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The College Extracurricular Activity Essay

Mark montgomery.

  • July 25, 2023

a girl studying

How will you write your college extracurricular activity essay?

The Common Application used to ask you to “elaborate” on one of your extracurricular activities in 150 words. Now this essay is not quite as common. At least it is no long required on the Common App.

However, many other colleges do require it, either as a part of their application or as a “supplement” the Common Application .

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Either way, this short paragraph can be an essential component of your entire presentation as an applicant.  In just a few sentences, you must convey something personal, meaningful, and interesting about yourself.

Seems impossible, right?  “How can I sum up my experience in my favorite extracurricular activities in just a few sentences?”

Well, it’s time to tackle the impossible. These tips may help you decide which activity to focus on, and how to write a well-structured paragraph that gives the reader a deeper understanding of your motivations and your priorities.

Choose the Right Activity

Don’t necessarily pick the activity that looms largest on your resume or activity list. If you are a star tennis player and a possible recruit for a college team, that fact will be clear on your activity list. If you are the best clarinetist in the city, then your activity list should reflect that fact.  Remember, the prompt asks you to “elaborate” on the activity. It doesn’t say you have to choose the one that takes up the most time, nor does it say that it must be the one that is your primary extracurricular focus.

More specifically, it may be that the activity in which you have achieved or excelled the most is not the activity that will be the best to elaborate upon in this short essay. Consider the other activities that may help to round out your application and present another view of what motivates and interests you.

Consider which activities carry the most personal meaning to you. Look back over your resume or activities list and ask yourself, “Which of these would I miss the most if I could no longer do it?” Perhaps it’s that annual scouting trip, or the weekends skiing with your family. Or maybe it’s that concert you organize at the nursing home twice a year that brings you particular joy. Choosing the right activity is the first step as you write your extracurricular activity essay.

Your “Hidden” Activities

Consider elaborating on an activity that is not on the activities list or resume. For example, perhaps your extended family shares Sunday dinner together regularly, and this ritual has had a big influence on you and helped to shape your feelings about family. Maybe you actually enjoy mowing your lawn every week, making it look nice by paying attention to details. Perhaps you ride your bike to school every morning, and you use that time to notice details on your route and get your head together before and after your workday.

Not Necessarily Your “Best” Activities

Consider taking one of your activities and giving it greater specificity and detail. As you know, the space on the application in which to elaborate on your activities is very, very limited.  So use this short paragraph to pull out some details. For example, perhaps you mention on your activity sheet that you have done volunteer work at a hospital, and that you have several responsibilities. But perhaps there is one responsibility, in particular, that you most enjoy. That one responsibility could be the focus of your extracurricular.

To take another example, perhaps you are a guitar player, and your activity list indicates that you’re fairly good, but not great. However, there I some particular aspects of playing the guitar that you enjoy. Perhaps you don’t mind playing scales over and over in order to improve your technique.

Or maybe you go to a music store on Saturdays where a bunch of bluegrass players get together and jam, and you join in, despite the fact you aren’t the best player; or you are a huge fan of Andre Segovia and have listened to every piece he has ever recorded. These sorts of details can say a lot about the depth of your interest in an activity, even if it is not where your greatest accomplishments lie.

The Focus: “Why?”

Your activity list or resume should address the questions of “What, When, and Where?” (the “who” should be apparent:  you!). This list explains your accomplishments and the range of your commitments. But it doesn’t explain your motivations or your priorities. This short essay-ette gives you an opportunity to do some explaining.

As with your primary college essay and with the supplements, the aim here is to give the admissions officer reading your file a bit more information about yourself.  What you convey in this short paragraph is something that they won’t find in the essays, and that they won’t really know from reading your activity list. This is another opportunity for you to present another interesting and important facet of your personality. All the essays give your application depth and dimension. Don’t throw away this opportunity to tell the reader more about yourself.

Tips for Writing the College Extracurricular Activity Essay

Start with a list of reasons you participate in this activity. What do you get out of it? Why do you enjoy it? Why would you miss it if you suddenly were unable to do it anymore?

Remember that not every aspect of your participation may be enjoyable. Are there reasons you participate in this activity that actually help you accomplish something else that is, in fact, even more enjoyable? For example, weight training may not always be fun, but it can make you stronger. Practicing the flute may be enjoyable in some respects, and not so much in others—but practicing makes you a better player.

Once your list of reasons why you participate in this activity, pick the top three. Write your essay in 5 sentences. One to introduce the activity, three to explain why you do it, and 1 to spare, either as a conclusion or as an elaboration on your introduction.

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Some Prompts to Get You Going

If you are having trouble, try completing these sentence prompts to get you going.

  • When I participate in this activity, I feel ___________.
  • I originally got involved in this activity because ____________.  And now I continue this activity because ____________.
  • My favorite aspect of this activity is ____________.
  • My friends think this activity is ___________.
  • I take the most pride in this aspect of the activity: ___________.

The College Extracurricular Activity Essay – Final Notes

For most of us–adults as well as teens–our activities are good reflections of our priorities, talents, and motivations. We often demonstrate excellence through the things we do outside of school (or outside our jobs or professions).

This Common App supplemental extracurricular activity essay is a great way for you to share more about who you are as a person. If you focus on WHY you engage in these activities, you’ll be able to convey those motivations and priorities.

You have fun engaging in your extracurricular activities. Now enjoy writing about one that is especially important to you.

Need Help With Your College Extracurricular Activity Essay?

If you are having trouble putting together your college essays, including your college extracurricular essay for the Common App, then you might want to consider giving a call to the folks at Great College Advice.  We help students with every aspect of the college admissions process, and we would love to guide your toward your educational objectives.  If you’d like to learn more about what we do, contact us .  We’ll be happy to chat with you!

Mark Montgomery

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How to write the ‘Extracurricular Activity’ essay

How to write the “extracurricular activity” college essay.

Bonus Material: Examples of real supplemental essays that worked for schools like Princeton and Yale

If you’re in the process of applying to colleges, you likely already know that many universities (especially top-tier schools like Ivies) ask you to write essays in response to supplemental prompts. 

When it comes to selective schools, these supplemental essays make a huge difference! Some schools even prioritize your supplemental essays over your Common App personal statement. 

One of the most common supplemental essay prompts asks you to expand on an extracurricular activity you’ve been involved with. This is what we call, for obvious reasons, the Extracurricular Activity essay . 

While it might seem simple, many students misunderstand what colleges want when they ask this question. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what you need to do to write this supplemental essay in a way that gets you to stand out to elite universities. 

As universities get more and more selective, you’ll want to make sure you do everything possible to ensure your admissions application is perfect. At PrepMaven, that’s exactly what we do: for years, our expert tutors have guided students through the college application process, helping them land acceptances at schools like Princeton, Harvard, and MIT. 

Read on for our guide–backed up by years of experience–on how to approach the Extracurricular Activity essay prompt. 

Download 50+ Real Supplemental Essays for Ivy+ Schools

Jump to section: What is the “Extracurricular Activity” essay? Examples of “Extracurricular Activity” prompts What are colleges looking for in this supplemental essay? How to write the “Extracurricular Activity” essay Example of a successful extracurricular essay Analysis of a real extracurricular essay How to choose the topic for the extracurricular essay Next steps

What is the “Extracurricular” essay?

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

This is pretty much what it sounds like: many universities will, as one of their supplemental writing prompts, ask you to expand upon an extracurricular activity you’ve been involved with. 

But while the directions are pretty clear, what top colleges actually want from you here can be harder to figure out. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Extracurricular essay prompt: what the prompts look like, what admission officers want, and how to structure your essay. 

In addition, we’ll break down a real sample essay and analyze how it effectively checks all the boxes for an incredibly strong Extracurricular supplemental. 

After the “Why us?” prompts (on which we have a detailed guide here ), this is one of the most common supplemental essay prompts you’ll encounter, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready for this one well ahead of the application deadlines. 

Below, we’ll walk you through what these prompts look like, and what you need to do to answer them effectively. 

Examples of “Extracurricular Activity” prompts

Lots of schools ask a version of this question, but each university has their own spin on it. Take a look below for some examples from the 2023-2024 application cycle: 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Briefly describe any of your extracurricular activities, employment experience, travel, or family responsibilities that have shaped who you are. (Harvard) Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words, Carnegie Mellon) What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college? (200 words, Emory University)

As you can see, each of these looks a bit different, but really they all want to know the same thing: what interests you, and how have you gotten involved with it?

What are colleges looking for when they ask about extracurriculars?

Simply put, they want to see whether you’re really passionate about something. Almost nothing is as impressive to college admissions officers as real, demonstrated passion for some particular interest. 

In our broader guide on the college application process , we talk about the importance of highlighting your extracurricular profile for elite colleges’ admissions committees. While that happens in your Activities List, of course, the Extracurricular essay is your biggest opportunity to show them how you’ve engaged deeply with a particular activity. 

But admissions officers don’t just want to see you’ve been involved with something .

What they want to see in your extracurricular profile are: 

  • Initiative 

These may feel like buzzwords (they are), but they really are how admissions committees evaluate your extracurricular profile. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Did you just compete in a robotics activity, or did you win a state championship? The former is nice; the latter is excellence . 

Did you start volunteering at a local homeless shelter this year, for an hour a week? That’s good, and colleges will appreciate it. But compare that to someone who’s been volunteering for years, dedicating multiple hours a week to the same task: that’s dedication . 

Leadership is more or less self-explanatory: did you participate, or did you hold specific positions, with demonstrated (positive) effects on the club/team/organization you were a part of?

Initiative can be murkier, but it basically has to do with how much effort you had to put in to pursuing your extracurricular in the first place (this often intersects with the other three categories). For example: did you join an existing club, or found your own because of your intense desire to pursue what interests you?

In a nutshell, then, the extracurricular essay prompt gives you the rare and valuable opportunity to show admissions committees one or more of these traits. As you write your essay, think about it in those terms: how can you show your excellence, dedication, leadership, and/or initiative in whatever activity you choose to write on. 

Below, we’ll run down what one of these essays needs to have to wow admissions officers. Although this guide should give you the information you need, there’s never a substitute for a real college essay expert who can help you with your essay live–we always recommend reaching out to one of our essay coaches if you want to maximize your chances of admission.

How to structure an Extracurricular supplemental essay. 

Although every essay is different, there are certain things that the Extracurricular should always do, and there’s a straightforward structure to help you do it. Below, we’ll break down each step of the structure and analyze a real example. 

