Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (2023)

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (1)

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!

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (2)

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.

(Video) Top 5 At-home Extracurricular Activities for College Applications

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.

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Step 4: Join Some Activities

The next step is to start doing activities! But how many should you do? If you are a freshman, I would recommend trying out a bunch of different activities--up to ten if there are that many you have an interest in. The idea at this stage is to sample a variety of extracurriculars. Once you start to get an idea of which activities are going to really help you develop the interests you are most passionate about, you can dedicate more time to those and drop the others.

Step 5: Narrow Down Your Extracurriculars

If you are a sophomore, junior, or senior, you should hopefully already have an idea of the kinds of activities that you want to focus on. Make a list of the top five activities that interest you. If you have the time to try out all five, go for it. This will give you a bit of time to experiment and see what's most of interest. If you don't have time, try to narrow down your top five to three activities.

Step 6: Increase Your Impact in a Few Activities

Remember to not spread yourself too thin, especially if you are above freshman year. It's more important to spend significant time in each activity than it is to have a long list of activities. Choose activities that will allow you to make a meaningful impact, either in your own development, or in the community.

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (4)

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.

Academic

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.

Clubs

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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
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Science Bowl
  • Science Olympiad
  • Other Trivia and Quiz Competition Teams

Art

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

  • Animation
  • Anime/Manga Club
  • Art Club
  • Art: drawing, painting
  • Blacksmithing
  • Cartooning
  • Ceramics
  • Drama Club
  • Fashion design
  • Graphic Design
  • Jewelry Making
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Sewing
  • High School Theater Program
  • Community Theater Program
  • Video Game Development Club
  • Weaving
  • Woodworking

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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
  • Latin Club
  • Pacific Islanders Club
  • Russian Club
  • South Asian Student Society
  • Spanish Club

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Community

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

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (8)

Government

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!

(Video) HOW I GOT INTO HARVARD + 5 other Ivies, MIT, Caltech, & more | EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES + ADVICE

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

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Leadership

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

Media

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

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Military

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

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Music

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
  • Ensembles
  • Singing Lessons
  • Marching Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Solo music
  • Your own band
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society

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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
  • Dance
  • Film Production Club
  • International Thespian Society
  • Miming
  • Puppetry
  • Slam Poetry Club
  • High School Theater Group
  • Community Theater Group

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Religious

You can usually find these groups in your community.

Roleplaying/Fantasy

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Speech and Political Interest

If you have a knack for recognizing faulty logic and destroying opponents' arguments, try one of these clubs. Many schools will sponsor these groups and some of them are competitive on local and national levels.

(Video) Should You Use Up All 10 Activity Spots on the Common App?

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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
  • Basketball
  • Bodybuilding
  • Cheerleading
  • Climbing Club
  • Cycling
  • Dance Team
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking Club
  • Hockey
  • Intramural Sports
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Ping Pong Club
  • Quidditch Clubs
  • Skate Board Club
  • Skiing
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Ultimate Frisbee Club
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Yoga Club

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Technology

A love of technology can take you far. If you have strong knowledge in a particular area, try sharing with the online community. The bonus of these activities is that anyone with an internet connection can do them—no need for a school-sponsored club!

  • Blogging
  • Personal Web Site
  • Social Media
  • YouTube Channel

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Volunteer

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.

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Final Word

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.

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (21)

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.

Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples (22)

Thinking ahead to college applications?

If you’re a freshman, sophomore, or junior worried about college admissions, our world-class admissions counselors can help. We know exactly what kinds of students colleges want to admit and can make sure your profile shines.

PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We've helped thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League.

Join our mentoring program today:

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(Video) ACTIVITIES Colleges DON'T Care About - I Learned This The Hard Way...
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Mary Ann Barge

About the Author

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.

FAQs

What are extracurricular activities examples? ›

Also known as extra-academic activities, extracurricular activities include sports, student government, community service, employment, arts, hobbies, and educational clubs.

How many extracurricular activities are there? ›

How Many Extracurriculars Should You Do? Strong applications tend to have between 8 and 10 extracurricular activities. This sounds like a lot, but many activities are seasonal, so it's possible to fit, for example, three to four sports into one year.

