The Importance of Extracurriculars

sports team in a huddle

You know good grades and stellar test scores play a huge role in getting into college. But what about extracurricular activities? There’s conflicting advice out there about how much is too much and whether what you do outside of school hours makes a difference in college applications. So, what’s the real deal with extracurriculars? And are they worth it?

What counts as an extracurricular activity?

An extracurricular is simply any activity you do that isn’t a high school course. This could range from school-sponsored groups such as a varsity sports team, yearbook or Spanish club to community service and hobbies.

Is my job considered “extracurricular?”

Yes. Many colleges value work experience as indicative of responsibility and independence. However, remember that work and school, while important, aren’t the only things life has to offer. Scooping ice cream may not be your true passion—try finding a niche in theatre, team sports, community service or church. On the other hand, if your job is in an area you’re passionate about, try leaving your mark by introducing a new way to get the job done.

Is there such a thing as too many extracurriculars?

It’s possible. While it’s great to try a lot of different activities to find a good fit, you don’t want to spread yourself thin. It’s better to find a few things you really excel at rather than joining every club in sight. For example, let’s say you’re great at tennis and want to be a reporter. Show continual participation in the tennis team and school newspaper instead of also joining band and a club for future auto technicians (especially if you don’t play an instrument or drive a car).

What if I’m about to apply for colleges and I have yet to join any extracurriculars?

It’s never too late! There’s still time to try your hand at several different activities before you send in your college applications. If you’ve never really been into competitive sports, try a solo activity like running or consider joining a recreational league. Always wanted to learn to play the guitar? Now is the time! You don’t have to be a rock star but picking up something new shows a willingness to try new things. Great at math? Consider becoming a tutor to help a student who may be struggling. If all else fails, volunteer. There are countless ways to get involved in your local community and not only will they look great on an application, but you’ll also be helping someone in need.

Interested in seeing how your passion could translate into a degree from Grand Canyon University? Visit our website to explore GCU’s degree programs or use the request more information button at the top of the page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.