Generally, though, these Extracurricular essays follow a similar structure: 

  • Start with a story
  • Give an overview
  • Show your passion
  • Reflect on how the activity has shaped you

Below, we’ll get into each of these in detail, so that you can have a more precise understanding of what’s expected of you when it comes to this supplemental essay. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

This is often the advice with all college essays, and it’s no less true here: you want to start with something that grabs the reader’s attention. The best way to do that is, more often than not, by throwing the reader right into the middle of a scene or moment. 

As you most likely did in your Common App essay, try to begin with a short paragraph recounting a moment that showcases you in action. Perhaps it’s you in the lab, working on a hypothesis about plant nutrition. Or maybe you’re an artist, and have just dragged your easel and canvas into the forest to paint a landscape. Whatever you do, don’t just tell us–show us you in action. 

The story exists to hook us in, but it won’t tell us everything we need to know. Set aside a small part of the essay to give a broader background for the activity you’re describing so that admissions committees can understand more about the activity itself. 

This part of the essay won’t be the most exciting or flashy, but it will let you convey a lot of information very quickly–making it an excellent place to highlight things like your dedication or initiative when it comes to this extracurricular. 

What does the “overview” part of an extracurricular supplemental look like? We’ll actually take a look at a real sample essay later in the post, but we can describe it briefly here. 

Say you’re writing an essay about performing in musicals. 

The first section (the story ) of your essay might describe you on stage, about to belt out some showtunes. 

The second section (the overview ) might begin something like, “Since the age of 7, I’ve leaped at every chance to perform in musicals: at schools, in local productions, and even with a touring theater troupe.” In just one sentence, you can show us how long you’ve been engaged with the activity and what some of the highlights were. Then, you can continue on by describing more about what your involvement in this extracurricular entails: your role, how your involvement has changed, that kind of thing. 

A word of caution: don’t turn this into a list of your accomplishments and awards. That should already be reflected in the Activities Section of your Common App. But also, it won’t make for a very good essay, and it’ll sound like you’re bragging. Only include accomplishments if they naturally integrate with the story you’re telling. 

Not sure how to balance an overview so that it conveys the right information without becoming bloated or braggy? The best way to be sure is to work with someone who has experience wowing admissions committees themselves. That’s why we always recommend getting a bit of professional help from one of our many Ivy League essay tutors and checking out or collection of real supplemental essays from successful applicants below 

We say it in almost all of our essay guides, but it’s true: nothing makes an essay stand out to admissions committees like a believable, personal description of the passion you feel for what you do. It’s human: we love people who really love what they do.

Whatever you choose to write about, the next section of your Extracurricular essay should focus on conveying the passion you feel for this activity or the satisfaction you gain from it. As always, specific details are key!  

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Don’t just say “I love to ride dirt bikes.” It’s not specific, it’s not detailed, it’s not convincing: do you really believe that the person who has nothing more to say than that really loves what they do?

Connect the passion to specific details or moments that you’ve experienced while pursuing this extracurricular. Maybe it’s the specific sensation of dirt showering on you as you land the bike from a jump; maybe it’s the moment a student you tutor turns to you and says how much you’ve helped their confidence. 

Convey your passion by integrating it with the unique details that only you can recount. That’s what makes the difference between a generic, ChatGPT-style extracurricular essay and a compelling, personal one that can wow college admissions committees. 

As always, the extracurricular activity essay isn’t just about the extracurricular activity: it’s about showing how something you’re deeply involved with has affected who you are on the cusp of college. 

What does that look like? It could be a lot of things! Maybe your extracurricular activity actually shaped what you want to study, or how you live your life–if so, great. But it’s also no less important if your extracurricular activity is simply a source of peace or joy, something that takes you away from the stresses of school or other obligations. 

In any case, it’s important to show that you’re the kind of person who thinks about how the things in your life shape you. This section doesn’t have to be long–a sentence or two will do–but it should show the admissions officers what it is you’ve gained from the pursuit of this hobby, passion, or job. 

Example of a successful Extracurricular Essay

Below is an example of a really excellent response to an Extracurricular essay prompt. This sample actually comes from our guide on how to respond to the University of California’s supplemental prompts, but it’s the kind of essay that could easily be used to respond to any college’s Extracurricular supplemental essay prompt. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

The stall horn blares, and the plane sways under the control of my feet. Shoulders tense, I look outside to maintain balance: even a small tap of a foot or shift of the stick could throw the plane into a downwards roll. The plane begins to shake- my cue to recover. I pitch the nose down and push the throttle full forwards. Despite high-stress situations, piloting is my dream career. Whether airliners or navy jets, I know I will be happiest in the air. I started out building model airplanes out of paper and pencils at Civil Air Patrol meetings, which first introduced me to basic aviation principles: pitch, roll, and yaw. From there, a presentation in my computer science class taught me about Joby Aviation, a local startup working on electric gyrocopters for everyday travel. Already knowing I wanted to fly, I felt inspired to work with aircraft as an engineer as well. I decided to enroll in flight lessons and subsequently took a job as a receptionist at my flight school. When flying, time passes by as fast as the air around me. As warnings blare, pilots chatter over the radio and the plane’s glass bubble gets swelteringly hot. There’s a lot to be aware of, but I’ve learned to multitask and focus amidst distractions. Similarly, being at the airport quickly thrust me into the world of aviation. I found myself fascinated not only by aerodynamics but also by fuel chemistry, avionics, and materials. Sumping fuel from the fuel tanks, I wondered, how do different fuel textures affect planes’ engines? Running my hand along the propeller, I pondered: how would the aircraft fly if this were wood? Plastic? I became fascinated by the specificity and variability of aerospace materials and eager to learn more about them. My love for aerospace is part of why I am eager to study engineering. I imagine myself designing new aircraft and optimizing the ones I fly. Whether I become a pilot or an engineer, the lessons I learn flying will be beneficial in any future paths I take.

Analysis of a real Extracurricular supplemental essay

Take another look at the above essay, and notice how it actually neatly follows the structure we’ve been talking about. 

The essay starts suddenly, and with a ton of detail: a stall horn (what’s that?), a plane swaying, a lot of tension. 

It’s important that the story is, itself, hooking and attention-grabbing. But that’s not the sole purpose of the story: the real key here is that it shows the writer in action. They’re not a passive observer or someone along for the ride. They’re making decisions and taking control of a situation, displaying both confidence and competence. 

Those elements together are the key to a successful opening for the extracurricular essay: get our attention, and show us you in action. 

Notice how the second paragraph feels totally different. It’s no longer a pulse-raising story: it’s a quick but detailed overview of how the writer got involved with and pursued this extracurricular activity over a long period of time. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

What do we learn from this overview? The writer started simple, with models at Civic Air Patrol meetings; they continued pursuing this passion through a compsci course and a local internship; they took flight lessons and got practical work experience at a flight school. 

It’s all super quick, and super efficient. There’s some nice details in there (the models, the gyroscope), but the primary function of this section of the essay is just to put the story in context. Think about it as the background that explains how we got to the story in the first place. 

The next paragraph immediately begins by conveying why this activity is so meaningful to the author. We learn that time (literally) flies, that the author learns how to multitask and stay focused under pressure, and that all this leads to a fascination with the science and engineering behind flight. 

Remember when we talked about specifics being the key to conveying passion? Here’s what we meant. The author doesn’t stop at saying what fascinated them. They go way further, posing multiple hyper-specific questions that convey the author’s real, sustained engagement with this activity. 

  • Reflection/change

As you can see, this section can be super short! It really just needs to wrap up the essay by showing us how this extracurricular affects the writer. In this case, it has helped shape what the student wants to pursue, even if the student isn’t yet 100% certain about what that path will look like. 

But this essay could have worked just as well if this student wanted to be an English major. The essay would simply have ended with a different kind of reflection, one about the value or lessons that they’re able to take away from the experience of flying. 

At heart, these essays aren’t complicated. But that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Writing the perfect Extracurricular supplemental essay can be incredibly challenging: how do you balance the story, the overview, the passion, the lesson? And all within a very short word count! 

Taking the right approach can mean the difference between boring an admissions committee and stunning them, so it’s not the place to take risks. It’s why we recommend working with a one-on-one PrepMaven essay coach. Not only have our tutors been accepted to the most prestigious schools in the country, but they’ve helped countless students get their own acceptance letters. 

How to choose the topic for an Extracurricular essay

This is a crucial decision, and you don’t want to take it lightly. 

Many students simply pick the activity that they’ve excelled most in, or the one they spend the most time doing. 

That’s often the wrong choice. Not always, of course, but often!

The key consideration is what activity will add the most to your application when described in essay form, as opposed to merely being summarized in 150 characters on your Activities List. 

Sometimes, that really is the same thing as the one you’re most active in; sometimes it’s not. 

For example, let’s say you’re an absolutely amazing athlete who has won titles and awards and all sorts of stuff. Your activities list can, if you’re careful with word count, convey all of those titles, awards, etc. If you were to write a whole essay about your sport, would you really be able to add much that the admissions committee won’t already see?

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

On the other hand, let’s say that in addition to being an all-star athlete, you’re also a tutor or mentor for a younger student. On the activities list, that won’t look impressive: so many students do peer tutoring that an admission officer’s eyes will glaze right over. But what if you actually developed a strong relationship with a student you mentored? There’s no way to convey that in 150 characters, but it might make for a nice story in 150 words. 

Wherever you can tell the best story, that’s your topic for the extracurricular supplemental. 

Before writing, you should always spend time reading through sample essays. We’ve collected over 50 supplemental essays from our tutors in response to prompts from Ivies and other elite schools. They’re totally free, and you can download them below to see what worked for past applicants. 

Though the steps here might seem simple, they can be astoundingly hard to pull off in just 250 words or less, which is usually the word count for this kind of supplemental essay. But if you can thread the needle and do everything listed above on this kind of essay, it can make a huge difference for your application. 

Most people don’t treat the supplemental essays as if they were particularly important, but they absolutely are: each college has put time and resources into coming up with these supplemental essay prompts because they want to see what you have to say. 

If you’ve read this guide carefully, then it’s time to start drafting! If you want to ensure that you’re writing the kind of essay that can get you into a top tier school, however, it often pays to get a second opinion. Our college essay experts have helped thousands of students get admitted into their dream schools, and are ready to help you do the same as soon as you’re ready. 

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How to write a strong extracurricular activity essay.

A female student writing a strong extracurricular essay

Written by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Written: 2/12/24

Landing a seat in your dream university requires more than just showcasing your academic abilities; it's about highlighting your life beyond the books, your sources of inspiration, and the experiences that have played a crucial role in shaping your individuality.

