What Extracurricular Activities Should I do in High School?
The later years of high school can be very busy for students, especially as they get closer to graduation and have to start thinking about college applications. One source of stress for seniors is realizing that they don’t have enough extracurricular activities on their resumes. However, there are many extracurricular options available, so it’s not difficult to find one that suits your interests.
While all extracurricular activities can help set you apart from your peers during the college admissions process, some may be better than others at highlighting your individuality and making your resume shine. Here are a few great extracurricular options that college admissions officers are sure to love, as well as how they can help you stand out from the competition. As organizations like Beta Bowl mentor and work with teens who have an entrepreneurial mindset, here is their guide to how these skills can be fostered.
Do you want your students to have the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills? If so, you should definitely check out Beta Bowl. Beta Bowl is an extracurricular activity that provides students with the chance to work on their own business ideas and projects. This is a great way for your students to learn more about entrepreneurship and develop their own business skills.
Benefits of Extracurricular Activities
The type of extracurricular activity your child participates in will depend on what skills you want them to develop. Physical activities will help them develop physically, intellectual activities will help them develop intellectually, and creative activities will help them develop creatively. However, all extracurricular activities will help your child in some way.
- Build teamwork and problem-solving skills
- Cultivate self-esteem and confidence
- Develop a strong work ethic
- Encourage superior academic performance
- Enhance a high schooler’s college application portfolio
- Help children develop emotional regulation that carries over to the classroom
- Offer kids the opportunity to develop closer friends than they might make in school, due to shared interests
Types of Extracurricular Activities
Did you know that there are lots of different extra-curricular activities that you can do outside of school? You can join clubs based on your hobbies, or compete in programs throughout the year. Here are some of the activities that you might be able to find in your community.
The most common extracurricular activity for kids in the United States is sports. Swimming lessons, ice skating lessons, gymnastics, and soccer clinics are typically offered to children as early as the toddler and preschool years. Many town recreation departments offer baseball, softball, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, ultimate frisbee, running, and volleyball to elementary-school-age kids. As they age out of youth leagues, many kids can join middle school or high school sports teams or try out for a competitive travel sports team.
There are many alternative physical activities for children who do not seem to enjoy mainstream sports. You can ask your child’s P.E. teacher or local recreation department for ideas. Some alternative physical activities include martial arts, golf, skiing, BMX biking, skateboarding, dance, or rock climbing.
According to a study, students who participate in youth sports are more likely to feel a sense of belonging in their school and community, as well as stronger social ties with both their classmates and their parents.
If your child enjoys being outdoors and trying new things, then scouting could be a great option for them. In scouting, not only will they learn basic survival skills, but also earn badges in a range of other areas such as cooking, cleaning, arts, finances, goal setting and personal care.
Historically, there have been Boy Scout troops and Girl Scout troops; however, those distinctions are no longer based on traditional gender norms. The organization, formerly known as Boy Scouts, is now Scouts BSA and it welcomes girls as well as boys.
Girl Scouts of America only accepts girls into its ranks, but is willing to consider transgender youth. The organization specifies that if a child is recognized by their family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts can provide a safe setting for them both emotionally and physically.
Plays and other performances put on by schools and community theaters are popular extracurricular activities found in almost every community. Many students enjoy stagecraft but not performing may help build sets, work on lights, sound, and special effects, or make costumes.
Many kids who excel in performing arts go on to participate in community theater or similar groups as adults, building self-confidence and developing friendships along the way.
If your kid likes to draw, paint, or be creative, they might benefit from joining an art program to learn art techniques and see their creativity flourish. Check with your child’s art teacher or a local art supplies store for classes and camps; some cater to very specific artistic interests, like pottery or graphic design. Many art museums host workshops for children, too.
Band and choir are popular elective courses in many schools. Children can also get private lessons or join a community youth orchestra or other music groups. Educational research suggests that kids who play musical instruments do better in academic school subjects.6 However, learning to play and appreciate music is a fantastic reward in itself.
Being a part of a community service project or volunteering gives students more than just something to put on their college applications. It’s a chance to show that they are passionate about something and are willing to go out of their way to get involved. It also shows that they care about giving back to their community.
This text is discussing how volunteering can help demonstrate qualities that admissions officers seek in top candidates. Some examples of volunteering opportunities that would help demonstrate these qualities include tutoring students in a subject the candidate is passionate about, helping underprivileged youth in the community, or volunteering at a hospital or animal shelter.
Choose something to volunteer for that you are passionate about, and you can make a difference in your community. Volunteering might even give you an idea for a new philanthropic project.
Student government is a great way to practice your leadership skills, whether you plan to go into politics or not. You don’t have to be the student body president to play an impressive role in student government in the eyes of admissions officers.
If you’re a student looking to participate in student government, know that colleges will see you as someone who cares about their peers and wants to improve their high school experience. Being a part of student government requires dedication and a willingness to work hard to make changes, both of which are qualities that colleges value.
