Extracurricular Activities: How Important Are They?

By The Dunbar Team


Extracurricular Activities:  How important are they?  

Guidance counselors, parents and administrators agree that students should try to be involved in activities beyond their academic work.  Engaging in activities outside the classroom benefits both the individual and the community by building bonds, developing skills and passions, and providing students with the opportunity to learn more about what interests them. But the question students often ask is, what are admissions officers looking for as they evaluate extracurricular activities?

Clearly, there is no one size fits all answer to this question because every individual’s high school offerings, personal interests and activity demands vary, but colleges do want to see applicants engaged in something and have a genuine interest in that activity.   Colleges are not looking for a long list of activities on the application and in fact, demonstrating talent in and commitment to a particular activity can help in the process as they can see how the student will fit into their community. Showing leadership in community projects or in activities related to the fields of study that interest you can be appealing to colleges.  We recommend students consider how they can best contribute to their community, while also developing their interests, and then get significantly involved in an activity either offered in school or in their local community.

For more thoughts on extracurricular involvement in the college application process, read this article in U.S News and World Report:

How Colleges Weigh Applicants’ Extracurricular Activities