Which Extracurricular Activities Impress Colleges?

Drama club in College

Flickr user Nic McPhee

You know that colleges want to see what extracurricular activities you have participated in. However, just submitting a long list of extracurricular activities is not going to help you. There are some activities that will make the admissions authorities sit up and take special notice of your application.

Volunteer Work

Colleges appreciate and reward students who give back to their community by volunteering. Don’t stop at just listing your volunteer activities. It’s more to highlight how volunteering helped you grow as a person.


Sports is high on the list of activities that impress colleges, especially if you have reached some varsity or elite level. It shows that you’re willing to put in the work to succeed. Whether it’s a team sport or a solo sport, make sure to mention it on your application.

Any Type of Leadership Roles

Extracurriculars require more than just showing up—they require leadership. Do you play a leading role in any org or club? Have you received recognition at any level for your leadership skills? This is not the time to be shy. Now is the time to show the college how awesome you could be as a part of their campus.

Remember: Less is More

All that being said, you may not want to have a long, long list of extracurricular activities on your application. Admissions teams would rather see you dedicated to one or two (maybe three) activities for several years, rather than a bunch of activities you’re not super involved in. So don’t scramble to add one more thing to your list, instead put your focus on the activities that matter the most to you! Activities you care about says a lot to your character and personality, and can act as great inspiration for an essay!

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