The Ultimate List Of Extracurricular Activities: 500 Examples

Extracurricular activities to spark your passion
June 7, 2024
10 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/10/24

Are you wondering which extracurricular activities to pursue in high school? Unsure of your options? This extensive guide has you covered! Read on to explore over 500 different extracurricular ideas!

Extracurriculars can be rewarding, fun, and empowering. When you choose the right ones, you’ll not only have somewhere to escape when your academic pressures get overwhelming, but you’ll also meet like-minded individuals who can become long-term friends, learn new and useful skills, and even strengthen your college apps

But how do you choose the perfect extracurricular activities? What is an extracurricular activity? What’s the difference between extracurriculars and hobbies? Rest assured, all of your extracurricular activity-related questions will be answered below! Keep reading for some examples of extracurricular activities and more.

What Is an Extracurricular Activity?

Before we provide you with a comprehensive list of the extracurricular activities you can choose from, it’s essential you understand what an extracurricular activity is to debunk any misconceptions about them! 

Extracurriculars are activities you participate in outside of the classroom. While some can center around academic subjects, they are not part of schools’ curriculums and are pursued in your free time. 

The majority of extracurricular activities in high school are found and engaged in at their school, although they may also be offered through other institutions within your community.

Extracurriculars generally differ from hobbies because they are more formally organized, follow schedules, involve other students and teachers, and aim to foster personal growth, skill development, and passion. On the other hand, hobbies are pursued independently and are done for relaxation or enjoyment solely. 

For instance, an extracurricular activity would be a book club where peers critically examine and discuss books, whereas independent reading for pleasure would be considered a hobby! 

Extracurricular Activity Examples By Category

Now that you know what extracurriculars are, the next step is figuring out which ones are right for you. Fortunately, middle schools, high schools and other institutions cater to diverse student interests, so there’s no doubt you’ll find an extracurricular you’re passionate about!

If you’re looking to broaden your interests, strengthen your college application, or simply learn something new, there are a ton of extracurriculars available. 

Perhaps you need to write a sample extracurricular activity description for your college application. This description can serve as a valuable tool to highlight your unique experiences and contributions beyond academics.

Regardless of your reasons for considering extracurricular activities, keep in mind that they can truly enhance your life and offer a well-rounded perspective. Without further ado, here are over 500 examples of extracurricular activities for you to choose from. 

Arts Extracurriculars

Arts Clubs focus on various disciplines, including visual, performance, and fine arts:

Drama Club Jazz Band Photography Club
Music Club Acoustic Guitar Club Film Club
Art Club Percussion Club Drawing Club
Concert Band Drumline Sketching Club
Flute Club String Quartet Painting Club
Orchestra Fashion Design Club Poetry Club
Graphic Design Club Marching Band A capella Choir
Choir Songwriting Club Rap Club
Bagpipes Band Ceramics Club Creative Writing Club
Literary Magazine Club Costume Design Club Animation Club
Sculpture Club Ballet Club Swing Dance Club
Latin Dance Club Hip-hop Club Ballroom Dance Club
Contemporary Dance Club Tap Dance Club Salsa Dance Club
Tango Dance Club Breakdance Club Bhangra Dance Club
African Dance Club K-pop Dance Club Bollywood Dance Club
Folk Dance Club Bachata Dance Club Musical Theatre Club
Acting Club Digital Art Club Printmaking Club

Academic or Career-Related Extracurriculars

Academic-related extracurricular activities provide opportunities for students to engage in intellectual pursuits and enhance their knowledge and skills beyond the regular classroom environment: 