What is the most popular extracurricular? ›

Types of Extracurricular Activities
  • Sports. Sports are the most common extracurricular activity for kids in the United States. ...
  • Scouting. ...
  • Performing Arts. ...
  • Visual Arts. ...
  • Community Service. ...
  • Academic Clubs. ...
  • Student Government. ...
  • Student Media.
19 Aug 2022

What extracurriculars are most impressive? ›

Below are impressive extracurricular activities that will look good on your college applications:
  • Student Government. ...
  • Academic Teams and Clubs. ...
  • The Debate Team. ...
  • The Arts. ...
  • Internships. ...
  • Culture Clubs. ...
  • Volunteer Work and Community Service. ...
  • The Student Newspaper.

What are extra curricular hobbies? ›

Sport, drama, Scouts and Guides, hobbies like craft or photography – extracurricular activities can be just about anything your child enjoys outside school. They can also be things you've encouraged your child to do, like language classes, music, debating, religious instruction, swimming, or paid and unpaid jobs.

What all extracurricular activities are you involved in? ›

Extracurricular Activities Examples
  • Maths club.
  • Chemistry club.
  • Debate club.
  • Student government body.
  • Community service.
25 Feb 2022

What are the activities of a student? ›

Types of student activities
  • Academic.
  • Civic Engagement.
  • Diversity/Cultural.
  • Honor Societies.
  • Leisure.
  • Recreational.
  • Religious/Spiritual.
  • Student-Run Event Planning Board.

Do hobbies count extracurriculars? ›

For example, athletics and student clubs are considered extracurricular activities. Hobbies, interests, and volunteer work outside of school are also considered extracurricular activities.

Should you fill out all 10 extracurricular activities? ›

It is important to note that most accepted students to elite colleges fill in 8-10 activities on the Common Application. The exception is typically a student who has stellar achievement in at least one activity. Students should work to make sure their extracurricular list is diverse.

Is 6 extracurricular activities enough? ›

How Many “Normal” Activities Should Students Have? The Goldilocks “just right” number of activities is 5 or 6. This is a good amount because it's achievable for most students without being overwhelming.

What are Tier 1 extracurricular activities? ›

Tier I: Tier I activities are extremely rare. They are reserved for the very best students in the country (or world) at what they do (e.g. All-American Athlete, Olympic Gymnast, National President of DECA, National Debate Champion, etc.)

What extracurriculars do colleges love? ›

What Are the Best Extracurriculars for College?
  • Leadership Work and Positions. Colleges seek out applicants with leadership experience. ...
  • Part-Time Jobs. ...
  • Sports and Athletic Participation. ...
  • Academic Clubs and Teams. ...
  • Artistic and Creative Pursuits. ...
  • Volunteering and Community Service. ...
  • Internships.

What extracurriculars will get you into Harvard? ›

What Extracurricular Activities Does Harvard Look for? There are no particularly “best extracurricular activities for ivy league applications”. It could be anything from creative writing to swimming to theatrics to cooking to cinematography, as long as it shows some exceptional talent.

What are weak extracurriculars? ›

The most common “weak” extracurricular profile is simply one that is nonexistent, or bare-bones. Admissions officers want to accept students who will be involved in the campus community, and a student who has no extracurriculars, or only a couple casual involvements, is not a desirable candidate.

What is best extracurricular activities for resume? ›

7 types of extracurricular activities
  • Sports.
  • Student leadership.
  • Arts.
  • Studying abroad.
  • Volunteering.
  • Tutoring/mentoring.
  • Professional societies.

How many extracurriculars is too many? ›

Children should not have activities every day of the week. Many people agree that three is a good maximum. If a child is at that maximum and wants to add a new activity, then ensure that they drop one.

What to include in activities? ›

These are: Activity type. Position/leadership description and organization name if applicable. Activity description.
...
  1. Athletics: Club.
  2. Athletics: JV/Varsity.
  3. Career Oriented.
  4. Community Service (Volunteer)
  5. Computer/Technology.
  6. Cultural.
  7. Dance.
  8. Debate/Speech.
23 Feb 2021

Is Gym an extracurricular activity? ›

So extracurricular activities are just activities that you do outside of class. The Common App says that extracurricular activities "include arts, athletics, clubs, employment, personal commitments, and other pursuits."

What are the 5 learning activities? ›

  • Content Focus (and Interaction) Whether the learning outcomes for a session or module include declarative or functioning knowledge, almost all of them will be supported in some way by the presentation of information to students. ...
  • Interactivity (with Others) Focus. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Production. ...
  • Problem Solving. ...
  • Reflection.

What are the educational activities? ›

Definitions of educational activity. the activities of educating or instructing; activities that impart knowledge or skill. synonyms: didactics, education, instruction, pedagogy, teaching.