A great way to show off your many sides is by skillfully writing an essay about your extracurricular activities. This piece of writing offers a unique opportunity for admissions officers to peek into your world outside of academics by highlighting your passions, unwavering commitment, leadership prowess, and personal evolution. 

This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricate yet rewarding process of crafting an engaging and compelling extracurricular activity essay. It helps you figure out which activities are best for you to focus on. It also gives you a bunch of interesting questions to get your creativity going.

We’ll also provide you with a curated list of extracurricular activity essay examples, Acting like a guide and a good example for you to follow as you write.

By being thoughtful, real, and creative, your essay about your outside-of-school activities could be the special thing that helps you get into the college you really want.

Keep reading to learn how to turn your passions and experiences into an engaging narrative that truly reflects who you are.

How to Choose Which Extracurricular to Write About

Selecting the most suitable extracurricular activity to write about for your college application essay requires careful consideration and introspection. Each choice holds the potential to shape the narrative of your essay and provide valuable insights into your character, values, and personal growth. 

To ensure a comprehensive exploration of this topic, let's discuss a few factors you should consider when choosing which extracurricular to focus on:

1. Personal Significance

When contemplating which extracurriculars to highlight in your essay, take the time to reflect on the experiences that have had the most profound impact on your life. Consider the activities that have shaped your character, influenced your values, and ignited your passions. 

It could be a community service project that opened your eyes to social injustices, a musical instrument that became your creative outlet, or a sports team that taught you the value of teamwork and perseverance. 

Choose an activity that resonates with you on a deeply personal level, as this will enable you to authentically convey your emotions and the growth you have experienced.

2. Depth of Involvement

While it may be tempting to showcase a long list of extracurricular activities, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity. Admissions officers are interested in understanding how deeply you are engaged with an activity, as it demonstrates commitment, dedication, and the potential for impact. 

Evaluate the level of your involvement in each activity and focus on the one where you invested significant time and effort. This could involve leadership roles, taking on challenging responsibilities, or contributing to the activity's growth and success. 

By selecting an extracurricular where you had a meaningful and substantial involvement, you can provide a more detailed and insightful account of your experiences.

3. Leadership and Initiative

If you have taken on leadership roles or demonstrated initiative within a particular extracurricular activity, it can add an extra layer of depth to your essay. Admissions officers value applicants who display leadership qualities and the drive to initiate positive change. 

Reflect on instances where you assumed leadership responsibilities, whether it was captaining a team, organizing events, or spearheading projects. Share how you influenced others, made strategic decisions, and motivated team members to achieve common goals. 

Highlight any innovative ideas or initiatives you introduced and the impact they had on the activity and its participants.

4. Unique Experiences

Consider highlighting an extracurricular activity that stands out from the crowd. While popular activities like sports or clubs can still make for compelling essays, choosing a less common or unconventional activity can help your essay stand out and capture the reader's attention. 

Think about unique experiences you have had outside the mainstream activities, such as starting a niche interest group , participating in an underrepresented sport, or pursuing an uncommon hobby. These experiences can provide a fresh perspective and reveal different aspects of your personality and interests.

5. Alignment with Your Goals

When choosing an extracurricular activity to write about, consider its alignment with your future goals and aspirations. Admissions officers are interested in understanding your passions and how you plan to pursue them in college and beyond. 

Select an activity that showcases your dedication to a particular field of study, career path, or cause. Explain how your involvement in the activity has shaped your understanding of your chosen path and provided valuable insights into the skills, knowledge, and experiences required to succeed in that area.

Demonstrate how the activity has fueled your ambition and inspired you to make a meaningful impact in the future.

6. Overcoming Challenges

Admissions officers appreciate stories of resilience and personal growth. Consider discussing an extracurricular activity in which you encountered obstacles or adversity and how you overcame them. Reflect on the challenges you faced and the strategies you employed to navigate through them. 

This could involve overcoming physical limitations, balancing demanding commitments, or addressing conflicts within the activity. By sharing the lessons you learned from these challenges, you can showcase your determination, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.

7. Diversity of Experiences

If you have been involved in multiple extracurricular activities, consider showcasing a variety of experiences to demonstrate your versatility and well-roundedness. Admissions officers value applicants who have explored different interests and engaged in diverse pursuits. 

Discuss how each activity has contributed to your personal growth and provided you with unique perspectives and skills. Show how your various involvements have influenced and complemented each other, highlighting the valuable transferable skills and insights you have gained from navigating different domains.

8. Impact on Others

Consider the impact your participation in an extracurricular activity has had on others. Admissions officers are interested in applicants who not only excel individually but also contribute to the growth and well-being of their communities. Reflect on the ways your involvement has positively influenced others. 

This could involve mentoring teammates, organizing community service projects, or supporting fellow participants. Share specific examples of how your actions have made a difference, emphasizing the values of compassion, empathy, and leadership you have demonstrated.

By considering these factors when selecting which extracurricular activity to write about, you can choose the most compelling and meaningful topic for your essay. Remember, the goal is to provide a genuine and insightful portrayal of your experiences, passions, and personal growth. 

Through thoughtful introspection and effective storytelling, you can craft an engaging and impactful essay that leaves a lasting impression on admissions officers.

Extracurricular Activities Essay Prompts

To help you kickstart your writing process, here are ten thought-provoking prompts:

1. Can you share a story of an extracurricular activity that has brought about a significant change in your life? How did it alter your outlook and contribute to your personal development?
2. Can you delve into your experience of holding a leadership role in an extracurricular activity? How has it shaped your leadership style and impacted your personality?
3. Can you narrate how an extracurricular activity influenced your future career aspirations? Can you draw connections between your pursuit and your future goals?
4. Have you ever faced a considerable challenge or failure while participating in an extracurricular activity? Can you share your journey of overcoming this challenge and the lessons it imparted?
5. Is there an extracurricular activity that has played a crucial role in your personal growth? Can you discuss this journey of transformation and the factors that contributed to it?
6. Can you elucidate on an extracurricular activity where you demonstrated a significant level of commitment and dedication over a long period of time? How did this consistent engagement contribute to your development and learning?
7. Has there been an extracurricular activity that has allowed you to step outside of your comfort zone? Can you share your experience and how this helped you grow personally and academically?
8. Is there a unique or unusual extracurricular activity that you have participated in? How has this activity contributed to showcasing your individuality and distinguishing you from others?
 9. Have you ever started or founded an extracurricular club, event, or initiative? Can you elaborate on the motivation behind it, the process, the challenges faced, and the impact it had on you and your community.
10. Is there an extracurricular activity that has enhanced your understanding of a particular subject or field of study? Can you explain how this activity has deepened your academic interest or provided practical insights beyond the classroom?

Engaging in extracurricular activities not only enriches our lives outside the classroom but also provides us with invaluable experiences and lessons that shape our character, aspirations, and worldview. 

Whether it's leading a team, overcoming challenges, or exploring new horizons, these activities offer a unique platform to discover and showcase our true potential.

Extracurricular Activity Essay Examples

To help you grasp what an outstanding extracurricular essay looks like, let's dissect two examples and analyze why they make an impact:

1. Strings of Unity: My Dance with the Violin

A woman playing the violin

Every evening, as the sun set, the mellifluous notes of my violin would resonate through our home. I was six when I first held a violin, and it felt like an extension of my soul. Over the years, I practiced diligently, mastering complex compositions and performing at numerous recitals.
However, my most cherished moments were when I played at local nursing homes. Witnessing the joy and nostalgia my music brought to the elderly was profoundly rewarding. Inspired, I initiated "Melodies for Memories," a program where young musicians performed for seniors, bridging the generational gap through music.
The violin taught me discipline, empathy, and the power of connection. It wasn't just about playing notes; it was about touching hearts and creating moments of shared joy.

Why This Essay Was Successful

Here are a few things that made this essay successful:

  • Vivid Imagery : The essay paints a beautiful picture of the writer's relationship with the violin, making it easy for readers to visualize and connect with the narrative.
  • Community Impact : By highlighting performances at nursing homes and the "Melodies for Memories" initiative, the writer showcases their commitment to community service and the positive impact of their passion.
  • Personal Growth : The essay emphasizes the values and skills gained from playing the violin, such as discipline and empathy.
  • Concluding Thoughts : The conclusion ties back to the central theme of connection and shared joy, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

This essay effectively conveys the writer's deep connection to the instrument, showcasing personal growth, community impact, and the transformative power of music.

2. Beyond the Board: Life Lessons from Chess

A chess board

The chessboard was my battleground, a place where strategy, patience, and foresight converged. Introduced to chess at age eight, I was captivated by its intricacies and the mental agility it demanded. As I delved deeper, I realized chess was more than a game; it mirrored life's challenges and decisions.
I began teaching chess to underprivileged children in my community, hoping to equip them with critical thinking skills. Through "Checkmate Challenges," our monthly tournaments, I saw these children grow in confidence, strategy, and resilience.
Chess taught me that every move has consequences, and foresight is crucial. It reinforced the importance of patience, strategy, and learning from mistakes. Through chess, I not only honed my cognitive skills but also discovered the joy of mentoring and making a difference.

This essay was successful because it included:

  • Engaging Start : The essay begins with a powerful statement, drawing readers into the world of chess and its significance to the writer.
  • Community Involvement : The writer's initiative to teach chess to underprivileged children showcases their dedication to community upliftment and the broader impact of their passion.
  • Life Lessons : The essay effectively draws parallels between chess and life, highlighting the invaluable lessons the writer has derived from the game.
  • Concluding Reflection : The conclusion emphasizes the dual benefits of chess: personal growth and the joy of mentoring.

Both essays effectively communicate the writers' passions and the profound impact these activities have had on their personal growth and community involvement.

FAQs: Extracurricular Activities Essay

Writing about your hobbies for an essay? Here are some common questions and answers to help you out.

1. How Do You Write an Extracurricular Essay with a Word Count of 150 Words?

Crafting an extracurricular activity essay with a 150-word limit is both a test of your brevity and your ability to make a powerful impact. To start, you need to isolate a singular, significant moment or achievement from your chosen activity. 

This should be something that is both personally meaningful and serves as a representative snapshot of your broader involvement. Then, hook your reader right from the first sentence, making them intrigued to learn more about your story. 

You might paint a vivid picture, share a quick anecdote, or open with an interesting question. Afterward, give the reader a brief context or backstory about the activity to ground your story. This is where you quickly explain what the activity is and why it matters to you. 

