their public speaking skills and explore the world of competitive debating.

Members have the chance to participate in debates against other schools as they practice critical thinking and research skills.

Junior ROTC

Junior ROTC is a great opportunity for students to gain an understanding of military drills and etiquette.

Members have the chance to develop their leadership skills as they practice military drills and take part in other activities such as volunteering and community service.

With so many activities available, college applicants can demonstrate their passions and involvement with meaningful

Choir

Choir is a great opportunity for students to explore the world of vocal music and gain an understanding of harmony.

Members have the chance to sing in ensembles and practice technique as they learn about different styles of music.

A Capella Club

A Capella Club is a great way for students to develop their vocal skills and explore the world of a capella music.

Members have the chance to practice singing in groups while learning about musical arrangements and performing at events throughout the year.

There are lots of different clubs you can experiment with. Don’t be afraid to test a few things out, even if it is different from what your friends are interested in. Following your own path with put you where you want to be.

Miscellaneous 

In this last section you’ll find a mixture of different clubs. From recognizing stellar grades to governing the student body, and even more.

This may be a small list, but together these clubs make a huge difference. These clubs provide a positive impact on the community – through community service, the school – through the student council and more, and the high school students – through connecting with other students. 

SGA (Student Government Association)

The Student Government Association provides a platform for students to work together and express their concerns and suggestions.

Members of this club have the chance to develop their leadership skills, discuss topics related to student life, and organize events that promote school spirit.

Class Officer

Class Officer is an opportunity for students to get involved in their school and improve the experience of their classmates.

Members have the chance to organize class events, plan fundraisers, and represent fellow classmates while developing leadership skills.

Varsity Scholars Club

The Varsity Scholars Club is an opportunity for students to recognize those who excel academically.

Members have the chance to recognize classmates who achieve high grades and provide support for those in need of academic assistance.

female student sitting alone in a room

NHS (National Honors Society)

The National Honors Society is an opportunity for students to gain recognition in different areas such as academics, leadership, service and character.

Members have the chance to contribute to their community through volunteering activities while also fostering a sense of school pride among their peers.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a great opportunity for students to explore their faith and share it with others.

Members have the chance to take part in prayer meetings, bible studies, outreach events and more as they foster their spirituality.

Key Club

Key Club is a great opportunity for students to learn more about service and giving back.

Members have the chance to take part in various community service projects while developing their leadership skills.

4H Club

4H Club is a great opportunity for students to gain an understanding of agriculture and explore the world of farming.

Members have the chance to take part in field trips, educational events and agricultural projects as they develop their knowledge in sustainable agricultural practices.

LGBTQ+ Club

The LGBTQ+ Club is a great opportunity for students to explore their sexuality and gender identity in a safe and welcoming environment.

Members have the chance to take part in activities that promote understanding and acceptance, while also providing support to those who are in need of it.

three students working on robotics

Don’t See One You Like? Start Your Own!

If there is a club on this list that you don’t have at your school, consider starting it yourself.

Talk to a teacher or office personnel to see what the steps are to start that process. This can also highly benefit your college applications because it takes a lot of initiative and organization to start your own club!

What if I don’t have time for extracurricular activities?

Let’s face it – being able to participate in extra activities can be challenging for some of us who have family responsibilities or who have to take on a part-time job.

The key is do to what you can with what you have and stand out where you are.

No matter what your situation is, there are ways you can spin your experiences to really make your college application stand out (especially beyond the common application).

Do summer programs if you don’t have time during the school year!

In Summary: Activities List for College Applications Examples

The activities list for college applications examples are varied and numerous. Hopefully these activity descriptions inspired you to find leadership roles to really wow the admissions committees!

From the Student Government Association to Class Officer, Varsity Scholars Club, National Honors Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Key Club, 4H Club, LGBTQ+ club and more – students have a wealth of opportunities to get involved in their school community.

All — or any! — of these can highly benefit your college application!

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.

Website: genthirty.com


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