Activities that look good on a college application

Imagine this. It’s the summer before your freshman year in high school and you are attending an open house to meet your teachers, get your locker combination, have your ID made, and get a feel for the types of activities that are offered at your school. If you are like most students, it can be slightly overwhelming to see all of the booths full of writing utensils, stress balls, and post-it notes that aim to market their specific activity. Each one of these booths wants you to engage and participate in their activity. So how are you supposed to choose? If you are planning to go to college – it may be helpful to think about which activities will look best for your college applications. So don’t let that marketing fool you, continue reading to determine which activities would be best to engage in so that your college applications will benefit in the future!

Activities that look good on a college application | Image


Clubs are one of the most common activities that can look good on college applications. They may even be one of the easiest activities to get involved with. Often times clubs that are offered at schools will be similar no matter where you go. However, if you live in a rural area your club offerings may be less vast. If you find yourself struggling to identify a club that would be fun to join, it may be time to get to the drawing board. Oftentimes, schools will allow students to start their own clubs, especially if they have a sponsor such as a teacher. In order to get the most bang for your buck – you will want to participate in clubs that you find interesting and that are aligned with what you are hoping to study in college or what you would like to pursue as a career. For instance, if you are hoping to study agriculture, you may want to consider joining Future Farmers of America. If you want to own your own business, you may benefit from joining an entrepreneurship club. Once selecting a club that is aligned with your passions and interests, you may want to join clubs that also have leadership opportunities as colleges favor applications that have leadership experiences, and clubs are a great way to ensure that this experience is on your application.

Not sure where to get started? Explore this list of clubs and ask your guidance counselor about clubs that may be offered in your school:

  • Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
  • Math club
  • Coding club
  • 4H club
  • National Honor Society (NHS)
  • Game club
  • Cooking club


While it may be obvious that you should be participating in activities that are offered in your school, what may be less obvious is that you can participate in activities outside of school that will also look favorably on a college application. Many of these outside activities are jobs! Finding a job in your local community could open up many opportunities for the future, especially when applying for college. Jobs are a great activity to participate in during high school as they teach you valuable skills that are necessary for success in college. These skills include time management, project management, responsibility, delegation, communication, and organization. Additionally, working allows you to explore other areas and passions that you may not be aware of. After securing your part-time job, you will want to ensure that you do not jump from job to job, as colleges will look more favorably on students that maintain a part-time job with longevity as this showcases your commitment and dedication.

Not sure what part-time jobs may be options for you? Explore this list to give you an idea of where to start!

  • Fast food restaurants
  • Daycares with evening hours
  • Local businesses
  • Grocery stores
  • Tutoring services
  • Dog walkers


Think you should stop collecting baseball cards and dedicate more time to pursuing other activities that may look good on college applications? Think again. In fact, sometimes hobbies are a fantastic activity to list on college applications, especially if you have been working toward these hobbies for a long period of time. Hobbies are a good indicator of dedication and commitment. Hobbies also provide a good opportunity for students to get engaged in the community that they live in and become valuable members of that community as they work toward a specific skill.

Not sure what hobbies are ideal for college applications? This list below show’s some common ones that admissions officers may see:

  • Piano
  • Fencing
  • Chess
  • Spelling Bee’s
  • Photography
  • Writing


Have some extra time on your hands and are unsure how to use it? Notice that there is a need in your community? It sounds like you may benefit from adding volunteering to your activities on your college applications. Typically, all communities have some type of need. Take a look around your neighborhood or your community and you are bound to find someone who is in need of food, clothing, or shelter. Many colleges and universities are looking for individuals who dedicate their time and energy to the betterment of others, as it is a good indicator that you will be involved in campus community life. Some colleges and universities even have fellowships and scholarships for individuals that have exceptional volunteer experience. So you may never know – participating in this activity may mean you get additional funds for school.

Unsure of where the need in your community is? Start with this list and see if there are local opportunities for you!

  • Animal Shelter
  • Food Pantry
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Your school
  • Parks
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes

With that, we will go ahead and wrap up! As you can see there are a ton of activities that a student can participate in that would be favorable for a college application. Clubs, jobs, hobbies, and volunteering are just a few things that admissions officers will look for when reviewing your application. The most important thing to remember is that you should engage in activities that you find interesting and that are aligned with your own personal passions. If you struggle to find the right activities to engage in you can always chat with your guidance counselor or with a teacher at your school! Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!!

All of our blog posts are written by Former College Admission Officers who serve as members of our admission consultant team.

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