In addition to the leadership, planning, and organization skills, participating in a governing body will also demonstrate teamwork as you work and harmonize with your governing peers. Every governing body will have some conflicting opinions, and highlighting the resolution you come to in those scenarios is a great way to show admissions officers just how much of a team player you are, even when in positions of leadership. Even if students don’t become political leaders, these skills are valuable in other industries and to students aiming to become top business executives.
Our organization offers opportunities for teens to develop leadership and business skills by working with local businesses. Our focus is on developing life skills and community involvement.
Debate is a great way to show college admissions officers the qualities they are looking for. Students who participate in debate learn to think quickly on their feet, be articulate in expressing their point of view, and be well-read and informed about the issues in our society today. If you plan to major in science, business, politics, or the arts, the confidence and poise you develop on the debate team will help you succeed in any field.
While colleges want students who are able to consider multiple points of view, they also want to see students who are passionate about certain issues and have a clear point of view. Joining a debate team is a great way to showcase all of these qualities to admissions officers.
Debating also helps students learn how to advocate for their ideas, which will only be positive brownie points to your application, even if an admissions officer disagrees with your viewpoint.
If you plan to pursue a certain subject in your post-graduation university studies and career, academic teams are a great way to get further involved and demonstrate your aptitude and dedication to the subject. College is largely about learning, so if you can show admissions officers that your desire to learn extends beyond the classroom, that’s a major plus.
You don’t need to be excellent at math to be on the math team; just trying your best and continuing to challenge yourself despite difficulties is impressive. This is something colleges look for when reviewing students’ applications.
Although it is easier to get straight A’s, colleges are more interested in students who show a willingness to learn and go above and beyond. For example, participating in academic teams shows eagerness and a desire to challenge oneself, which are qualities colleges value more than a straight-A transcript.
Theater and performing arts are a great way to spend your time during high school. Many high schools offer theater and acting courses, but they are considered extracurricular activities because performances and competitions usually happen after regular school hours.
Theater competitions are a great way to have fun and improve your college applications. The passion and dedication required to be good at acting is something that colleges value. This is especially beneficial if you’re planning on studying acting in college, as it will show that you’re prepared for the rigors of college coursework.
Theater may seem like a lot of work and it may take up a lot of time, but it is a good activity to do if you are looking for something new to do outside of school and you want to try something creative.
There are many different clubs available for high school students that focus on culture. These clubs provide opportunities for students to get involved in their community and school.
Volunteering for an anti-bullying club is a great way to show school spirit and give back to your community. These clubs typically partner with elementary, middle, and high schools, and involve meeting with younger students.
Joining an LGBTQ+ club or another club that promotes diversity and equality is a great way to get involved in your community and make a positive impact. Even if you don’t have any directly related skills, you can still find ways to help out. For example, if you’re good at web design, you could help create a website for the club. Or if you’re passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement, you could join a club or organization that promote those values.
If you want a way to compete while playing video games, joining esports is a great option. You could potentially win money or enhance your college resume. Furthermore, esports helps develop skills such as teamwork and communication. Also, tournaments often involve multiple schools, which means you could win awards or be nationally ranked.
When you’re part of an eSports team at a competitive level, the skills and traits required are noticed by colleges and potential employers. So it can help your application to show that you’re committed and motivated about something you’re interested in. But, like with any activity, it’s still important to have a range of interests and extracurriculars, not just eSports.
One of the most impressive things high schoolers can do is get an internship, whether it’s after school or during summer break. While clubs and sports are great, internships show colleges that a student has gone above and beyond to dip their toe into the workforce. It doesn’t matter if the internship is paid or unpaid; the fact that a student is working for a company or organization in the real world and experiencing what it’s like to deal with teams outside of their peer group is a huge win and can’t be overemphasized on an application.
It’s beneficial for students to obtain an internship in the field or industry they want to pursue college in (if they already know what that is). This shows maturity, ambition, and willingness to work hard; which confirms in an admissions officer’s mind that the student is ready for college and the real world.
It is possible to get your foot in the door for an internship you want by volunteering or finding a mentor and becoming his or her apprentice. These are great strides towards showing admissions officers just how dedicated you are to pursue this field. Students can also shadow people who work in their desired industry or join a mentorship program.
If you want to learn more about how mentorship works at Beta Bowl, click here.
Student Newspaper/ Yearbook
You don’t have to be planning on majoring in journalism for participating in your high school student newspaper or student yearbook to look impressive. Students who help create the newspaper and yearbook are more than just great writers; They show an ongoing, consistent commitment to the task at hand, since most members participate year-round.
The ability to work well with others, communicate effectively, and write well are all important skills for success in college. Students who demonstrate these skills are likely to do well in college and beyond.
To sum up, having success in high school and winning college admissions is not only about filling your resume with multiple extracurricular activities. It is more impressive to choose a few meaningful ones and be dedicated to them.
In college admissions, it is better to see a few extracurricular activities that the student is passionate about, rather than a list of many different activities. It is important to show how the student has impacted their community and how that has prepared them for the future.
If you have not started looking for extracurricular activities for your teen, it is best to find activities that will be impactful and showcase their best traits. If your teen is motivated to develop their entrepreneurial skills, Beta Bowl offers packages to help with this.