Debate Team National Robotics League (NRL) National Math Honor Society (NMHS)
Science Olympiad National USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) National Social Studies Honor Society
Chemistry Olympiad National Honor Society (NHS) (NSSHS)
Physics Olympiad National Art Honor Society (NAHS) National Honor Society for Dance Arts
Math Olympiad National French Honor Society (NFHS) (NHSDA)
DECA National Spanish Honor Society National Honor Society for Music
The National History Bee National Science Honor Society (NSHS) Education (NAfME)
The National Geography Bee Mu Alpha Theta - Honor Society National Technical Honor Society (NTHS)
National Business Honor Society for Mathematics Tri-M Music Honor Society
National Economics Challenge National Chinese Honor Society (NCHS) B.E.S.T. Robotics Design Contest
National Technology Student Association Hackathons Biology Club
(TSA) Conference Political Science Club Physics Club
National Junior Classical League (JCL) Chemistry Club Social Studies Club
Convention English Club Business Club
National English Honor Society (NEHS) Accounting Club Psychology Club
Writing Contest Engineering Club Biochemistry Club
National Poetry Out Loud competition Marketing Club Microbiology Club
National Engineering Design Competition Coding Club Geography Club
National YoungArts competition Neuroscience Club Zoology and Marine Biology Club
National Film Festival for Talented Youth Peer Academic Tutoring Space Exploration Club
(NFFTY) Mock Trial Competitions Physics Bowl
National Cybersecurity Challenge National Spelling Bee VEX Robotics
National Psychology Bee STEM Club Art History Club
National Science and Engineering Fair History Club Academic Decathlon
(Intel ISEF) Trivia Club Research Club
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Astronomy Club Economics Club
Philosophy Club Archaeology Club Computer Science Club
Image Cup Science Fair Future Pharmacists Club
Future Dentists Club Future Doctors Club Future Scientists Club
Future Educators of America Club Future Lawyers Club Future Nurses Club

Activism-Related Extracurriculars

If you’re passionate about certain social justice issues, you can join a group that focuses on addressing and improving them through the following extracurricular activities:


Environmental Club Feminist Club Homelessness Awareness Club
Black Lives Matter Club Amnesty International Club Indigenous Rights Club
LGBTQ+ Alliance Club Climate Action Club Women in STEM Club
Animal Club Disability Rights Club Social Justice Club
Racial Justice Coalition Mental Health Awareness Club Students for Education Equity
Students for Criminal Justice Reform Youth Anti-Poverty Club

Activist Organizations

Amnesty International National Organization for Women (NOW) Youth Service America
Planned Parenthood Boys & Girls Clubs of America Teach for America
ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) National Students for Justice in Palestine
Human Rights Campaign NARAL Pro-Choice America Alliance for Youth Action
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) The Nature Conservancy Student Power Network
WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Doctors Without Borders Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!)
NAACP (National Association for the Advancement National Association of Free and Charitable Advocates for Youth
Campaign for Youth Justice Clinics The Trevor Project
Moms Demand Action Young Activists Leadership Council (YALC) National LGBTQ Task Force
Sunrise Movement The California Innocence Project Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC)
March for Our Lives Greenpeace National Youth Rights Association
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Sierra Club Students for a Free Tibet PeaceJam It Gets Better Project
Earth Guardians Student Voice Free the Children

Athletic Extracurriculars

Joining sports extracurriculars is a great way to hone your athletic skills and hone your discipline, time management, and leadership skills! Remember, these don’t have to be offered by your school to be considered extracurriculars! Look into local sports organizations to join a team and participate in competitions:

Football Field Hockey Canoeing/Kayaking
Soccer Ice Hockey Skateboarding
Track and Field Rugby Cycling
Cross Country Cricket Triathlon
Baseball Lacrosse Horseback Riding
Basketball Badminton Polo
Tennis Ping Pong Squash
Volleyball Swimming Ice Skating
Gymnastics Diving Rollerblading
Sailing Skiing Snowboarding
Rowing Kickboxing Handball
Javelin Throwing Shot Put Roller Derby
Cheerleading Boxing Karate
Taekwondo Muay Thai Judo
Jiu-Jitsu Krav Maga Kung Fu
Kendo Wushu Aikido
Capoeira Hapkido Fencing
Archery Weightlifting Powerlifting
Ultimate Frisbee Curling Billiards
Bowling Rock Climbing Figure Skating
Surfing Scuba-diving Golf
High Jump Long Jump Triple Jump
Discus Throw Hammer Throw Kabaddi

Community Service Extracurriculars 

There are several extracurriculars you can join through your school and other organizations to give back to your community: 

