No Extracurriculars for College? Follow These Steps

September 11, 2023

no extracurricular activities for college application

You’ve toured the college campuses, aced your exams, and are finally nearing the end of your high school career. The only major thing left to do is apply for colleges. As you ready your application, however, you notice a lack of extracurriculars. You’ve heard that extracurricular activities for college applications are essential, and now you’re starting to worry. Maybe you can think of something quick. Extracurricular activities meaning you’re a collector? A musician? Extracurricular activities meaning your hobbies can count?

In this article, we’ll provide some extracurricular activity examples and answer the question: Why are extracurricular activities important? As well, we will review the importance of getting involved and offer suggestions for how to get started. You may actually be more involved than you realize.

Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important?

Extracurricular activities for college applications tell an admissions board who you are beyond your transcript. How you choose to spend your time reveals what you find important and worth pursuing. Plus, extracurricular activities might help a college better understand how you’ll fit on campus. Essentially, extracurriculars show your interests beyond academic work.

In addition, extracurriculars can positively affect your personal growth. For example, spending your time learning a new skill is beneficial not only for your intellectual development but also for gauging what is meaningful to you. By participating in a variety of activities, you can learn new qualities about yourself and discover your passions.

So, why are extracurricular activities important? In short, they help to reveal your character and your interests. Also, they make you a more well-rounded person!

Extracurricular Activities for College Applications – Extracurricular Activities Meaning

One common misconception about extracurriculars is that they have to be related to or sponsored by your school. In truth, an extracurricular can be any activity not related to coursework that you spend time doing. So, for example, completing an essay or a school-assigned project would not be considered extracurricular, even though you may complete this task outside of school.

However, extracurriculars can also be related to school-sponsored clubs and organizations. Some extracurricular activity examples relating to this category would be activities like sports, student council, or scouting troops. Plus, leadership positions in any club are also a good way to bolster your application with a competitive edge.

Ideally, the extracurricular of your choice is something you are excited for and enjoy doing. And, the good news is that you don’t have to be “good” at your activity of choice. At least, not right away. Learning new skills is part of the fun of trying something new.

No Extracurriculars for College (Continued)

Yet, you’re thinking: none of those school-sponsored activities apply to me. Don’t worry! When looking at extracurricular activities for college applications, you can consider a few different routes to take. Plus, you can get started at any time. It’s not too late to try a new activity. Who knows? You might just discover your new passion!

If it’s helpful, think about extracurricular activities meaning anything you complete outside of required projects and homework for your classes.

Extracurricular Activity Examples

Below are some extracurricular activity examples that don’t relate to coursework or school. When thinking about why are extracurricular activities important, you should consider how they can help inspire new interests and passions. You might even do some of these activities already and just haven’t realized they count as extracurriculars!


Maybe you’re passionate about a cause that affects your community. Getting involved to support an important cause is a great way to spend your time. Plus, volunteering allows you to meet community members and explore new areas of your city. You can create meaningful relationships while also working to make a difference.

Additionally, you can also combine your interests while you volunteer. For example, if you’re interested in studying literature and are passionate about increasing literacy, you can host a book drive or volunteer to read for a children’s program. That way, your activity corresponds to an interest you already have, and you will likely be more motivated to begin.

If you’re looking to volunteer but aren’t sure where to start, then you should check out VolunteerMatch. This site shows you local organizations in your area related to specific categories, like animals, healthcare, or technology. You can research a few organizations that interest you and then pick the best fit.

When thinking why are extracurricular activities important, they can also be good for helping to establish you in your community.

Jobs and Internships

Another misconception about extracurriculars is that you can’t use work experience as an example. But remember, any activity you do outside of school counts as extracurricular! Plus, any job experience is likely to have taught you valuable skills you can apply toward your future career goals. Traits like responsibility, time management, and interpersonal communication are learned from any job experience. Those qualities are likely to make you a more sought-after candidate on any application. Remember, extracurricular activities meaning work experience are perfectly acceptable on a resume.

As well, any internship experience can also be beneficial. You can find an internship, even as a high schooler. Internships may be more specifically related to your future career goals. Having the opportunity to study a specialized area of interest can prepare you with the exact skillset you’ll further develop in school. When compiling extracurricular activities for college applications, an internship will certainly give your application a boost.

Summer Programs

Maybe you aren’t as heavily involved in school, but you spend your summers as a camp counselor. As well, perhaps you spend your summers getting involved in locally offered programs. There are a variety of summer camps for students with any interest. These programs are great because they allow you to develop a particular skillset while also meeting new friends.

Finding a summer program for teens can be the perfect solution for you. With so many offerings across the country, you’ll be sure to find a program that interests you. Between categories like business, cultural immersion, and even outdoor adventure, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Creating Your Own Extracurriculars

If your school doesn’t offer a specific activity or club you’re looking for, then you may be able to start your own. Plus, your new club doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with school. You can recruit a group of friends to go on excursions, take classes, and travel together. Broadening your horizons with people who share similar interests is a great way to spend your time. Additionally, you can use these experiences when assembling extracurricular activities for college applications.

However, you can also take on new extracurriculars through individual activities. Extracurricular activities meaning your own independent projects are also acceptable examples to add on a college application.

A few extracurricular activity examples you can do on an individual basis are: learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or training for a 5k. While you may think that extracurriculars only “count” when they involve other people, that’s not the case. There are plenty of meaningful experiences you can take on by yourself.

Extracurricular Activities for College Applications – Continued

At this point, you may be wondering, how many extracurriculars do I need? While a lot of varied activities are sure to make your application stand out, even having one or two specific activities is better than nothing. Essentially, colleges look for applicants who are deeply engaged in what they do. Colleges want students who are dedicated to bettering themselves and commit fully to pursuing their interests.

Plus, it’s always helpful when the extracurricular activities align with your future career goals. For example, if you know you want to major in music education, taking on a leadership position as a band major would be a great extracurricular. If you want to study English literature, then creating a book club with your friends would be a great representation of your interests.

If you’re new to high school and planning out your extracurricular pathway, then you can check out the best extracurricular activities for college. Starting your extracurriculars early in your high school career is always the best-case scenario.

However, there is still time to start something new, even if you’re a senior. As we’ve mentioned, having at least one extracurricular that you’re passionate about is likely to help on any future college applications.

It’s also helpful to note that you do not have to stick with any activity or extracurricular that you do not enjoy. Likewise, if you’re just starting as a freshman or sophomore, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to take on ten activities at once. In an effort to appear more well-rounded, you may actually be overwhelming yourself. If what you try doesn’t hold your interest, then you should move onto the next activity. There are plenty of options to choose from!

Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important? – In Conclusion

When assembling extracurricular activities for college applications, you may feel that you haven’t done “enough.” However, it’s necessary to remember that colleges are really looking for students who positively and consistently engage with what they enjoy doing. So, even if you can only think of one or two extracurriculars, then you’re still in solid shape. Plus, this article has helped provide extracurricular activity examples to help you get started.

Essentially, colleges look for students who are motivated to get involved. If a student is taking on extracurriculars in high school, then they are more likely to become engaged in campus life once they get to college.

Plus, getting involved is good for your own personal development. Not only are you able to develop the necessary skills for your future career goals and college major, but also you can connect with other like-minded people. Besides, learning a new skill or trade is likely to help you succeed in any life path you end up choosing.