Next, it's time to dive into the crux of your essay—your specific role and the impact it had. Highlight the challenges faced, the initiatives you took, and the results achieved. Be careful to maintain clarity and brevity, avoiding unnecessary details that could detract from your central message. 

Finally, wrap up your essay by tying your specific experience to a broader theme, value, or life lesson, which serves to highlight the significance of your involvement beyond the activity itself.

2. How Long Should an Extracurricular Essay be?

The length of an essay can fluctuate depending on specific application instructions. However, most of them hover in the range of 150-300 words. Regardless of the word limit, remember that clarity and conciseness are your guiding principles. 

Every sentence you write should serve a specific purpose, contributing meaningfully to your overarching narrative and effectively portraying a holistic picture of you as an individual. Avoid fluff or filler content, instead focusing on delivering a tightly woven narrative that showcases your passions, commitments, and personal growth.

3. Can an Extracurricular Activity Essay Focus on More Than One Activity?

While you can mention multiple activities, it is generally better to focus on one that has had the most significant impact on you. This allows you to provide a deeper, more detailed account, revealing valuable insights about your character, passions, and learnings.

Writing an exceptional extracurricular activities essay is a journey that requires introspection, authenticity, and excellent storytelling. As you embark on this journey, remember, the goal is to bring to light not just what you did, but who you are as a person, showcasing the experiences that have enriched your life. 

So, start reflecting on your experiences, unleash your creativity, and let your story resonate with the admissions officers.

4. Why Do Colleges Require Extracurricular Essays?

Colleges require extracurricular essays because they offer a more rounded view of applicants, going beyond mere academic accomplishments. Admissions officers want to understand who you are outside the classroom.

They're interested in your passions, long-term commitments, leadership experiences, and personal growth—all aspects that may not be apparent from your grades or test scores alone. 

5. How Do I Write About Extracurricular Activities in a Personal Statement?

When it comes to incorporating extracurricular activities into your personal statement, the goal is seamless integration that enhances your overall narrative. It's important to discuss the activity in a way that highlights not just what you did, but also how it contributed to your personal growth and future ambitions.

Elaborate on your involvement, detailing the specific roles you took on, the challenges you faced, and the skills you've gained. Then, explore how these experiences tie into your personal evolution and future goals.

Final Thoughts

Writing an extracurricular activity essay is more than just recounting what you did; it's about sharing a slice of your life that speaks volumes about your character, passions, and growth. It's about crafting a narrative that not only shares your experiences but also provides a window into the person you've become as a result. 

Whether you're speaking about the time you spent backstage in theater productions, the hours you dedicated to the robotics club, or the weekends you spent volunteering at a local shelter, remember that the best essays are those that are authentic and come from the heart. 

Use this opportunity to let your experiences shape your story, let your passions shine through, and let your unique voice echo in the admissions officer's mind. 

It is your experiences that make you unique, and it is this uniqueness that can make you stand out in the sea of applicants. So, embrace your individuality and let it guide your journey as you write.

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How do you like to spend your time after school? Did you know that how you choose to spend this time could be one of the most important ways you shape your future?

Extracurricular activities are a critical component of your college application, and you need to impress colleges with your interests. But you might not know what good extracurricular activities look like or what you should be spending your time on.

We've got you covered here in our guide of hundreds of examples of extracurricular activities. Read on to get some inspiration for how to spend your valuable free time during high school!

What Is An Extracurricular Activity?

An extracurricular activity can be almost anything that isn't required for high school credit or paid employment that you do while you're in high school. These activities will become very important later, such as when you are applying to colleges, because they help you develop your talents, interests, and passions. They can also teach you practical skills like time management.

With so many options out there, all students should be able to find an extracurricular that they are interested in and can develop a passion for!

Remember that extracurricular activities do not have to be sponsored by your school, so you should also consider things that you do with your family or within your community as viable options.

Below I've listed many popular activities that you may not have thought of as extracurricular activities. Take a look at the list and see if your activities are already on the list, or if anything you hadn't considered before catches your eye.

Of course, this list isn't complete, because you can turn almost any interest into an extracurricular. If you are actively involved in something that you don't see here—meaning you spend a significant amount of time doing an activity that is allowing you to develop a talent or interest, be a leader, or help out your community—then you should definitely consider that an extracurricular activity, as well!

What doesn't necessarily count as an extracurricular? Any interest of yours that's very self-centered is probably not going to make the cut.

An extracurricular should be an activity that demonstrates a talent or primarily contributes value to other people. If you have to really contort to find justification for something being an extracurricular (my taking drivers ed will make the roads safer for everyone! Keeping my vaccinations up to date helps immunocompromised people!), then chances are, it won't count as an extracurricular .

There's a spectrum here, though—for example, improving your hair quality or braiding hair for fun isn't really an extracurricular. But starting a YouTube channel around beauty tips or creating a club for teen health enthusiasts definitely does.

But if you're still unsure if something counts as an extracurricular, or you need some inspiration, then read on for our complete list of extracurricular activities.

How Should You Use This Extracurricular Activities List?

Not sure how you should use this list of extracurriculars? Just follow the six steps outlined in this section, and you'll be on your way to choosing the best extracurricular for you!


Step 1: Brainstorm Extracurricular Ideas

What are your interests? Have you always wanted to try out something related to art, but weren't sure if it would be worth your time, or if it would be viewed favorably by a college admissions team? Keep in mind that colleges don't really care about what kind of activity you are doing—instead, they want to see that you are doing something that you are passionate about. So make a list of all of your interests—both things that you are already interested in and other areas that intrigue you and you'd like to learn more about.

Step 2: See Which Extracurriculars Fit Your Interests

Look through the list below and see if any of the activities match your interests. You may see some ways that you hadn't thought of before to pursue an interest! Keep in mind that there can be a lot of different outlets for each interest you have. For example, if you want to play an instrument, you can take private classes, play in your school's marching band, play in a community concert band, or work as part of the orchestra for your school's next musical.

Step 3: Research Different Extracurricular Options

Research to see if these activities are available at your high school or in your community. If there is something you are very passionate about that's not already offered, consider starting up a group of your own. But if you aren't sure that the interest will stick and you only want to try it out, it's probably best to find a different outlet for your curiosity.


Extracurriculars List by Category

This list is organized into categories to make finding an activity that matches your interests easier. However, we recommend at least skimming all the extracurricular options below, even if you think they're categories you're not interested in. You never know what might catch your eye!

Note: not all schools will offer formal clubs in all these categories. If you see something you're interested in that your school doesn't offer, try joining a community group or even a national or online group to explore the interest further! Many of these topics are available as summer camp activities, as well.

You can also consider starting a club at your school if you are looking for a way to get involved in something you are interested in while also showing leadership and initiative.

These activities are based on a certain academic subject, and include both clubs (groups to discuss and practice certain subjects) and competitive teams. Academic teams have competitions that take place at all levels, from local to national.

  • Adopt-A-Physicist
  • Architecture Club
  • Astronomy Club
  • Biology Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • Economics Club
  • Electronics Club
  • Engineering Club
  • English Club
  • Distributive Education Clubs of America
  • History Club
  • Life Sciences Club
  • Literature Club
  • Literary Magazine Club
  • Mu Alpha Theta: Math Honor Society
  • National Honor Society
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Poetry Club
  • Physics Club
  • Psychology Club
  • Quill and Scroll
  • Robotics Club
  • Science National Honors Society
  • Trivia and Quiz Clubs
  • Web design/coding club
  • Writing Club


Academic Competitive Teams

  • Academic Decathlon
  • Academic Triathlon
  • American Mathematics Competitions
  • American Regions Math League
  • Caribou Mathematics Competition
  • Chemistry Olympiad
  • Clean Tech Competition
  • Creative Communication Poetry Contest
  • EconChallenge
  • Educators Rising
  • FIRST Robotics Competition
  • High School Innovation Challenge
  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
  • Kids Philosophy Slam
  • Math League
  • National Academic Quiz Tournament
  • National French Contest
  • National History Bee
  • National Spelling Bee
  • Odyssey of the Mind
  • Poetry Out Loud
  • Questions Unlimited
  • Science Bowl
  • Science Olympiad
  • Other Trivia and Quiz Competition Teams

These activities will allow you to express yourself artistically—on paper, through a lens, on stage, and through several other media. Unleash your creativity!

  • Anime/Manga Club
  • Art: drawing, painting
  • Blacksmithing
  • Fashion design
  • Graphic Design
  • Jewelry Making
  • Photography
  • High School Theater Program
  • Community Theater Program
  • Video Game Development Club
  • Woodworking


Cultural and Language

These activities may help you reconnect with your roots, or allow you to get a taste of the world's diversity without ever leaving home. There are many other cultural and language-related activities that you can participate in. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

  • African American Student Alliances/Clubs
  • American Sign Language Club
  • Chinese Club
  • French Club
  • German Club
  • International Food Club
  • Pacific Islanders Club
  • Russian Club
  • South Asian Student Society
  • Spanish Club


These activities will allow you to get involved in your community.

  • Community Festivals
  • Do Something
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Kids Helping Kids
  • Mountaineers Club
  • Sisters on the Runway


Interested in making a difference in your school, community, or on a larger scale, through policy? Try a government-related activity to see if this could be a career interest for you!

  • Community Youth Board
  • Student Council
  • Student Government
  • Community Government


These activities could be a fit if you're a natural leader, skilled at motivating, directing, and inspiring others.

  • National Beta Club
  • Peer Leadership Group

If you love writing and communicating, consider getting involved in a media activity to help bring news and information to your school or community.

  • School or local magazine/journal
  • School or local newspaper
  • School or local radio station
  • School or local television channel
  • School or local web site
  • Work on a movie
  • Yearbook Committee


If you are interested in learning about discipline, teamwork, and leadership, then you may be interested in a military-based extracurricular activity.

  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Junior ROTC


If you want to try playing an instrument or singing, there are many opportunities to try music-related activities. These are usually available both in your school community and in your wider community.

  • Any musical interest club
  • School Chorus/Choir
  • Community Chorus/Choir
  • Church Chorus/Choir
  • Chamber Music Group
  • Concert Band
  • Singing Lessons
  • Marching Band
  • Your own band
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society


Performance Art

Love to ham it up? You'll find there are many outlets both in your school and in your community to get on a stage and make an audience laugh and cry.

  • Comedy Club
  • Choreography
  • Classic Film Club
  • Film Production Club
  • International Thespian Society
  • Slam Poetry Club
  • High School Theater Group
  • Community Theater Group


You can usually find these groups in your community.

