5 Underrated Extracurriculars that Look Great for College Applications


Ananth Veluvali @ Stanford University

5 Underrated Extracurriculars that Look Great for College Applications

High school is a time for discovery, learning, and growth. It's a critical phase that can determine your future path. As a result, it is crucial for you to take advantage of the possibilities that are available to you, both within and outside of the classroom. Indeed, not only will extracurricular activities allow you to pursue your interests, develop skills, and obtain useful experiences, they will help you stand out in college admissions. In this article, we will look at five underappreciated extracurricular activities that look great on resumes.

1) Entrepreneurship

While entrepreneurship is not as well-known as sports or student government, it can be an excellent way to gain significant skills and experience. Starting a business can teach you essential managerial and problem-solving skills, as well as the intricacies of running a firm. Furthermore, studies show that students who participate in entrepreneurship are more likely to attend college and become successful individuals later in life. Admissions officers love that!

As a student, you can participate in entrepreneurship in a variety of ways. You can, for example, start your own business or join a student-run enterprise; if you pursue this path, make sure the problem your business is solving means a lot to you.

You can also compete in business competitions, create an entrepreneurial club at your school, or network with local entrepreneurs in your area and ask for a potential internship. Some great business competitions to look at include the Diamond Challenge, SAGE, and the Conrad Challenge.

2) Research

Another underappreciated extracurricular activity for high school students is research. It can give you the opportunity to pursue you interests while also gaining useful experience within a professional setting. You can benefit from research by improving your critical thinking skills, as well as learning how to analyze data, conduct experiments, and write reports.

Furthermore, research can be conducted in a variety of situations. For example, you can participate in a research lab at your school or a research program at a university. You can find research opportunities by cold emailing professors, consulting with your school counselor, and accessing nearby resources, like your local library or community center.

You can also compete in research competitions like the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair or the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. These activities can provide you with significant experience as well as opportunities for internships and scholarships.

3) Pursuing a Passion Project

It may also be worth looking into pursuing a passion project. It can be a fantastic method for you to explore your hobbies and learn new skills. Good passion projects include building a website or an app, starting a podcast, or maintaining a blog. Not only will these pursuits teach you valuable skills—like coding, design, writing, or teamwork—but they’ll look great to colleges because they show initiative and creativity.

4) Volunteering in the Community

Community service is an equally valuable (and noble) extracurricular for high schools to explore. For one thing, it can be an excellent opportunity for you to give back to your community, but it can also help you gain useful experience by building leadership and communication skills.

Since studies have indicated that students who participate in community service are more likely to attend college, have better academic performance, and be more civically active, it’s a favorite activity amongst admissions officers. Volunteering at a local shelter, assisting in a community garden, or teaching a needy student are all examples of community service.

5) Academic Competitions

Another underrated extracurricular activity for high school students is academic competitions. They can be an excellent opportunity for you to obtain experience and pursue your passions.

Debate, Model UN, and science competitions such as the Chemistry Olympiad and STS are examples of academic competitions. These activities can assist you improve their public speaking and problem-solving abilities, while also teaching you how to work in groups.

Colleges will be particularly impressed if you can show sustained success in these competitions. More selective institutions, like the Ivy League schools and Stanford, will look for national-level achievement.


High school is a time of discovery and development. Extracurricular activities allow you to pursue your interests while gaining useful experience. While some extracurricular activities are more popular than others, there are several that are underappreciated by high school students. Entrepreneurship, research, following a passion project, community service, and academic competitions are examples of these. These activities can assist students in developing skills, gaining experience, and gaining future possibilities. We hope this article helps, and best of luck with your college applications!



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