Are Extracurriculars Important for College Applications?

Wondering if extracurriculars are important for college applications? The short answer is YES! While you can definitely get into schools without them, you will have a much easier time getting into more competitive colleges with them. It could even be a deciding factor in those competitive schools. Here’s what you need to know.

Cheerleaders in a blue uniform lined up.

The Benefits of Extracurriculars

Taking part in extra activities in high school will definitely pay off big time in college. Depending on your extracurricular choice (or choices if you decide on more than one), it can show your future potential schools a number of different qualities including leadership capabilities, dedication, and initiative. You also display a dedication to a community and interests outside of classes.

Extracurriculars also have a number of benefits for your own goals and growth, including

  • They allow you to explore your interests
  • You can have broader perspectives and explore new horizons
  • They increase your self-esteem
  • They help you create more connections.
  • You can hone skills such as
    • Communication
    • Time management
    • Problem solving
    • Leadership
    • Analytical thinking

They go beyond college, too. You can use these extracurriculars to apply to scholarships as well as jobs and careers in the years to come. They may also come in handy if you decide to continue with school after you gain your bachelor’s.

Examples of Extracurriculars

There are a number of extracurricular opportunities in every school and city. Which you opt for really depends on your interests and strengths. These ideas will get you on the right track!


One of the most obvious options when it comes to extracurriculars are sports. This could be a sport team through your school or hometown. You may also have the option to join various clubs in your town.

Sports teach you skills like teamwork, patience, and dedication, as well as the benefits of hard work.

Academic Societies

Academic Societies usually require you to have certain strengths when it comes to school. They could be something like the National Geographic Bee, Odyssey of the Mind, The National Honors Society, or the USA Brain Bee. Offerings under this category vary from school to school and state to state.


Most schools offer a variety of different clubs to their students including chess, Dungeons & Dragons, foreign language, robotics, drama, creative writing, and others. There are usually plenty to choose from and each has a different set of skills to teach you. Which you decide to join depends entirely on your own interests!

And if you don’t see a club that interests you? Many high schools will work with you to craft a club that fits your wants as long as there is interest from other students. Being the creator and leader of your own club also looks amazing on your college applications!


Tutoring other students is an excellent way to hone your own skills while also participating in an extracurricular activity. You may opt to work through a school program for tutoring or you might want to explore paid options.


Students can also choose to volunteer. This could be through a club or another avenue, but there are usually a number of options to choose from in any city. You could work at an animal shelter, participate in youth sports as a coach, work as a camp counselor, or volunteer at the library.

Extracurriculars and College Applications

Extracurriculars are a must for college applications and they will definitely help you shine through the pool of students. However, the benefits of these activities go beyond college applications. They help teach you must-needed skills for your future career as well as life.

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