How to write about your Extra-Curricular Activities on a College Application (A Step-by-Step Guide)

An extracurricular activity is any activity that falls outside from the domain of the normal curriculum of the education system.

You might have heard it as an extra academic activity. Also, schools, colleges or universities practice these activities on a volunteering basis. Such activities are generally voluntary, social, community-related, philanthropic, and outdoor activities. But however, course education does not involve it in.

While applying for Scholarships or admissions in different colleges and universities, you might come across a section. In fact, we cannot limit it for colleges only. Let it be a job application or any other personal statement. In many of them, there is an extra section asking for your extra-curricular activities. Do you wonder how to fill it out in a best and attractive way? While in a crowd of candidates and a pile-up of a countless number of applications, how can you differentiate yourself amongst others and stand out? Here is a key to that!

Why are Extra-Curricular Activities in demand?

Universities and colleges are not just a place where you just go and study all the time. Rather, it’s a hub of many other activities. The administration knows already that the matrix of success is not just based on your grades or how good you can cram the books. They also encourage participation and showing up in different events and coming up with new ideas etc.

Universities have different societies such as cultural communities, sports leagues, debate assemblies etc. This keeps students involved in activities and hence helps them in becoming an active member of their societies later in their life. Moreover, it nurtures the hidden abilities present in them and polishes their talents. Also, the universities organize inter-departmental and provincial competitions for recognition and name. So they need talented kids for their own purposes.

Listing your Extra-curricular activities let the university know that you already have been into community participation. They can further get to know that after joining college, you are interested in performing these activities and participating in these discussions. And that’s what a good college/university demands from you.

Having a number of extra-curricular activities is really important. Especially when applying for foreign scholarships and admissions. For example: In SAT and ACT tests, it’s really important to have extracurricular activities in your application. This not only increases the weightage but also gives an extra reason for you to get a scholarship.

Furthermore, while writing personal statements, Extra-curricular activities act as the best medium to define yourself. Besides writing an application for college/university admission, it can be used to enhance:

  • Job Application
  • Resume
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Personal statements
  • Portfolios
  • Interviews

We’ll discuss all these in our following blog:

Presenting Extra-Curricular activities in College Application

Do you often get confused about what to write in your College Application about your extra-curricular achievements? Don’t know how to present it in in that section?

We will discover the answers to all your questions in the article. Let’s start with these easy steps which you will follow while filling out the activities section of your application.

STEP:1   Get the list of Extra-Curricular activities

While collecting the activities you can count on as to include in your application, you might encounter these two main problems: either you have too less to write, or you have too many. It becomes tough to choose what to add how much to add etc. So, let’s sort out this problem. The very first step you are going to take is to get a rough paper and pencil. Got that? Now, roughly write all the things you might count as an extra-curricular activity, which you are good at.

What, you don’t know any? Ahan! Don’t get in a fluster. Let’s think of it together, Right!

Just focus on your memory, remind yourself what comes in your mind when seeing these:


We all have somewhat interest in sports. Which sports do you find most interesting? In fact, let’s make it easier for you to ponder upon, which games come into your mind when listening to the word ‘Sports’? It can be an indoor sport such as Table Tennis, Tennis, Dance, Yoga or why not Ludo? Or maybe an outdoor activity like Cricket, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey etc. I hope you have got enough ideas and options! Now write down all which you are good at!

Academic Competitions-

There are several competitions arranged either by schools or Regional/national committees which are related to the academics. You might have participated in any of them. You can include it in your list as a non-scholastic activity. These contests might include International Kangaroo Mathematician Contest, National Geographic Bee, Science Bowl, Google Science Fair, Chemistry Olympiad, Academic Decathlon etc. It can either include some small inter-house competitions your school used to arrange. Just think about them and jot it down on the paper.

Academic Clubs-

An academic club is basically a school-ratified clique of tutees, often with a department sponsor, who converge to come up with activities or discussions based on their particular topic of concern. They are mostly based on the subject of interest of students. Examples are the Math Honors Society, the National Honors Society, and the Young Scientists Society.