  • Church groups
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Jewish Student Union
  • Missionary work
  • Youth Groups


Did you know your love of fantasy can also be an extracurricular activity? Participating in one of these groups can show a dedication to many different creative skills.

  • The Civil War Reenactors
  • Dungeons and Dragons Club
  • Gamers Club
  • LARPing (Live Action Role Playing)
  • Renaissance Faires


Social Activism

These groups may have chapters in your school or in your community. If there's a cause you're passionate about, seek out the local group that supports it.

  • Amnesty International
  • Animal Rights Club
  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Cancer Foundation
  • Environmental Club
  • Fair Trade Club
  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • Girls Lean International
  • NOW —National Organization for Women
  • SADD —Students Against Destructive Decisions


Special Interest

You will often find these groups in your school or supported by the community. If you have a special interest in something that you can't find a local group for, consider creating one or join a national group. You can communicate with other people who have the same interest online, and attend meet-ups throughout the year.

  • Equestrian Club
  • Entrepreneurship Club
  • Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
  • Girl Scouts
  • Horticulture Club
  • Model Railroads
  • Quilt Making


Sports and Recreation

You probably already know about the sports teams at your schools, but there are also many opportunities to participate outside of those. Try doing extramural sports, join a club league in your community, or consider coaching a youth team.

  • Baseball and softball
  • Bodybuilding
  • Cheerleading
  • Climbing Club
  • Hiking Club
  • Intramural Sports
  • Martial Arts
  • Ping Pong Club
  • Quidditch Clubs
  • Skate Board Club
  • Track & Field
  • Ultimate Frisbee Club


There are a lot of ways to make a difference in your local community. Look for volunteer groups in your school, your church, or elsewhere in your neighborhood. There are many websites, such as Volunteer Match , that can help you find a local community service project that is of interest to you.

  • Adopt-a-Highway
  • Animal rescue
  • Best Buddies International
  • Church outreach
  • Hospital volunteer
  • International volunteer program
  • Red Cross Club
  • UNICEF High School Clubs
  • Volunteer Fire Department
  • Work with a local charity
  • Work with a local soup kitchen


If none of the above activities are for you, you're still in luck. Why? You can always create your own extracurricular activity!

Did you know that almost any hobby can be turned into an extracurricular activity?

Starting a business or a website, volunteering, or any unusual hobby can be turned into something that you can write about for college. And if it's unique enough to not be on this list, you can be sure that it will be something new for the college admissions committee, as well!

What matters most is that it's an outlet for your passion, creativity, and leadership.

So instead of thinking you don't do anything interesting, take the opportunity to find a new passion, or to turn something you already love into an activity you can share with the world.

If you think there's something we left off that you want to see something added to this list, leave a comment below.


What's Next?

Now that you know what extracurriculars look like, read about how to write about extracurriculars on your college application.

Did you know that you can use community service work to help pay for college? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to win community service scholarships.

Want your extracurriculars to really stand out? Check out our guide of three amazing extracurricular examples that are sure to impress colleges.

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Mary Ann holds a BA in Classics and Russian from the University of Notre Dame, and an MA from University College London. She has years of tutoring experience and is also passionate about travel and learning languages.

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extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Breaking Down the 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities

What’s covered:, list of extracurricular activity examples, balancing breadth and depth of extracurriculars, developing your extracurricular profile, the 4 tiers of extracurricular activities, how do extracurriculars impact your chances of acceptance.

Extracurricular activities allow colleges and universities to get a better understanding of a student outside of the classroom. They offer students a chance to share with a college what they’re passionate about and demonstrate their readiness for higher education.

A student with a robust extracurricular profile, great grades, and strong test scores has proven their ability to juggle multiple activities and commitments. Extracurricular activities also provide an opportunity for students to set themselves apart from a crowded field of applicants with similar academic profiles.

What Are Extracurricular Activities?

Wondering what exactly qualifies as an extracurricular activity? Does working a summer job count? How about taking care of your sibling? What about volunteering at your local library?

As a general rule, anything you do routinely outside of the classroom—and not for academic credit—counts as an extracurricular. These activities should have value for you and should have a significant impact on your development.

For example, watching Netflix wouldn’t count, but running your own movie critique and analysis blog would. Casually playing Minecraft wouldn’t count, but programming your own Minecraft plugins with 1,000+ downloads each would. In both examples, the situations that wouldn’t count were simply activities for leisure. The examples that were actually extracurriculars likely contributed to the student’s growth and helped them develop real-world skills.

In a similar vein, extracurriculars are something that you should devote significant time to. Volunteering once to fulfill a requirement isn’t something you should list on your college application, but volunteering weekly for a year could definitely fit the bill.

Basically any organized club, sport, or other activity can be classified as an extracurricular as long as you’ve shown dedication and the activity has helped you grow in some meaningful way. Personal projects like running a half marathon, building an app, or learning to do a Lutz jump would also fit the criteria of an extracurricular. This means that working a job, taking care of a sibling, and volunteering for a weekly shift at the library also count as extracurriculars.

Struggling to come up with extracurricular activity ideas? Top colleges and universities generally prize students who demonstrate passion, leadership, and commitment. Check out this extracurricular activity list for tips on finding new activities—and determining which of your current hobbies and passions to include on your college application.

When preparing for college admissions, it’s important for students to balance their extracurricular activities between breadth and depth. Too many activities can suggest that a student hasn’t found something they’re passionate about, or it can hint at a lack of focus or commitment. Alternately, a lack of extracurricular activities may leave colleges wondering how you’ll fit at their institution.

Students want to display juxtapositional depth to colleges. They can do this by focusing on two or three extracurricular activities that they can fully commit to and succeed in, and that highlight their different attributes as a student. Colleges are interested in students who are passionate about their interests and who are pursuing them to the fullest.

A great example of a student with juxtapositional depth is the starting quarterback for the football team in the fall who runs spring track and also plays in the school’s competitive jazz band—exhibiting dual interests in sports and music. Another example is a student who qualifies for the National Debate Tournament and who is also the captain of the school’s math club and a top scorer in the American Mathematics Contest 12—illustrating an interest in both debate and math.

Part of the high school experience for a student is about developing interests and learning what they’re passionate about. Another key aspect of high school is preparing for college. With proper planning, high schoolers can accomplish both through careful choices of extracurricular activities.

Freshman Year: Freshman year is a student’s opportunity to join multiple clubs across different fields of interest, both in and out of the school environment. Students with an interest in music and athletics should try out for the band or sports teams. If there is a cause a student is passionate about, they should seek out volunteer opportunities related to it.

Sophomore Year: During sophomore year, students should begin narrowing the focus of their extracurricular activities, spending their time on the activities most meaningful to them. If there’s something a student is extremely passionate about but has no outlet for, they should start a group or organization to support that interest. Students should also consider potential future leadership opportunities in the extracurricular activities that they’re already involved in. Colleges want to admit leaders.

Junior Year: Because colleges and universities value leadership, students in their junior year should seek out as many leadership positions as possible. Students in leadership positions should work to expand the clubs and organizations under their guidance to show colleges the positive and lasting impact they made.

Senior Year: Students in their senior year should aim for high leadership positions within the clubs and organizations they’re involved in and establish initiatives that reflect what they’ve learned over the past four years.

There’s no such thing as a bad extracurricular activity; however, some are more impressive to colleges than others. The extracurricular activities that stand out the most are those that admissions officers see the least—the more successful or involved a student is in their chosen activity, the more it will resonate with college admissions officers. For example, acting is a stronger extracurricular activity for a college-bound student who had a role in a major movie compared to a student who had a role in a school play.

Tier 1 Extracurricular Activities

Tier 1 activities are rare and demonstrate exceptional achievement or leadership. The impressiveness of what a student has accomplished in their pursuit and the scarcity with which such activities are seen make them extremely impactful with admissions officers. Any number of activities can fall under Tier 1—it’s the success a student has had that influences the activity’s value to colleges.

Tier 1 activities can include athletic achievements, such as being a highly recruited basketball player or a nationally ranked tennis player. Likewise, national recognition for musical prowess such as winning a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award qualifies as a Tier 1 activity. Winning prestigious national academic awards, like first place at the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO), qualifying for the International Biology Competition (IBO) , or winning an Intel Award also qualify as Tier 1 activities.

Attendance at a distinguished summer program, such as the Anson L. Clark Scholars Program , also counts as a Tier 1 extracurricular activity. Self-driven activities can serve as Tier 1 activities as well—for example, writing a novel that gained national attention, or raising a substantial amount of money for a cause in a self-started fundraiser.

In some instances, volunteering will also qualify as a Tier 1 activity. Students who start regional or national organizations that receive news coverage often have the high-profile status desired by colleges. These kinds of volunteer efforts can range from collecting non-perishable foods for a community following a natural disaster to turning a love of soccer into an effort to build fields in underserved communities. That said, merely participating in a standard volunteer opportunity with no leadership role or major impact is typically classified as Tier 4 activity.

Tier 2 Extracurricular Activities

Tier 2 extracurriculars are endeavors that show high levels of achievement and leadership, and are impressive accomplishments to have in a student’s profile. The difference between Tier 2 and Tier 1 extracurricular activities is that Tier 2 activities are a little more common and therefore slightly less influential on college admissions.

Examples of Tier 2 activities include holding a leadership position, like president or chair, in a well-respected club such as the Model UN, debate team, or Science Olympiad. Holding a leadership position shows schools that a student is not only participating in a club, but is also demonstrating a deep commitment to it and helping guide it into the future.

Successes on the playing field and on the stage—for example, making an all-state selection in football, band, or orchestra—are also excellent examples of Tier 2 extracurricular activities. Similarly, winning a regional competition, such as a Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) would qualify as a Tier 2 activity.

Self-driven activities can also qualify as Tier 2 extracurriculars. These can include creating a short film that wins a regional competition, or being a finalist in prestigious national competitions such as the competition for National Youth Poet Laureate. Additionally, volunteer work that gains regional or statewide acclaim can serve as a Tier 2 activity—for instance, a student who made the news for creating an applauded program to welcome refugees into their community.

Tier 3 Extracurricular Activities

Tier 2 extracurricular activities demonstrate a student’s participation in pursuits outside of the classroom and help show colleges a more complete picture of the student—but they don’t have the same distinction as the undertakings found in the higher tiers.

