8 Hobbies That Look Good On College Applications

A women's basketball game
April 26, 2024
4 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

As a high schooler, your hobbies can help you destress, escape your academic pressures, and increase your chances of getting into your dream college! This guide will go into depth about the best hobbies for high schoolers!

Three football players

Hobbies are meant to be fun activities you spend your leisure time pursuing, but they can also strengthen your college applications. As colleges search for well-rounded students to join their competitive programs, engaging in hobbies can demonstrate your interests and passions outside  the classroom and your commitment to them.

Read on to learn about the top hobbies that look good on college applications.

Hobbies for High Schoolers That Look Good On Applications

There isn’t a comprehensive list of hobbies that you can choose from to strengthen your college applications. Any hobby that helps you improve or acquire new skills can boost your applications.

But here are some of the most popular hobbies students engage in and how they can increase your chances of getting into your top colleges:

Playing An Instrument

Someone playing the piano

Playing an instrument as a hobby can positively impact  your college application, even if you don't aspire to be the next Ringo Starr. Learning  to play any instrument requires dedication, consistent practice, and perseverance for an extended period.

Admissions committees value this type of long-term commitment and the ability of students to stay disciplined to achieve their goals. 


A person writing a blog post

Blogging is gaining popularity amongst students because of how easy it is and the creative freedom it enables. If there’s a topic you’re particularly passionate about, you should consider starting a blog!

Blogging can demonstrate excellent communication skills as you actively engage in written expression and effectively convey your thoughts and ideas to a broader audience. Through blogging, you’ll be able to showcase your creativity, critical thinking, and ability to articulate complex topics, depending on your subject matter. 

It will also highlight your passion and dedication, as maintaining a blog requires consistent effort and genuine interest. 

Coding or Programming


In an increasingly digitalized world, engaging with technology and showing  proficiency  can demonstrate your ability to contribute to the ever-evolving world. Additionally, participating in coding competitions or working on your  projects portrays discipline, initiative, and creativity. 

Having experience in coding can also open doors to potential internships and research opportunities, which can further bolster your college applications!

Language Learning

A book on language learning

Learning a new language is challenging! Like most of the hobbies on this list, it requires time, patience, and perseverance. Language learning also fosters cognitive development, including improved memory, problem-solving skills, and enhanced communication abilities, making you a more attractive college applicant. 

Learning a foreign language will also reflect your global awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity, qualities that are highly valued by college admissions committees!


A person kicking a soccer ball

Sports are a common hobby for students and  can be easily pursued through  high school. As a sports player, you’ll demonstrate your ability to set and reach team goals,  leadership, and collaboration skills.

Sports also highlight your ability to manage time effectively, balancing academic responsibilities with rigorous training schedules and competitions! So, whether you’re a swimmer, golfer, or runner, having a sports hobby on your college applications will certainly enhance them!


A woman reading

Reading is often considered to be the key to success. Dr. Seuss eloquently said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Reading exposes you to diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas, broadening your knowledge and understanding of the world. It enhances your vocabulary, writing skills, and analytical thinking, which admissions committees value.

Whether you enjoy classic novels, horror stories, or nonfiction works, including your reading hobby in your college application conveys your intellectual depth, passion for knowledge, and dedication to personal growth!

Playing Chess

Two people playing chess

Another one of the many hobbies that look good on college applications is chess. Any strategic board game can boost your application because they are intellectually challenging games that require critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to plan. 

Such games demonstrate your analytical skills, pattern recognition abilities, and capacity to make informed decisions under pressure!


People volunteering

The final hobby that looks good on college applications that we’ll be discussing is volunteering. Many students engage in community service work in their free time for personal satisfaction and to positively impact others. 

All colleges highly regard service activities on applications because they reflect compassion, empathy, initiative, and  concern for social issues. They demonstrate you are an active member and leader within your community, making it more likely that you will also be a great contributor to your college community.

How Can Hobbies Help You With Your College Applications?

So, now that you know about some hobbies that look good on college applications, let’s  recap how these hobbies can increase your chances of acceptance:

  • Show You Can Juggle Multiple Commitments: hobbies indicate that you can manage your time effectively and prioritize different aspects of your life, such as  academics, extracurriculars, and social life.
  • Demonstrate Dedication: pursuing long-term hobbies requires passion and genuine interest in the activity, which highlights your willingness to continue learning and improving. 
  • Portray Your Individuality: since your hobbies are directly linked to your interests, they can differentiate your college application and give the admissions committee a more comprehensive picture of you.
  • Equips You With Transferable Skills: Hobbies often develop valuable transferable skills such as problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. These skills can be applied to various academic and professional settings, showcasing your readiness for college and future success.

Don’t let these reasons make you pursue a hobby you are not interested in! While we’ve listed some of the most popular hobbies for high schoolers, the list is virtually endless! 

So long as you can articulate the skills and qualities you have gained through your hobbies and highlight how they align with your academic and career goals, you should be golden!

FAQs: Hobbies That Look Good On College Applications

Below, you’ll find the answers to frequently asked questions about hobbies that look good on college applications:

1. What Hobbies Should I Put On My College Applications?

When choosing hobbies for your college applications, consider activities that genuinely interest you and can showcase your dedication, leadership, creativity, intellectual development, or community involvement.

Examples include playing a musical instrument, participating in sports, blogging, language learning, reading, playing chess, or volunteering.

Select hobbies that align with your passions and highlight your unique qualities and talents!

2. Do Colleges Consider Hobbies?

Yes, colleges consider hobbies because they’re interested in learning what students do in their free time outside  academics! Colleges use a holistic approach when making application decisions, so you must demonstrate that you are well-rounded and excel in all your pursuits.

3. Can I Include Multiple Hobbies On My College Application?

Yes, you can include multiple hobbies on your college application. Highlighting a variety of hobbies can showcase your versatility, time management skills, and ability to engage in diverse activities. However, it's important to prioritize quality over quantity and be mindful of your schedule to avoid burnout!

Final Thoughts

Overall, you should pursue hobbies you’re interested in and can dedicate time to over a long period. It's not about having a long list of hobbies but showcasing a few activities that reflect your passions, dedication, and personal growth!

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