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Best Extracurricular Activities That Help You Prepare For College



You might think that the best way to prepare for college is to hunker down with your books and study constantly. There is so much pressure for high school students to make perfect grades and standardized test scores that young people often feel their only option is to live in the library.

Contrary to what you might think, colleges pay close attention to your extracurricular activities when they are examining your application for admission. If you are active in a social club or a volunteer activity, they may assume that you have the necessary social skills to perform well in college.

Students who have not diversified their activities in college may suffer during admissions reviews, in spite of good grades. See our list of extracurricular pursuits that can boost your performance in higher education.


There is a prevailing negative stereotype that jocks do not do well in school. Actually, the opposite is true. Athletes are required to keep their grades up in order to stay in the game. This is true of both high school and college sports. So, if you love basketball, it might actually give you an incentive to keep your grades up.

College admissions boards also understand that sports instill leadership qualities in young student-athletes. They can expect athletes to have discipline, good communication skills, and a healthy level of respect for authority figures–all of these things will help you get into college and do well once you start your new academic career.

Debate and Public Speaking

If you shy away from a crowd or turn into a wallflower during conflicts, the debate may be just the activity for you. Why? Excessive shyness and the inability to stand up for your ideas can negatively impact your college performance and potentially hurt you during the all-important college admissions interview.

The debate will help you get out of your shell and express your ideas in a safe, positive setting. And, if you are naturally drawn to verbal competition, debate and public speaking clubs will help you shine. Winning awards and performing well in these areas is sure to put you on a path to success for college.

Foreign Language Clubs

Just like debate clubs, foreign language organizations are great for students with a natural inclination for language and for those who are struggling with foreign language classes. These clubs will give you additional practice with the foreign language of your choice, while allowing you to interact with your peers and take on leadership roles, like the president or treasurer.

And colleges know this. Universities look for students who perform well in leadership capacities and for students who can adjust to the diverse, changing landscape or the contemporary business world. Foreign language clubs give you both of these skills.

Colleges know that a student who speaks Mandarin or Spanish will be prepared for the business world and that a student with French or Latin skills will excel in literature. Again, these skills do more than get you through the admissions process; they continue to come to your aid throughout your time in college.