extracurricular activities

Extracurricular Activities Colleges Like to See

If you’re going to ask someone who already graduated from high school for some freshman advice, they would probably tell you to participate in a lot of extracurricular activities

But what particular clubs can you join that fits your interest? How will it help you get into your dream college like Stanford? Before we go on to detail about that, let us first discuss what is an extracurricular activity and what are the benefits of joining one.

What are extracurriculars?

Extracurriculars are activities that you do outside academics that don’t have any college credit. These activities are quite essential if you would like to enhance your skill in a particular area, or you would like to engage with other students who have the same passion as you. 

For instance, you are interested in dancing but you’re not quite good at it. You can look for a club that focuses on that skill to improve your moves. If you are already an expert dancer, you can still join the dance club so you can mentor the beginners. That way, you are putting your talent into good use. 

Usually, the extracurricular activities fair is held in the first week of high school. You can roam around and check the different clubs and then choose the ones that you find interesting. Ensure that your heart is really in the club where you will sign up because it will contribute to how you will experience your whole high school life. Plus, they are also pretty useful during college admissions.

Benefits of joining extracurricular activities

Joining extracurricular activities in high school has many benefits. From improving academic performance to boosting your confidence, extracurriculars can help you do just that. We took the liberty of listing them here:

It improves academic performance

Contrary to the belief that extracurriculars ruin academics, some students who are more involved in high school activities tend to be more participative because their brain function is increased. 

It widens your perspective

By joining extracurricular activities, you are also widening your perspective and you explore more interests. You learn from other club members and you are also able to share what you know. Aside from that, you learn about some talents you never knew you have.

You make friends

How boring it is when the only people you know from school are your classmates. If you join clubs, you will be able to meet new friends from other grade levels as well as from other block sections. You will share thoughts with a diverse set of people and you’ll also learn about different beliefs.

You gain essential life skills

Right after you finish studying, you will see that all the skills you have learned from joining clubs in high school and college are beneficial. How? This set of skills will help you better engage with your colleagues and enhance your efficiency in working.

For instance, teamwork, time management, and problem-solving are some of the primary skills needed in the office. You won’t be able to find it that hard to do what you have to do because you were already trained by joining clubs in high school.

It reduces your academic stress

Through engaging in various activities, you are given some time to breathe from academic stress. This is especially true if you have joined a club about something you are passionate about. Let’s say you are interested in singing and in between reviewing for your tests, you had a meeting with your other club members. The time spent with them will help you let off some steam.

Plus, it is quite proven that doing something you love puts you in a good mood and gives you motivation. Imagine finishing a detailed report for chemistry and then meeting with your art club to paint. Your stress will be gone in minutes.

You become more confident

Let’s admit it. Not everyone is born confident and finding ways to develop it is quite a struggle. 

One of the most proven ways to build your confidence is by involving yourself in school activities outside academics. Since you learn more about your passion or you discover a new skill, you become more relaxed in front of people. It is a great confidence booster that would not require too much of an effort.

It helps with college admissions

This is perhaps the most important benefit of extracurriculars- its impact on college applications. You thought these activities are all just fun and play but actually, they can actually help you get into your dream university.


Most colleges these days look at the activities got involved in that are related to your major. If you are taking biology, you are expected to have joined a club focused on biology.  If you are taking arts, they need to see a hobby-centered club that focuses on art. 

But what if you don’t want to join clubs related to the college degree you want to pursue. You don’t have to worry. Some colleges are quite considerate and they accept students who participated in extracurricular activities completely unrelated to their major. It’s just a matter of learning about what your dream college school is expecting from your applications.

Top extracurricular activities that colleges look for

You are very lucky because in this article, we have compiled the top extracurricular activities examples that you may want to look at before you choose which club to sign up for. This list of extracurricular activities is specially written to help you figure what club will help you get admitted to your dream school.

Academic clubs

Some students who really love academics prefer to join clubs that are related to their school subjects. This is beneficial if they are going to pursue a college degree related to it. The extra knowledge they will get from extracurricular activities will enhance what they learn from classroom or laboratory discussions. Who knows, this may even help them land a merit scholarship.

