High School Extracurriculars That Top Colleges Will Love

As we move along the academic school year, parents and students are beginning to think about the college application process. Alongside this includes what students should be putting on their applications.

An important and valuable component of the college admissions application is your participation experiences while in high school. In today's blog, we will discuss how to utilize your high school career activities to shine like the star you are when applying for your dream school.

If you have not read our blog post on what high school courses to take that top schools are looking for, give it a read here.

For starters, what exactly does the word "extracurricular" mean for high school students? The term "extracurricular" can be broken down as such:

  • "Extra" meaning "outside"

  • "Curricular" meaning work that is done within the classroom

In other words, extracurriculars are the activities that you do outside your regular coursework.

According to the Common Application, extracurriculars are defined as activities that “include arts, athletics, clubs, employment, personal commitments, and other pursuits.”

Most high school students are familiar with the standard story of individuals being admitted into a university or college because of their repertoire of playing a varsity sport, was a club president, or participated consistently in volunteering.

However, what are the true extracurriculars that top schools are looking for when evaluating candidates?

One of the first things to consider and be wary of when it comes to after-school activities is that the college admission officer will be aware of when a student adds a large number of extracurriculars to their junior and senior year of high school. With that said, students should be cautious of overwhelming themselves with supplementary activities that they do not genuinely enjoy.

We all know what should go on a college application, but what are the things that unnecessary and should not be stressed about? Read last week's blog article here to find out.

Considering that, let us take a look at some core high school extracurriculars that you should be incorporating into your application.

Cultural Clubs

One of the first outside-classroom activity you should think about taking part in are those that promote and encourage diversity and culture. With recent years encouraging anti-bullying and acceptance of differences, universities and colleges are looking for student applicants to be active in such areas and topics.

Students that are involved in cultural clubs or organizations illustrate that they are mature and are prepared to be in a grown-up environment of learning and accepting others around them.

Participating in cultural clubs while you are in high school allows for personal growth while preparing students with a college class environment, one in which varying ideas and mindsets will challenge each other and discuss maturely differing viewpoints.

Cultural clubs are furthermore valuable in that they portray student candidates as individuals who have compassion and are capable of speaking up for what they believe in.

Volunteer Work and Community Service

Another valuable extracurricular you should consider engaging in are volunteer work and community service.

More often than not, colleges and universities are assessing college applicants, on some level, the amount of volunteerism and service that they have committed to in their high school career.

Volunteering implies that a student is participating in an altruistic and philanthropic activity, with the intention of not acquiring any financial or social advantage.

Soon-to-be college students should incorporate volunteering and community service into their application to demonstrate to the admissions officer that they will pursue a similar approach in college. Universities prefer applicants that were active in the community as they will carry this positive trait with them to college and the college community.

To find the right volunteer experience for you, think about the activities that you will enjoy doing most and research organizations or services where you can apply those activities into volunteer hours.


An internship by definition is work experience for a limited and short period of time.

This outside supplementary activity will look impressive and remarkable to the college admissions office if you are able to land an internship or participate in an internship program.

Check out our previous blog article on how to get started on your internship hunt here.

The apprenticeship is a great way of showing a school you are interested in that you are competent, devoted, and mature enough for not only higher education but also the workforce.

Besides demonstrating capabilities, an internship or internship program will support the idea that you are prepared to take on the heavier coursework that accompanies being a college student.

An additional tip for students looking for internships is that they should search for work experience relating to a field, industry, or major that they are interested in getting a degree for in college.

Read our previous blog on top websites to use when looking for an internship here.

The apprenticeship will allow the student to gain some introductory experience to a potential future job position or show to the individual that this particular field of work is not for them.

We hope that today's blog article gave some better insights into potential high school extracurriculars to participate in.

These outside-classroom activities are a great way to illustrate key traits that colleges and top universities are looking for when evaluating candidates, but also a great strategy in personal development for students.

7EDU Impact Academy offers online and on-site college prep services ranging from counseling, one-on-ones, to full courses. If you want to learn more about something we wrote, feel free to contact us at (408) 216-9109 or email us at info@7edu.org.

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