What are class activities? ›

Some classroom activities are – debate competition, role play or playing a character in a drama, jigsaw puzzles, case studies, and problem-based learning. Students' participation also encourages their development of crucial skills. Classroom Assessment Techniques can also be helpful in this case.

Do you need proof of extracurricular activities? ›

Extracurriculars also come into play for merit-based scholarships, whether offered by the University or an external organization. For scholarships that are based on your participation in an extracurricular activity, you'll need to provide evidence of your participation.

How many extracurriculars should a kid have? ›

There's no magic number of activities. For some kids, even one intense activity like sports or theater might turn out to be too many. Other kids can handle several without getting stressed. Check in with your child to see how they feel about their balance of activities.

Do colleges confirm your extracurriculars? ›

It will derail your education down the line if discovered (you'll get kicked out or have your degree revoked). If you're applying for a top school and the extracurricular is a spike (your most impressive activity on your application), they will almost certainly look into it.

Should I fill out all 20 activities? ›

All 20 activities do not need to be filled in. Having only 12 or 15 works fine. The key is to supply activities that represent who you are and how you spend your time.

Do I need 10 activities on Common App? ›

You can add up to ten activities to your application, but that doesn't mean that you need to enter ten. On average, students applying through Common App report 6 activities. Don't forget, this section is how colleges can get to know more about you.

How many extracurriculars do you need for Harvard? ›

We have more than 450 student organizations focused on everything from politics and photography to dance and debate.

What extracurricular activities do Ivy League schools look for? ›

Some of the best extracurricular activities for the Ivy Leagues are those that instill and hone leadership, teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. EAs that can help boost admissions chances are the ones that demonstrate passion, self-confidence and excellence in sports and the arts.

Is Travelling an extracurricular activity? ›

Traveling for learning purposes can be considered an extracurricular activity, so mention that on your application.

How many extracurriculars should I have for an Ivy? ›

Choose one or two extracurricular activities and aim for leadership positions. Ivies love to see you strive toward leadership roles and how you challenge yourself in those roles.

Can you get into an Ivy with no extracurriculars? ›

Ivy Leagues are not looking for students who participate in dozens of extracurriculars or receive a bunch of awards. They're looking for students who display leadership, dedication, and genuine interest in their chosen extracurricular. How Crimson student Dasha got into Columbia University!

What sport is Harvard best at? ›

Both the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight teams are typically considered to be among the top teams in the country in rowing, having won numerous national championships in recent years.

Can u get into an Ivy League without extracurriculars? ›

Can I still get into the Ivy League without extracurricular activities? Yes you can in exceptional circumstances . If you are only academically oriented and have research papers published or research conducted with patent in your name and have exceptional research experience , then yes you stand a chance.

What to do if I have no extracurriculars? ›

What to do if your high school doesn't offer extracurriculars
  1. Volunteer in your community. Many students embrace volunteering as a way to show dedication to their community on their college applications. ...
  2. Volunteer online. ...
  3. Jobs count as extracurriculars, too! ...
  4. Pursue a passion project.

Do extracurriculars actually matter? ›

Colleges appreciate applicants with meaningful extracurricular achievements, not just club memberships. May 2, 2022, at 5:33 p.m. As every college applicant knows, admissions offices look at extracurricular activities as one of the many factors that go into admissions decisions.

What kind of extracurriculars do colleges look for? ›

They typically involve volunteering, community service, or other forms of community engagement. Colleges value these activities because they show that you care about your community and other people. They also tell the admissions board that you are more likely to get involved in the campus community as well.

What kind of extracurricular activities are available for students? ›

Most high schools offer an array of programs, including:
  • Sports teams.
  • Band/orchestra/choir.
  • School newspaper or yearbook club.
  • Student government.
  • Special-interests clubs, such as drama club.
  • Competitive academics, such as math league.

Can you put hobbies as extracurricular activities? ›

For example, athletics and student clubs are considered extracurricular activities. Hobbies, interests, and volunteer work outside of school are also considered extracurricular activities.

How do you talk about extracurricular activities in a personal statement? ›

How do I talk about my extracurricular activities? Try to link your activities to skills that you have learnt through them, and then on to why you ultimately want to study medicine, and how this will help you. This shows insight and maturity of thought.

How many extracurriculars is too much? ›

No One-Size-Fits-All Answer. In reality, only six percent of teens meet the definition of “overscheduled,” spending 20 or more hours a week in extracurriculars, according to research from Yale University. Five to seven hours per week is the average. But how much your teen can handle is a personal matter.

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