Holding a minor leadership position in clubs like the Model UN, debate team, and Science Olympiad are good examples of Tier 3 extracurricular activities. Possessing a position such as treasurer or secretary in a club also qualifies as a Tier 3 activity. Even though these activities demonstrate leadership and show your potential for dedication to potential colleges, they’re less impactful and less impressive than holding a higher position, like president or captain.

Athletes who didn’t qualify for an all-state team, but who earned distinctions like a Player of the Week award can find their participation in sports in Tier 3. Similarly, musicians who didn’t qualify for an all-state band or orchestra, but who did get selected for a selective regional ensemble can count their musical pursuits as Tier 3 activities.

Self-driven activities with a small reach—such as getting groceries for an elderly neighbor or mentoring a younger student—are also commonly categorized into Tier 3.

Tier 4 Extracurricular Activities

Tier 4 extracurricular activities are the most common activities seen by college admissions officers. While these endeavors do not have the same impact on admissions officers as activities in the higher tiers, they’re still valuable for showing potential schools the individual behind your grades and application.

General membership in the aforementioned clubs (such as the Model UN, debate team, and Science Olympiad) are Tier 4 activities. Likewise, participation in sports—like being a member of the track team or taking karate for five years—is useful for highlighting a student’s pursuits outside the classroom. Another excellent example of a Tier 4 extracurricular activity would be playing in the marching band or learning piano outside of school.

General volunteerism is also a reliable Tier 4 activity. If you’ve been consistently volunteering at the food bank or senior center, this is the tier in which you’d find these activities.

Not sure what tiers your extracurricular activities fall into? Interested in how your activities outside of the classroom influence your odds of college admission? CollegeVine can help. Our free chancing engine uses a number of metrics—including extracurricular activities—to estimate your odds at more than 1,600 colleges. You can even use the chancing engine to test the effect that having a higher-tiered extracurricular activity has on your chances of college acceptance—like if an activity was Tier 2, rather than Tier 3.

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How to Showcase Extracurricular Activities In Your College Applications

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In the following article, CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert Julian Zambrano (University of Pennsylvania ‘23) shares tips for how to approach extracurricular activities in relation to the college admissions process. For more guidance on extracurriculars, the common app, and the college application process in general, sign up for a monthly plan to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.

The college admissions process is daunting. Throughout high school, students work to fill their resumes with amazing extracurricular activities in order to improve their chances of admission into top universities. When it comes to extracurriculars, there isn’t a clear cut formula that will get you into college. You can objectively say that a 1520 on the SAT is better than a 1300, but how can you compare volunteering at a soup kitchen to participating in boy scouts or starting a small business?

Throughout my own experience with the college admissions process and working as an advisor for CollegeAdvisor.com , I’ve learned a lot about how you can use your extracurricular activities in order to set your applications apart. I hope that my story can help you as you create your own narrative around your extracurriculars.

My Interview for Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania

When I got the call to interview for Wharton, I was ecstatic. I went to meet my interviewer in person in New York City.

“Holy cow! You do a lot of community service,” he exclaimed as he looked over my resume. We shared a laugh.

After a few moments, he looked up at me. He said, “Now, you have a lot of amazing things on this resume. But I know I did a lot of baloney in high school just to get into Penn… so I’m going to ask you, what things on this resume have you done just to get into college?”

I was slightly taken aback by this question. I never saw myself doing these things to get into Wharton. Instead, I had only done activities that I genuinely enjoyed.

Some general advice – as you prepare for college applications, it can be tempting to select extracurriculars based on what you think might improve your admissions chances. However, don’t choose activities for how they will look on your resume — instead, find extracurriculars that mean something to you.

Sports and the CommonApp Essay

At the beginning of high school, football was a major component of my life. I spent much of my time improving my skills, developing bonds with my teammates, and monitoring my physical health. I learned valuable lessons about perseverance, which translated into my school work and other extracurricular activities.

Unfortunately, I injured my back the summer before my senior year, which prevented me from participating in my final season. Until this point, my life had revolved around football. Leaving it behind was alarming to say the least. However, my injury gave me the opportunity to explore my other interests.

In my CommonApp essay, I wrote about coming to terms with the fact that I would not be able to play football my senior year. Throughout high school, football had taught me many valuable lessons. However, my injury taught me an important lesson as well — that I am not defined by one thing. Your CommonApp essay can be a great opportunity for you to showcase your extracurricular interests and reveal how you have grown as a person, teammate, and leader throughout your participation in those activities.

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Music and the Supplementary Essay

Before I began playing football, I found solace in playing the guitar and participating in various music organizations. I played at many exciting venues, including one gig on the same stage as Bruce Springsteen. I also composed and performed my own work.

Once I got to high school, however, I shifted away from public performance. During my recovery from my back injury, I decided to start recording my original compositions for the first time. Most colleges allow (and encourage) applicants with interest in the arts to submit artistic supplements along with their CommonApp submission. I took this opportunity to showcase my musical talent by submitting recordings of my compositions.

Some students worry that their art submissions won’t be taken seriously if they’ve never had formal training or if they never participated in organized, institutional programs. However, my introduction to the guitar was rather unconventional. In fact, I never learned how to read music, as I could decipher songs just by hearing them. When I first started, I noticed various patterns in the fingerings for different modes and scales. Over time, I began to develop a geometric understanding of music theory for guitar.

By explaining my atypical relationship with music in one of my supplementary essays, I was able to express both my artistic creativity and my critical thinking skills. Admissions officers are looking for students that can think outside the box. If one of your extracurricular experiences helped you think in an unconventional way, highlight it. These experiences can greatly strengthen your application.

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Community Service, Volunteering, and Work

Through local parishes, I volunteered regularly at the Samaritan Center, which distributes food, clothes, toys, and other household items to less fortunate families. I spent my Saturday mornings filling bags for clients, stocking shelves, processing the trash, organizing the back rooms, and bringing supplies to local churches. Seeing frequent patrons, including some that I knew personally, made me more grateful for my circumstances. My work at the Samaritan Center made me realize that small organizations can make a huge difference for many families.

Volunteering at the Samaritan Center granted me valuable experience and gave me a greater perspective of the financial struggles that many people face. Additionally, being able to see how my contributions actively helped my community taught me that even small actions can go a long way.

If you have the time and resources, I highly recommend getting involved in community service throughout high school. Not only will it help you broaden your appreciation for your community, but it will also help college admissions officers gain a better understanding of how you help serve the communities that you are a part of.

That being said, not all students have the ability to volunteer, as they may be working part-time jobs or taking care of family in addition to school. These commitments are also important to showcase on the CommonApp application, as they also demonstrate to admissions officers your impact on your community.

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Applying this Advice

The college admissions process can be daunting. As you develop your interests and begin your applications, keep in mind these three things:

  • Everyone’s extracurricular experiences are going to be drastically different, so don’t compare your resume to someone else’s.
  • On your application, express why your activities are meaningful to you, what you learned from them, and how they shaped you as a person.
  • And, most importantly: DON’T do activities that you have no interest in. Colleges can see right through resume builders.

This informational essay was written by Julian Zambrano, University of Pennsylvania ‘23. If you want to get help writing your Penn application essays from Julian or other CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Experts , register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.

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College applications are becoming increasingly more competitive so it’s important to start thinking about college early in your high school career. Extracurricular activities are an important factor for your college applications, especially as you brainstorm ways to stand out to colleges. 

This is because extracurriculars and clubs help demonstrate your passions, interests, values, and personality to college admissions committees. College essays and extracurricular activities also help personalize the admissions process, especially at highly-selective institutions. If you’re wondering what clubs look good on college applications or how many extracurriculars for college, read on!

Start thinking about your college applications now. Plan ahead by considering what extracurricular activities look good on college applications. Discuss opportunities with your high school guidance counselor, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with college applications. You may even consider hiring a college counselor , especially since college acceptance rates for the class of 2026 have decreased significantly. 

In this article, we will discuss tips for college applications, as well as some of the best extracurriculars for college applications. Learn more about how to stand out to colleges and put together a competitive college application!

Academic clubs

Joining academic clubs is a great way to enrich your high school career while actively preparing for college. Through your involvement with these high school clubs, you will gain opportunities to make meaningful friendships and forge productive, working relationships with your academic advisors. 

It is important to foster meaningful connections with teachers early in your high school career who will be able to write thorough and thoughtful college recommendation letters during your senior year of high school . This is an important tip for college applications, especially as you consider how to stand out on college applications.

Consider joining one (if not several) of the following clubs in order to pursue personal interests, develop your passions, and impress college admissions committees as you start thinking about your college applications. Check in with your teachers and high school counselor about extracurricular activities offered through your school. 

The following gallery includes some of the best extracurriculars for college applications. Use this to start brainstorming about what clubs are good for college. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Art, music, and performance

Colleges want to admit passionate students who invest in their dreams. For many students, the arts play an important role in their lives outside of academics. Students with significant performance experience exhibit confidence and professionalism, and are often skilled at public speaking.

College admissions committees want to admit diverse, vibrant student bodies. If you are wondering what are good extracurriculars for college applications, involvement in the arts is an important factor for many colleges. 

Many schools recruit talented student performers with the expectation that students will continue their artistic and musical involvement during their college careers. Vocalists, instrumentalists, actors, poets, and visual artists can offer a lot to their future college communities in terms of cultural enrichment.

The following list includes creative extracurricular activities suitable for artists, musicians, writers, and actors. Use this list to gain inspiration and start brainstorming ways to actively prepare for your college applications and learn how to stand out to colleges. 

  • Concert band
  • Marching band
  • Solo music projects
  • Music lessons
  • Musical theater
  • Art lessons
  • Theater set design
  • School radio
  • Slam poetry

Leadership opportunities

College admissions officers want to admit students who are serious about their personal and academic goals and are able to take the initiative. This is why it is important to showcase your leadership skills in your college applications, especially as you start thinking about what makes you stand out to colleges as you move forward with your college applications.

College applications can be incredibly competitive, especially if you are interested in attending an elite institution such as an

Ivy League college . Leadership positions and opportunities are a great way to demonstrate your passion, commitment, and dedication while helping you learn how to stand out to ivy league colleges.

There are lots of leadership opportunities to pursue in high school. Some high school clubs naturally foster leadership abilities through the nature of the club. This is often the case with extracurriculars and clubs involving student government, mock trials, model congress, or other related activities. 

Another way to pursue leadership opportunities is by acting as an executive officer for a high school club. These roles often include acting as the president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer.

There are countless ways to demonstrate your leadership abilities. The list to the right includes some of the best extracurriculars for college that will help you gain leadership experience as you continue to prepare for your college career. 