The basic forms of art are painting, sculpture and architecture. However, you can include any minor type into it because of its broad meaning. You might have participated in any small art activity back in your middle school. It could be a small project making designing your dream home or making a robot. If you are really good at art and paintings, it’s a plus point! You can also dig into various forums through clubs you might have joined or on your own – this can include film production, animation, sculpture, carvings, and so on.

Music and Performing Arts-

In high school, there are many societies for performing arts. These include the singing choir, Marching Band, Drama Club, High School Theater, Dance, or a concert band. These can be included in as your non-collegiate activities.

Politics, Speech, and Social Studies-

Most of us are intrigued by the government and its policies. You can use this interest as an amazing opportunity to learn many newer skills such as debates, negotiations argumentative skills and researching. This can be an opportunity for you to stand out in a crowd. You can count it as Model United Nations, Student Diplomacy Corps, Speech Club, Student Government, or even teenage political party organization.

Volunteering and Activism-

Many organizations voluntarily hire students mainly when they have a big seminar or function going around as organizers, helpers and ambassadors. Moreover, many activist parties also need student help to carry on social and communal activities. Putting others need in front of yours requires guts. And you can show these while coming up and joining such parties. That’s what many organizations and colleges are looking for. You can include these as Hospital volunteering, Tutoring in school or at a local organization, UNICEF, Work at a local charity, Best Buddies, Humane Society.

Foreign Languages-

How many languages are you fluent in? You can select those in which you have proficiency. Even those which you can at-least understand or have somewhat little knowledge in. But you have to number the less proficient languages smaller while choosing. Example: English, Spanish or French.

STEP:2   Collect all the activities you are good at on a rough paper

Out of all the above-listed activities, take those whom you think you are somewhat involved in. Jot down all of them, whether if you are good at them or not on the rough paper.

Make a list of them neatly so you can do the rest of work on it easily.

STEP:3   Select the best 10 activities

Number all the activities out of 10 about how much grip you have on each. This practice will help you choose out the best to write in your application. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should choose those activities, you think the admission office prefers. Rather, its where you have to show your own genuine interest in something. For example, the things that you will happy to pursue and carry on in the future.

Now, the question is how many activities to list out in the application? It is considered best practice to write 10 extra-curricular activities on your application. However, you might not be too good in ten activities, after all its quite a large number. So take three activities which you think you have the most grip on. Highlight them on the top and also a description of them. It should be described in 3-5 lines. Now, list out the other 7 activities next in bullets.

REMEMBER! You really need to choose the first three activities in the best way. You must be sharp in at least those top skills. Because the admission office does not wants to have many general skills but an excelled skill even if its one. So be peculiar and pointy in that one (or three) specific activities or skills.

STEP:4   Write it on application

So here the main part comes! That is how to write down these activities in the best way on the application.

At first, write the three main languages on the top. Make the heading of each and under that heading, explain the awards or distinctions you have achieved in that particular section. Your three top skills are your main target! You must assure the admission officers that you are the best-chosen option in these tops to clinch the attention and position you want to achieve through your extra-curriculum section.

Next, write down your other seven activities activities next to the top ones. You don’t really need to explain them but only if you consider you need to. You can also grade them according to your proficiency which are five as follows:

  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Superior
  • Distinguished

STEP:5   Add a finishing line!

Write down a cheesy finishing line to give the activity section a nice ending. This will depict your interests and passion for continuing expertise in future too.

The line can go like: “I am passionate to learn more skills and continue this performance in future too.” or I have always been a keen learner, and I want to continue the progress in future as well.

Sample Extra-Curricular Activities Essay

Here is a sample essay about writing your extra-curricular activities in your college application:

How to write Extra-Curricular Activities in Resume

While applying for jobs and making resume, you must write most of your Skills and activities in accordance to your job activities and form.

Here is an example sample for writing extra-curricular activities for an IT skilled job preference. Check it out!

Final Words:

So, after reading this article, we have learned:

  • What can we write in extracurricular activities
  • How many activities should we list
  • Where to write them
  • How to write them in college applications
  • Writing extra-curricular activities in personal statements
  • How to write extra-curricular activities in resume
  • Answer such questions in your interview

If you want to add in, we will appreciate your comments and reviews!

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