Habitat for Humanity Recycling Crew Meals on Wheels Delivery
Red Cross Club Homeless Shelter Assistance Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Programs
Key Club Hospital Volunteer Programs UNICEF Club
National Honor Society Community Garden Maintenance Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)
Big Brothers and Big Sisters Youth Mentoring Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts
Pen Pals Reading Buddies American Cancer Society Club
Community Food Bank Volunteering Environmental Clean-Up Crew National Alliance on Mental Illness Club (NAMI)
Relay for Life Team Operation Smile Club Ronald McDonald House Charities Youth Volunteers
YMCA Youth Volunteer Corps Global Youth Service Day Projects Student Conservation Association (SCA)
National Park Service Youth Programs Assisting at Local Libraries or Community Centers Assisting with Food and Clothing Drives
Fundraising for Local or Non-Local Causes Volunteering at Local Senior Homes Coaching Youth Sports Leagues
Participating in Fundraising Walks and Runs Supporting Programs for Veterans Volunteering at Daycare Centers
Volunteering at Local Animal Shelters

Diversity and Culture Extracurriculars

Diversity and culture extracurricular activities focus on promoting and celebrating the backgrounds, cultures, and identities of different communities:

Spanish Club Greek Club Italian Club
French Club German Club Russian Club
Latin Club Mandarin Club Persian Club
Japanese Club Korean Club Arabic Club
American Sign Language (ASL) Club Hindi Club Urdu Club
Armenian Club International Club Indigenous Club
Turkish Club Vietnamese Club Filipino Club
Brazilian Club Irish Culture Club Indian Culture Club
African Culture Club Mexican Culture Club Arabic Culture Club
Black Students Union Asian Students Association Tamil Students Association
Punjabi Students Association Chinese Students Association Indian Students Association
Middle Eastern Association European Association Caribbean Club
Jewish Student Union Muslim Student Union South Asian Club
Allyship Club

Hobby or Interest-Related Extracurriculars

While we’ve distinguished between hobbies and extracurriculars, it’s important to note these categories often overlap. You can take a hobby or interest of yours and make it into a Club at your school, as many students often do! Here are some examples:

Reading Club Model Railroad Club Embroidery Club
Cooking Club Model Car Racing Club Fashion Club
Baking Club Model Boat Club Birdwatching Club
Anime Club Scrabble Club Sudoku Club
Gardening Club Chess Club Checkers Club
Yoga Club Board Games Club Video Games Club
Pilates Club Film Appreciation Club Scrapbooking Club
Knitting Club Makeup Artistry Club DIY Club
Crochet Club Astrology Club Aviation Club
Sewing Club Journaling Club Car Enthusiasts Club
Model Rocketry Club Magic Club Pokemon Go Club
Entrepreneur Club Equestrian Club Wall Street Club
Woodworking Club Coin Collecting Club Rock Collecting Club
Stamp Collecting Club Music Appreciation Club Puzzles Club
Tea Tasting Club Coffee Club Survival Skills Training Club
Self-Defense Club DJ and Mixtape Club Nutrition Club
Crime Club Forensics Club Comedy Club
Improv Club Cosplay Club Ethical Hacking Club
Virtual Reality Club Comic Book Club Call of Duty Club
Minecraft Club ROBLOX Club Fortnite Club
Battleship Club Dungeons and Dragons Club Public Speaking Club
Music Production Club Classical Music Appreciation Club Calligraphy Club
Juggling Club Mime Club Podcast Club
Video Editing Club Current Events Club Fantasy Sports Club
Financial Literacy Club Fishing Club Karaoke Club
Meditation Club Nature Club Marvel Club
Origami Club Shakespeare Club Vegan Club
Vegetarian Club Glee Club Spirit Club
Outdoor Adventure and Camping Club Travel Club Hiking Club
Cosmetology Club Geocaching Club Storytelling Club
Soap Making Club Candle Making Club Kite Flying Club
Historical Reenactment Club Parkour Club Puppetry Club
Rubik’s Cube Club Sports Card Club Metalworking Club
Artificial Intelligence Club Paranormal Investigation Club Drone Racing Club

Don’t see your passion on this list? Don’t fret! You can always start your own club at your high school! Doing so can further strengthen your college applications and ensure you thoroughly enjoy your extracurricular activity. 

Student Government Extracurriculars

Make an impact on your school and peers by joining your school government extracurricular activities:

Student Union Student Athletic Advisory Committee Embroidery Club
Prom Committee Student Inclusion Committee Fashion Club
Student Council Student Diversity Committee Birdwatching Club

Summer Programs

If you're concerned about your college application lacking extracurriculars, remember that doing something meaningful during the summer before college can really make a difference. It shows your dedication to self-improvement and can strengthen your application.