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Athletic participation

Many prestigious schools recruit talented student-athletes; this is especially the case for Ivy League schools. Being recruited is an important aspiration for many high school athletes. This is not the only way, however, that athletic participation can enhance your college application. 

Participation in sports can highlight important values such as hard work, determination, teamwork, and a desire for excellence. Athletic coaches can be valuable resources for students as well, especially when considering who to ask for personalized college recommendations.

There are countless ways to participate in athletics during high school. As is the case with all extracurriculars and clubs, continued involvement throughout your high school career will help demonstrate commitment, passion, and responsibility. 

The following list includes popular athletic extracurricular activities. Learn valuable life skills about teamwork, hard work, and communication by joining a team!

  • Cheerleading
  • Track and field
  • Martial arts

Volunteer opportunities

There are countless ways to invest in your community by pursuing various volunteer opportunities. Giving back to your community is an important way to demonstrate passion and initiative. Volunteer opportunities can also grant your college application a competitive edge, especially as you consider how to stand out to ivy league colleges. 

Working with professionals and organizations in your community can be an important opportunity for personal, academic, and professional growth. These opportunities could also result in meaningful college recommendation letters, as well as potential employment or internships.

Demonstrate your passion and commitment by including various volunteer opportunities on your college applications. The examples to the right will give you some good ideas to get started!

extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

Work experience and internships

Internships and part-time and/or summer jobs can help you stand out to colleges on your college applications. These opportunities will help demonstrate personal initiative, responsibility, maturity, and commitment. Jobs and internships can also help expose you to potential career options, as well as present you with valuable networking opportunities, as you transition into college and start thinking more seriously about your potential career. This is an important tip for college applications. 

The possibilities for employment and internships are endless. Do your research and see what’s available in your area. Reach out to teachers, your high school guidance counselor, coaches, mentors, and other professionals in your life to find out more about opportunities that may be available to you in order to help with college applications and learn how to stand out to colleges. 

Consider pursuing an internship at a library, museum, education center, hospital, publication, or research center. There may be opportunities for one-on-one mentorships available to you as well, whether you are interested in the arts, sciences, finances, media, or more. 

Key takeaways and moving forward

Academics, class ranking, college essays, and SAT scores are all important college admissions factors. Extracurricular activities and clubs, however, are equally important. This is why it is important to be involved in your community through your involvement in academic clubs, the arts, athletics, leadership opportunities, volunteer opportunities, internships, and work experience. 

College admissions officers appreciate students who commit to clubs, teams, and extracurricular activities all four years of high school. This is because continued involvement shows passion, commitment, and responsibility. When thinking about how many extracurriculars for college, focus instead on how to best contribute meaningfully to a few extracurricular activities. This is among the top tips for filling out college applications.

College essays and extracurricular activities are important ways to share personal details on the Common App. It’s important to use every opportunity available to you to personalize your college applications and give admissions committees a reason to want to admit you to their college. This is especially true today, as applications become increasingly more competitive.

As you continue your high school career, make goals for yourself and seek out additional college planning resources to help with college applications. If you feel like you could benefit from professional, individualized assistance, reach out to learn more about our services .

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Over 50 extracurricular activities that look good on college applications

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10 Extracurricular Activities That Will Look Great on Your College Applications

Introduction to extracurricular activities.

If you're getting ready to apply to college, I bet you have quite a few things on your mind right now.

Generally, schoolwork and grades, standardized test scores , and essays tend to steal the show in the college app process.

However, another crucial part of the college application process that students often overlook is the importance of having meaningful extracurricular activities.  

While some may argue that certain aspects of your application are more important than others depending on the level of competitiveness for the schools you are applying to, it's still crucial to ensure that you are getting involved in meaningful extracurricular activities .

If you're completely unsure of where to begin with extracurriculars, fear not!

By the end of this post, you will be completely in the know about some great extracurricular activities you can enjoy that will ALSO look awesome on your college applications. 

10 Awesome Extracurricular Activities 

Joining a sports team is a great way to develop the teamwork skills that many schools look for in strong applicants.

Common sports programs at most high schools include track, basketball, hockey, volleyball, tennis, football, soccer, baseball, and softball.

Dance, cycling, climbing, swimming, martial arts, fencing, and hiking are just a few of the less common sports out there for you to get involved in beyond what your school offers.

Also, not all sports are team-based, which is okay too!

2. Volunteering

Whether it is through a club at your school or through a different organization within your community, volunteering is truly a “double-whammy” - you have the opportunity to meet and interact with new people while contributing to a cause that you care about.

Many schools offer community service clubs that are intertwined in the events of the surrounding district, which make it easy to get involved.

If you're looking for something outside of school, you could even look into joining an organization such as Habitat for Humanity . If you can’t find a volunteering club that you're interested in but you know that there is a need for help in that area, consider starting it up yourself! 

3. Part-Time Jobs or Internships

A part-time job can be a beneficial way to gain real-world skills such as accountability, customer service, and how to work well under pressure.

The possibilities for part-time jobs will certainly vary depending on where you live, but a few common part-time jobs for high school students include babysitting, working at a restaurant, or working at a store in your area. 

If you already have an idea of what you want to major in once you get onto campus, a great way to show your passion and commitment to that area is to try to seek out part-time employment opportunities that align with your intended field.

Take me for example.

I knew that I wanted to go into marketing and business when I applied for college. 

So, if I was smarter in my high school days, I would have looked into seeing if any local businesses or organizations needed help with their marketing efforts. Not only would this have been solid exposure to my desired field early on, but it would have shown admissions officers that I was the real deal. 

(For anyone wondering, I worked at a flower shop when I was in high school. Not exactly screaming "BUSINESS!" there!)

4. Performing/Arts  

Ignite your creative side by joining an arts-related club! Activities within performing/arts can include anything from drama to slam poetry to photography and film to dance.

Even if your school does not have a theater department, it is still possible that there are other clubs or schools around your community that have one, and can allow you to get more involved. 

5. Student Government/Student Council

Student government is one of the most popular ways to not only get more involved in your school but to also gain some great leadership and teamwork experience.

Say you're hoping to study finance or a related field in college. In that case, running for a treasurer position where you can manage the school’s budget and keep track of expenses would be a great way to gain some experience and responsibility working in your area of interest before stepping on campus.

6. Social Activism

If you're passionate about seeking change within a certain issue in our society, whether that issue is racial equality, animal rights, or helping the environment, then joining a social activist club might be a great choice for you.

A few of the many popular activism-based clubs that have a presence around the globe include Amnesty International , Human Rights Campaign , and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

In addition to joining clubs that align with your activist interests, you can also consider taking the initiative within your community to start something new. Maybe you organize a peaceful protest in your area to argue against an unfair law, or you host a county-wide fundraiser to raise money for a charity that is close to your heart. 

Maybe you love to sing, play the guitar, or just get together with friends and talk about music.

Whatever it may be, there are many different ways to turn an interest in music into a dedicated extracurricular activity. You can join your school (or your community) chorus group, orchestra, or jazz band; other possibilities range from forming a band with some classmates or friends or even making up your own club to educate your fellow peers on the ins and outs of your favorite genre. 

Even if it's not in a group setting (like being in a band), remember that the time you spend towards learning or practicing an instrument is still an extracurricular activity!

8. Media/Technology

There are many options for you to get involved in both in and out of school if you enjoy an activity such as writing, graphic design, website-making, photography, or working with TV/radio.

You could join the school newspaper to gain experience interviewing fellow students and faculty and writing about important or relevant topics.

Consider getting involved in your school or local radio station, or working part-time for a local business in need of help with expanding their online presence if you are more passionate about the digital/technology side of the spectrum.

9. Debate and Political Interest

Clubs within this area are a great way to gain crucial experience with interpersonal communication and leadership while also learning more about a wide variety of topics.

Model UN , DECA , Debate Club, and Mock Trial are a few of the clubs that schools commonly offer, although there are many more options to explore!

10. Academic Competition

Academic Competition is a very broad area of interest, but some specific examples of clubs you can get involved in are science fairs, math leagues, spelling bees, or even robotics competitions.

The range of opportunities might vary depending on what your school and local community offer. However, any club within this realm is sure to teach you more of what you are interested in, challenge your creativity, and put your competitive skills to the test! 

Concluding Thoughts 

Colleges want to see that you have excelled both inside and outside of the classroom and that you possess the necessary skills and strengths to bring a fresh perspective and strong contributions to the campus.

Ultimately, two BIG bonuses of being involved in extracurriculars (other that they can help you look good to college admissions officers) are:

  • They're a great way to discover new passions and interests while getting more involved in your surrounding community
  • Over time, you'll develop skills (teamwork, independence, confidence, time management) that are necessary to succeed once you’ve made it on campus.

Ultimately, any extracurriculars you choose to participate in should be ones that you're prepared to commit to. A strong level of commitment will show admissions officers that you're focused, dedicated, and set on accomplishing the goals you set for yourself.

So, with that, I'll leave the rest to you. Head out there and get involved in something you're passionate about - you won't regret it!

Home — Application Essay — Scholarship — My Journey to Deserve the Describe Yourself Scholarship

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My Journey to Deserve the Describe Yourself Scholarship

  • University: University of Southern California

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Words: 675 |

Published: Feb 15, 2024

Words: 675 | Pages: 1 | 4 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, extracurricular activities, community service, intercultural understanding, career aspirations.

I am writing to apply for the Describe Yourself Scholarship, as a college student who believes in the power of self-expression and the importance of individuality. In this essay, I will share my personal journey, highlighting my unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations that make me a deserving candidate for this scholarship.

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From an early age, I have always been curious about the world and eager to explore its vast dimensions. Growing up, I developed a fascination for literature, art, and culture, which ignited the flame of my creativity and shaped my identity. Through reading and writing, I discovered the transformative power of words and their ability to inspire, educate, and connect people from diverse backgrounds. This passion for language and storytelling has driven my academic pursuits throughout my college journey, where I am currently majoring in English Literature.

As a student, I have striven to find my voice and make a meaningful impact on campus. I actively engage in extracurricular activities, taking leadership roles in various clubs and organizations. One of my proudest achievements was establishing a creative writing club, where students could come together to share their stories, poems, and ideas. Through this initiative, I aimed to create a safe space for fellow writers to express themselves freely, fostering a sense of community and empowerment. Witnessing the growth and development of my peers within this club has been immensely rewarding and has further fueled my commitment to fostering creativity and self-expression in others.