The most common academic clubs are math and science clubs. If you are interested to earn a college degree in accountancy, engaging in math-related activities will prove beneficial. You can learn a lot of mental math tricks and you get to work with math wizards as well.

Athletic clubs

During high school, this is where most students find out that they have the skill for a particular sport or they learn about their passion for an athletic activity they’ve been practicing for quite some time. Joining a high school athletic club or representing the school in various competitions is suggested for these students. 

Also, some universities prefer highly athletic students because they line them up for their varsity teams. These teams are made to compete locally and internationally so they only pick up the best.

If you are not looking to be an athlete in college, you can still join athletic clubs in high school. This will develop your endurance, teamwork, and leadership skills as well. Plus, if you want to be fit, this club will help you do just that.

Volunteer and service-related clubs

Joining volunteer and service-related clubs are also considered by the college admissions committee most of the time. They want students that know how to engage in the community even if the service they are offering is for free. 

Some of the most common places where high schoolers like you can offer free aid are nursing homes and hospitals, animal shelters, and museums. If your school is short on staff and they need extra help in the office, you can also offer your service.

Aside from volunteer work, you can also join student government.

Student government

Most universities and colleges get impressed with students who became a part of the student government in high school. Why? Because holding a position in the school council proves that you have leadership skills. And we all know why leadership skills are very important in life. It helps you go places.

Cultural clubs

Cultural clubs centre on educating people on different culture and belief systems and at the same time, promoting a sense of acceptance towards diversity. These clubs do not only share facts about other culture but also actively engage in them for better immersion.

Colleges love seeing applications of students who joined cultural activities because it somehow reveals their personality and their willingness to accept other people no matter what their race and culture is.

Hobby-centred clubs

If you think hobby-centred clubs are not included in this blog, sorry for disappointing you. Activities related to your passion is quite useful in your college applications especially if it is related to your degree. Here are some examples:


If you are into arts and your planning to take up fine arts in college, joining in art activities should be one of the things that you should consider. There are actually a lot of students who are interested in art and you will learn about all their styles in drawing and painting once you decided to sign up in this kind of club.

Some artists even claim that they learned the foundation of what they know about art from high school. Every club member is your friend and critic, and your teacher is your mentor. Go on and unleash the Van Gogh in you. Except the ear thing of course.


For students who love to act, being a member of a theatre club is highly suggested. Not only will it boost your confidence, but it will also train you on how to be a better actor. The extra knowledge you will gain from your club will help you ace your admissions if you are interested to major in theatre arts.


Another epic club to join in is the dance club. Through doing dance-related activities or performing in benefit concerts, the college admissions will realize how you find a way to channel your talent to a more beneficial way. Plus, you get to have those muscles moving. It will greatly help you manage academic stress.

School Publication

Writing for the school publication is also a big thing for college admissions because it proves you know how to use words to engage people. Most members of school publications are quite intelligent and have a wide perspective when it comes to relevant issues. 

Through writing for the school publication, you can also express yourself and make people understand things that should matter to them. It is also a good exercise that will help you later on to improve your SAT essay.


Being active in the debate team also adds to your college admission points. It is because debaters possess many characteristics that colleges deem valuable. For example, the ability to coherently explain how you view things and back them up with relevant data and team leadership skills. These are actually some of the core competencies of a 21st-century learner. 


Joining extracurricular activities are fun and educational at the same time. They are often recommended if you would like to enjoy your high school life and at the same time, land your dream college. Here are the benefits of joining clubs and engaging in various non-academic activities that we have discussed:

  1. It improves academic performance
  2. It widens your perspective
  3. You make friends
  4. You gain essential life skills
  5. It reduces academic stress
  6. You become more confident
  7. It helps with college admissions

We have also listed down the top extracurricular activities that colleges want to see in your application. You must weigh your options carefully and make sure that aside from gaining points for college admission, you are also enjoying the club you’re in. Here is a recap:

  1. Academic clubs
  2. Athletic clubs
  3. Volunteer and service-related clubs (Student government)
  4. Cultural clubs
  5. Hobby-centered clubs (Arts, Theatre, Dance, School Publication, Debate)

We hope that you learn a thing or two about the extracurricular facts we have shared and know that we are with you in striving to get to your dream college. In case we missed something from this blog, just comment it down below. We would love to hear from you!

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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