So, have some free time in the summer you’d like to spend pursuing a useful extracurricular activity? Taking these programs during the summer offered by various institutions can help you develop your abilities and boost your resume!

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) University of Michigan pre-college programs Georgetown University summer high school programs
New York University (NYU) pre-college programs Georgia Tech pre-college summer programs Northwestern University Center for Talent Development summer programs
Carnegie Mellon University pre-college programs Princeton University summer journalism program National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC)
Harvard pre-college program University of Pennsylvania pre-college program Bank of America Student Leaders program
MIT Launch summer program Columbia University summer immersion program NASA internships and fellowships
UC Berkeley pre-college scholars program Duke University Summer Academy for high school students Exchange programs
Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) summer programs Brown University pre-college programs Girls Who Code summer immersion program
Telluride Association summer program Research Science Institute (RSI) programs United States Naval Academy summer seminar
Oxbridge academic programs Explo at Yale High School Diplomats program
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) U.S. Department of State Youth Exchange programs (e.g., YES, NSLI-Y) National Student Leadership Foundation (NSLF) youth leadership conferences
Medlife volunteer program Global Leadership Adventures (GLA) Roadtrip Nation summer programs
Abbey Road summer programs Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp Youth for Understanding (YFU) cultural exchange programs
CIEE High School Summer Abroad programs LeadAmerica leadership development programs Envision Experience leadership programs
YouthBuild USA


It’s common for students to pick up part-time or summer jobs to keep busy and make some extra money to buy their first car, their overpriced prom dress, or save up for college. But did you know these jobs can also be considered extracurriculars? Here are the most common positions students seek:

Babysitter Retail Associate Camp Counselor
Dog Walker Waiter/Waitress Movie Theater Crew Member
Lifeguard Fast Food Crew Member Pizza Delivery Driver
Tutor Sales Associate Barista
Receptionist Warehouse Worker Event Staff
Ice Cream Shop Member Dishwasher Park Attendant
Pet Store Associate Research Assistant Amusement Park Ride Operator
Intern for Small and Large Businesses Dog Daycare Attendant Catering Assistant
Food Delivery Driver Personal Assistant House Painter
Moving and Packing Assistant Lawn Care Attendant Grocery Store Associate

So, there you have it! There are a ton of extracurriculars to choose from. Whether you're looking for content for a standout extracurricular essay, seeking personal growth opportunities, or simply wanting to pursue your passions, getting involved outside of your academic studies can be a rewarding and enriching experience. 

If you’re overwhelmed by all the extracurricular options, don’t worry! Our experts at Quad Education Group can help you build an extracurricular list that makes your application stand out.

Best Extracurriculars to Get Into College by Major

When it comes to applying to college, choosing the right extracurricular activities can really make your application shine, especially if they align with your intended major. These activities not only show your passion but also demonstrate that you've got the skills and experience relevant to your chosen field. Let's dive into why these specific extracurriculars are great choices for each major:


  • Student Government: This is a fantastic way to show off your leadership skills, which are key in the business world.
  • DECA/FBLA: These clubs offer practical business challenges and leadership opportunities, which are exactly what admissions officers look for.
  • Internships: Nothing beats real-world experience. Internships show you can apply what you've learned and have a serious interest in business.


  • Volunteering at Hospitals or Clinics: This shows your commitment to healthcare and gives you a firsthand look at the field.
  • HOSA: Joining HOSA can really boost your application by showing you're serious about a healthcare career, and it gives you a chance to engage in related activities and competitions.
  • Research: Doing research shows you're curious and driven—qualities that are gold for a prospective health major.

Social Sciences

  • Model United Nations: It sharpens your public speaking and diplomacy skills—both huge pluses for social sciences.
  • Volunteering for Social Causes: This demonstrates a commitment to understanding and solving societal issues, which is what social sciences are all about.
  • Economics Club: Analytical and economic thinking skills are key in social sciences, and this club is a great place to develop them.


  • Robotics Club: Applying engineering principles to build something real can significantly bolster your application.
  • Science Olympiad/Engineering Competitions: These competitions show off your problem-solving skills and technical knowledge.
  • Coding Competitions: They highlight your logical thinking and quick problem-solving skills, essentials for any engineering student.