Outside of my academic pursuits, I have also been involved in community service initiatives that have allowed me to give back to society. Last summer, I volunteered at a local literacy program, where I helped teach underprivileged children to read and write. Witnessing the impact that education can have on these young minds, and the joy that comes from learning, solidified my belief in the transformative power of knowledge. This experience deepened my commitment to using my own education and talents to make a positive difference in the world.

In addition to my academic and extracurricular endeavors, I have had the privilege of traveling to various countries, immersing myself in different cultures and perspectives. These experiences have broadened my horizons and shaped my understanding of the world. They have taught me the value of embracing diversity and appreciating the beauty in every individual's unique story. Through these encounters, I have developed an unwavering passion for promoting intercultural dialogue and fostering global understanding.

Looking ahead, I am determined to pursue a career that combines my love for language and culture with my desire to make a difference. My dream is to become an international journalist, using my skills to shed light on the stories of marginalized communities, amplifying their voices, and fostering empathy among global audiences. With the power of words, I hope to challenge stereotypes, bridge cultural divides, and inspire positive social change.

I believe that being awarded the Describe Yourself Scholarship would not only provide me with the financial support I need to pursue my academic and career goals but also serve as a recognition of my unique abilities and potential. This scholarship would enable me to continue my education without the financial burden and open doors to opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. It would not only be an investment in my future but also an investment in the power of self-expression and the importance of embracing individuality.

In conclusion, my journey as a college student has been shaped by my love for literature, my commitment to empowering others, and my dedication to fostering intercultural understanding. Through my academic pursuits, extracurricular endeavors, and community service initiatives, I have developed a deep appreciation for the power of self-expression and a desire to make a positive impact on the world. With the Describe Yourself Scholarship, I will have the opportunity to continue my education, pursue my dreams, and contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Keep in mind: This is only a sample.

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Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss how I can contribute to the mission and vision of this scholarship.

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extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications


  1. Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

  2. Extracurricular Activities & Essay Example

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

  3. how to write a college application essay

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

  4. Extracurricular Activities for College Students

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

  5. Extracurricular activities

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications

  6. FREE 11+ College Essay Samples in MS Word

    extracurricular activities essay examples for college applications


  1. Undergraduate Application: Essay Writing Workshop Part 3 out of 3

  2. Tips from former College Lead student Sonal Aggarwal (accepted to UCLA, Cornell, NYU & more)

  3. Undergraduate Application: Essay Writing Workshop Part 1 out of 3

  4. Y’all NEED to start writing college essays that actually make sense and have a clear theme ‼️ We’ll

  5. Importance of EXTRACURRICULAR activities || YOU NEED KNOW IT || #youtube #important #extracurricular

  6. (Webinar) 7 Ways to Improve Your College Essays and Application (10.13.2022)


  1. 3 Successful Extracurricular Activity Essay Examples

    Essay Example #1 My fingers raced across the keys, rapidly striking one after another. My body swayed with the music as my hands raced across the piano. Crashing onto the final chord, it was over as quickly as it had begun. My shoulders relaxed and I couldn't help but break into a satisfied grin.

  2. Amazing Extracurricular Activity Examples for College Applications

    Amazing Extracurricular Activity Examples for College Applications Posted by Christine Sarikas Extracurriculars Extracurriculars are a great way to participate in an activity you enjoy and meet new people, and they can also be an important part of your college application. What makes an extracurricular activity particularly impressive to colleges?

  3. Extracurricular Activity Examples

    80+ Real Examples for Writing Your Extracurricular Activity List I happen to think the activities list is one of the most underutilized spaces on the college application. Why? I think your activities list can make the difference in your application. Want proof? Compare these two: Art Created art pieces and organized school club

  4. How to Write About Extracurriculars on College Applications

    Posted by Mary Ann Barge College Admissions One of the trickiest parts of the Common App is understanding how to make the most of the extracurricular activity section. You might have a ton of activities—or not very many—and be wondering how you should write about your activities to impress college admissions readers.

  5. Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples

    Stanford University Rice University Bryn Mawr College Northwestern University Vanderbilt University University of Florida Princeton University We'll talk about what you can learn from each of our extracurricular activities essay examples. We will also explain how they contribute to each student's application narrative.

  6. How to Write a Great Extracurricular Activity Essay 2023

    Extracurricular Activity Essay Example: The Catalyzing Creativity Club Extracurricular Activity Essay Example: Earthquakes A Step-by-Step Guide to Brainstorming and Writing a Narrative (Challenges-Based) Extracurricular Essay The Montage Approach (via The Uncommon Connections Exercise)

  7. How to Write a Successful Common App Activities List in 2022

    It's great for developing better content for your activities list. Instructions: Spend 5-8 minutes filling out a BEABIES chart per activity on your list to generate plenty of content for your activities list descriptions. Use the 25 questions below the chart for ideas.

  8. How to Write About Extracurriculars on the Common App

    In order to write effectively about extracurriculars, the first step is selecting extracurriculars that will present the best image of yourself to colleges. While it may be tempting to put down as many extracurriculars as you can think of, or list activities that you think will sound very impressive even if you weren't very heavily involved ...

  9. The College Extracurricular Activity Essay

    Mark Montgomery July 25, 2023 How will you write your college extracurricular activity essay? The Common Application used to ask you to "elaborate" on one of your extracurricular activities in 150 words. Now this essay is not quite as common. At least it is no long required on the Common App.

  10. How to Write the Harvard Extracurricular Activities Essay

    Choose an activity that is important to you, but avoid discussing something that you've already talked about in detail elsewhere in your application. Try to weave in a personal anecdote, but avoid using gimmicks or unnecessary fluff in your response. Example Answer Let's look at an example answer to this prompt.

  11. How to write the 'Extracurricular Activity' essay

    January 4, 2024 | In Applying | By Mike How to write the "Extracurricular Activity" College Essay Bonus Material: Examples of real supplemental essays that worked for schools like Princeton and Yale

  12. How to Write a Strong Extracurricular Activity Essay

    4. Unique Experiences. Consider highlighting an extracurricular activity that stands out from the crowd. While popular activities like sports or clubs can still make for compelling essays, choosing a less common or unconventional activity can help your essay stand out and capture the reader's attention.

  13. Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions: The Ultimate Guide

    It can include arts (e.g., painting), sports (e.g., baseball), clubs (e.g., Science Quiz Bowl), jobs (e.g., working at a bowling alley), service (e.g., volunteering at an animal shelter), personal commitments (e.g., caring for a younger sibling), and other endeavors. ---- Part 1: Introduction The current state of elite college admissions

  14. Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples

    Extracurricular activities are a critical component of your college application, and you need to impress colleges with your interests. But you might not know what good extracurricular activities look like or what you should be spending your time on. We've got you covered here in our guide of hundreds of examples of extracurricular activities.

  15. The 7 Best Extracurriculars for College Apps

    5. Artistic and Creative Pursuits. Artistic and creative pursuits like painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic design, fashion design, theater, music, and dance can emphasize your ability to think and create in visionary ways. As a result, colleges love seeing these activities on prospective students' applications.

  16. Breaking Down the 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities

    How about taking care of your sibling? What about volunteering at your local library? As a general rule, anything you do routinely outside of the classroom—and not for academic credit—counts as an extracurricular. These activities should have value for you and should have a significant impact on your development.

  17. How to Showcase Extracurricular Activities In Your College Applications

    Sports and the CommonApp Essay At the beginning of high school, football was a major component of my life. I spent much of my time improving my skills, developing bonds with my teammates, and monitoring my physical health. I learned valuable lessons about perseverance, which translated into my school work and other extracurricular activities.

  18. What Are The Best Extracurricular Activities For College Applications

    advisor Education Advertiser Disclosure Get Accepted: The Best Extracurricular Activities For College Applications Horacio Sierra, Ph.D. Contributor Reviewed By Brenna Swanston editor...

  19. Over 50 extracurricular activities that look good on college applications

    The following list includes creative extracurricular activities suitable for artists, musicians, writers, and actors. Use this list to gain inspiration and start brainstorming ways to actively prepare for your college applications and learn how to stand out to colleges. Concert band. Jazz band. Marching band.

  20. The Best Extracurricular Activities for College Applications

    Whether you love music, public speaking, or a passion for community service, these activities can showcase your commitment and dedication. Moreover, extracurricular activities can help you develop essential skills valued in college and beyond. Leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills are just a few examples of the ...

  21. Get Accepted: What Looks Good On College Applications?

    College application rates are soaring, with 2023 seeing 21% more applications than 2019, according to Common App. ... Strong Extracurricular Activities. ... A Unique, Well-Written College Essay.

  22. Stand Out In College Applications: Maximizing Your Extracurricular

    Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in college applications, allowing students to showcase their unique talents, skills, and interests beyond their academic achievements. Admissions officers are seeking well-rounded individuals who have demonstrated deep commitment, leadership, and personal growth through their extracurricular pursuits.

  23. 10 Extracurricular Activities that Look Great on College Applications

    1. Sports Joining a sports team is a great way to develop the teamwork skills that many schools look for in strong applicants. Common sports programs at most high schools include track, basketball, hockey, volleyball, tennis, football, soccer, baseball, and softball.

  24. My Journey to Harris College [Admission Essay Example]

    Read an admission essay sample, "My Journey to Harris College", with 706 words. Get ideas for your college application essay. search. ... Home — Application Essay ... my tenure in high school, I actively pursued a well-rounded education, balancing both rigorous academics and a range of extracurricular activities. I consistently ranked amongst ...

  25. A Journey Towards Academic Excellence [Admission Essay Example]

    The Game of Revelations: College Admission Essay Sample Essay. I walked past a building labeled "prayer room" and knew I did not fit in. A Buddhist boy playing basketball in a Christian basketball league, I found myself walking through a parochial school on a Saturday in search of a gym.

  26. Why a College Should Accept Me [Admission Essay Example]

    Read an admission essay sample, "Why a College Should Accept Me", with 651 words. Get ideas for your college application essay. ... Home — Application Essay ... I have actively engaged in numerous leadership and extracurricular activities throughout my high school years. I firmly believe that true education encompasses more than just ...

  27. My Journey to Deserve the Describe Yourself Scholarship

    Read an admission essay sample, "My Journey to Deserve the Describe Yourself Scholarship", with 675 words. Get ideas for your college application essay. search. Essay Samples. Arts & Culture; Business; Economics; Education; Entertainment; ... Extracurricular Activities. As a student, I have striven to find my voice and make a meaningful impact ...