Extracurricular Activities: You’re More Than Just Grades

Why do colleges need to know what clubs you’re in or where you’re volunteering? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a test to see how many things you can participate in during your high school career. More simply, these aspects of your life reflect you as a person. Grades and test scores only show one part of who you are; this is the more interesting stuff! Take a look to see what colleges expect and what you should be doing this year to make your extracurricular activities shine.

What’s been useful to you or others?

Show colleges that what you’re doing matters. Volunteer organizations easily fit this criterion, but even sports and clubs work too. Demonstrate how you have improved as an individual or how the club/sport improved as a result of your participation. Explain how your skills have improved in your sport, or how your work helped the club grow their membership.


Have you received recognition?

Has an organization given you accolades for your service? Did your team win local or state championships? Discuss anything having to do with recognition for your hard work or achievements. Again, it’s more about quality than quantity here. If you have loads of participation certificates and nothing more, it may seem like you are spreading yourself too thin.

Beyond participating, have you been a leader?

Challenge yourself and take on some responsibility. Haven’t taken the lead yet? Try heading a committee or running for an officer position. Anything that indicates you lead others shows maturity and a drive for personal improvement.

What can you do now?

If you are currently a freshman, enjoy the almost endless possibilities! Take time to check out all the clubs, organizations, and sports teams to find the best fit for you. Don’t limit yourself to school campus options either. Every community has volunteer organizations looking for help. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, start it!


As a sophomore, you should be able to narrow down what’s important to you. There is no need to join them all, but make an effort to be truly involved in a few clubs and/or teams.

For juniors and seniors, you should be making commitments to activities you’re passionate about and enjoy. In the short time remaining, apply for more responsibility; maybe start with a committee chair position, or go big and run for student council.

The summer too?!

Yes, the summer too.

Just because you’re not in class doesn’t mean you lose all motivation. You are more interesting than a person who goes to school; show it! Who are you outside of school? Summer camps, volunteering, internships, work, or reading are all ways to continue expanding your mind and growing as an individual. You don’t need to start your own business, but show universities you are committed to your future by not spending every waking moment at the beach.

It’s never too late to get involved, so don’t let excuses get in the way of making new friends and great memories. These experiences will undoubtedly help you today and in the future.

Want to learn more about extracurricular activities, Los Angeles? Check out these articles:

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