Once that dismissal bell rings, we all just want to hop on the school bus and head straight home. But here’s the catch. What you do after school matters. Why? Your extracurricular activities make you stand out among thousands of other college applications.
More importantly, they shape your perspective, your attitude, and your self-esteem.
Why should I have extracurricular activities?
An extracurricular activity is anything that isn’t required for school. It’s something that keeps you on your toes. Something you’re passionate about, and something you’ll learn from.
Extracurricular activities boost your skills. They make you smarter outside your classes. You learn from the people you interact with. Whether that’s through teamwork, problem-solving, or organizational skills, there’s always something to gain from joining a new org or club.
As for your student profile, admission boards go through tons of applications every year. You need to stand out from the rest. And extracurriculars are your ticket to success. It’s all about showing what you’ve got: what skills are under your belt, what interests and passions make you different.
But how do you choose what to do? And what do you even choose? Here’s a quick self-examination to help you choose what extracurricular activities to go for:
- What do you love?
- What makes you happy?
- Where can you add value?
- What do you want to learn?
So without further ado, here’s a list of the best activities that colleges and hiring officers find super impressive! Keep in mind though, that they notice when you only add activities in your junior and senior year. So best to start early!
Social activism and volunteering
Stay woke, and fight for the good you wish to see in the world. Volunteer for charity, support a cause, become a member of an org you believe in. Get in touch with social realities that affect our world. These help you develop leadership skills, empathy, and a strong sense of ethics, too! Standing up for what you believe in actually helps you stand out in an application.
Amp up your resumé with an internship or two over the summer. It’s not just coffee runs and taking meeting notes. You learn the necessary business disciplines they don’t teach you at school. An internship is a mini training ground for the work to come in the industry or company you get into.
Academic clubs and competitions
Being part of an academic club or competition like advanced math, science, or English shows that you’re seriously smart. Enough to qualify for a special group. Enough to get competitive. Sure, these don’t happen year-round. But if you want something that really boosts your academic profile, this is the way to go.
Leadership and student government
People love a born leader. Someone who is confident that they can make a difference. It shows initiative, communication skills, and responsibility. So what better way to show it than running for a position in your student body? If you can dream bigger, why not something on a larger scale like working alongside your local youth council (Sangguniang Kabataan)?
Sports and athletics
Student-athletes are high in demand, especially for colleges in the UAAP circle. But whether or not you’re gunning for those schools, being into sports can benefit your muscles, memory, and morale. Whatever your body type or interest, there’s an activity out there for you. Athletics boosts brain activity as much as it trains your muscles and gets you fit. Plus, you learn about teamwork. The teammates you make along the way become friends for life.
Being in a debate team will challenge your argumentative and communication skills. But it’ll also test your grit, your drive, and your ability to stand by and for something that matters. Admissions teams see debate as a trump card because it proves you can think critically and form intelligent opinions about current events.
Creative arts, music, performing arts
If you want to show your individuality and creativity, add an art club or theater work under your belt! This is especially helpful if you want to pursue a degree in Fine Arts, Music, or the like. Even if you aren’t pursuing that course, though, it shows universities that you’re well-rounded and you value the humanities. Plus, being creative is fun!
Publication work (writing, photography, or art)
Another standout skill that wows admission teams is published work. It’s super impressive to see a young person in newspapers, magazines, and established blogs or online publications. Your school newspaper is a good start. But with online media, it’s easier to get your stories out there. Got a good eye? You can even contribute as a photographer or artist. Keep a portfolio on hand to show off your communication skills and best works.
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What other extracurricular activities do you enjoy? There’s no wrong club or part-time activity if it challenges your passionate side. If you want more ideas for a well-rounded high school experience, we’ve got loads more tips! Check out our All About Senior High section, which you can find on the Edukasyon.ph blog!