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Science Clubs: Being actively involved in a science club shows your enthusiasm for the subject and willingness to go beyond just classroom learning.
  • Research Projects: Engaging in research demonstrates your initiative and a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
  • Internships: Gaining practical experience in a lab shows you're serious about pursuing science as a career.


  • Peer Counseling: This is a great way to show empathy and interest in human behavior, key aspects of psychology.
  • Psychology Club: Participating in a psychology club helps deepen your understanding of various psychological theories and practices.
  • Research Assistance: Helping out in research projects can provide valuable insights into the field and prepare you for higher studies.

Computer Sciences

  • Coding Boot Camps: These are intense, focused, and show you're committed to learning programming deeply.
  • Hackathons: These are fun and collaborative, testing your ability to apply coding skills under pressure.
  • Tech Internships: Practical experience in the tech industry is incredibly valuable and shows that you have real-world skills.

Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art Exhibitions: Displaying your work publicly shows dedication and helps you stand out as an artist.
  • Performances: Whether it’s music, dance, or drama, performing arts demonstrate your commitment and skill.
  • Competitions and Awards: Winning awards or being recognized in competitions can really highlight your talent and dedication to the arts.

Communication and Journalism

  • School Newspaper/Blog: Writing or editing for these can sharpen your communication skills and show your ability to engage with current issues.
  • Debate Team: This develops your ability to argue effectively and think critically, both essential for this field.
  • Internships: Working in a real media setting provides practical skills and industry insights.


  • Tutoring/Mentoring: This shows your ability to teach and your passion for education, which are critical for a future educator.
  • Education Clubs: These can be great for showcasing your creativity and leadership in developing educational programs.
  • Summer Camps: Working at a camp shows you can lead and educate, perfect for building your profile in education.

Choosing activities like these not only strengthens your college application but also gets you ready for your future academic and professional journey

FAQs: Extracurricular Activities

Are you wondering how many extracurriculars are ideal for college applications? Are you not sure where to start? Below are the answers to any remaining questions about extracurricular activities in high school!

1. How Do Colleges Feel About Extracurriculars?

Colleges highly value extracurriculars on their candidates’ applications. Admissions committees search for students who are well-rounded and can demonstrate excellence in more ways than just their academics, and having extracurriculars checks off these sought-after traits. 

Extracurricular activities also highlight students’ ability to manage their time effectively and collaborate with others, essential qualities for success in college and beyond! 

Additionally, extracurricular involvement can help students stand out among a competitive pool of applicants and showcase their unique talents, interests, and experiences. 

2. Why Are Extracurriculars Important?

Aside from getting you into your dream college, extracurriculars are important because they will enable you to develop skills that will help you throughout your academic and professional career! 

You’ll develop strong communication, time management, responsibility, leadership, and interpersonal skills that will contribute to your personal growth and character development! 

They also allow you to discover and nurture your interests and talents, helping you reach your goals, increase your confidence, and gain a sense of self-fulfillment!

3. What Extracurriculars Do Ivy Leagues Look For?

Ivy League colleges appreciate extracurriculars that demonstrate leadership, critical thinking, and commitment. Therefore, ensure you stick with any extracurricular you participate in for an extended period of time and make meaningful contributions to it. 

Popular extracurriculars Ivy League students pursue that demonstrate these traits are student government, sports, and creative Clubs.

You should also consider joining academic and community service-related extracurriculars that can demonstrate your dedication to intellectual enhancement and your strong sense of social responsibility. 

4. What Counts as an Extracurricular Activity?

Essentially, any activity that is done outside of your typical curriculum and is not used towards your grades or for school credit can be considered an extracurricular activity. It should involve other people and should not be an independent pursuit. 

It should also develop your interests, work towards specific goals, and follow a schedule for meetings and events.

Final Thoughts

Now that you've had the chance to dive into over 500 extracurricular activities, you're in the prime position to pick extracurriculars that truly align with your passions and interests. Whether you're drawn to sports, arts, community service, or something entirely unique, the world is your oyster! 

Remember, these activities are not just a way to fill up your free time—they're a chance for you to explore, grow, and make unforgettable memories. So, choose wisely and get ready to embark on a thrilling journey of self-discovery, skill-building, and all-around awesomeness! 

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