What Extracurricular Activities Do Colleges Look For? Get Noticed!

Extracurriculars absolutely look great on college applications, but do colleges look for certain clubs or activities when you apply? The answer is yes and no! What you do during the club or activity is more important than the activity itself in some cases. Here’s what you need to know about what extracurricular activities colleges look for and what they notice.

Those That Showcase Leadership

It’s likely that your high school has a wide variety of clubs to choose from. These could be chess, Dungeons & Dragons, drama, cooking, photography, or foreign language. Any of these will look amazing on a college application as they show you have interests outside of school.

However, if you really want to get your extracurriculars noticed, take a leadership position in your club. If you organize chess meets, you show that you can manage time and organize a group. If you’re the Game Master of a D&D game, you’re showing outstanding creativity, the ability to think on your feet, and adjust to your team. For drama, cooking, photography, and foreign language leadership positions, you may be in charge of organizing club meetings, events, activities, and more.

what extracurricular activities do colleges look for


Participate in after school sports? This is a great way to show a college you can commit to your goals and show you work hard to achieve them. After all, you’ve likely spent years honing your skills!

And if you’re part of a “team sport,” such as soccer or football, you’re displaying the ability to work with a team. You can follow directions from your coaches, you understand the importance of being able to rely on your team members, and you may even have a leadership position within your group.

And your athletics experience doesn’t have to be through your high school. Many communities have their own clubs or teams, so definitely include these activities under your list of extracurriculars.


Internships can present you with plenty of opportunities. You can learn about your intended career, get work experience, and make connections that will prove invaluable in the future. You may even end up working there after you have your college degree.

But colleges look favorably upon internships as well! It showcases that you’re motivated – you likely got this opportunity by applying for it, something you didn’t have to do and were not required to do. It shows you’re serious about a particular field or work. Internships also give you hands-on experience that can prove to be difference-makers in the classroom.

While these are examples of what colleges look for in extracurriculars, you should  focus on ones you’re interested in first. It’s better to have a consistent history of attending an extracurricular, rather than what you think a college or university is looking for. Ensuring you’re interested in the club, sport, or internship will also help you keep up motivation to keep going.

Now that you know what extracurricular activities that colleges look for, feel free to use our free scholarship search tool to see what is available to you!

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