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Extracurriculars to Help You Stand Out

Planning for your future? Want to know what you should be doing during outside of school to help give you the best possible personal statement and CV? Perhaps you want to spend your summer taking up opportunities to bolster your personal statement? 

From extracurricular activities to do outside of school to finding the best summer courses for high school students, take a look at some of our ideas below on things to do to help you stand out. 

Do colleges check your extracurriculars?

Absolutely! When a college or university receives your application - to them, you are just a piece of paper. They don’t want to admit a piece of paper, they want to admit passionate, driven and motivated individuals who would be a great asset to them, and so your extracurriculars help them to see what kind of a student you are and why you would be a great student for them.

What they’re looking for is a sense of who you are - not just your academic skills. You want to show them why you would be a great student at their institution. Perhaps you have a passion for sport and you’d be a great asset to one of their societies? Maybe you love to travel and think you could have a fantastic study abroad opportunity with them? Whatever it is that makes you who you are, make sure to write it down so they can picture the wonderful candidate that you are.

What extracurriculars do colleges look for?

Whatever extracurriculars you enjoy. As we mentioned before, universities and colleges want to see you as an individual and what makes you unique. They don’t want a class full of students who all do the same extracurricular activities as diversity is what makes the learning experience even more enriching. Make sure you do activities that you’re interested in, that you can do regularly and enjoy outside of the classroom.

Examples of extracurricular activities you could try are:

  • Join a sports club
  • Attend dance classes
  • Reading about your subject, or anything that interests you
  • Blog writing, story writing or journalist writing
  • Learn a musical instrument
  • Travelling
  • Getting a part time job or work experience 
  • Learn a new craft
  • Learn a new language

And so many more, the opportunities are endless!

What should I do during summer break?

Summer is soon approaching, and a great time to spend some free time to start or maintain an extracurricular activity you enjoy. 

Of course you should spend some of your summer doing activities that you enjoy and that help you to relax before starting another year of rigorous academic study. However, if you are looking to do extracurricular activities in your summer that could help bolster your university applications and CV, then there’s a few things you could do. 

Start a hobby

If you don’t have a hobby or activity that you enjoy doing in your spare time, then summer is definitely the time to experiment. Try something new that you think you will enjoy - from sports to crafts, cooking and even hiking, there’s plenty of low-cost and easy hobbies to start enjoying. 

Learn something new

Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Or speak a new language? You could challenge yourself to learn something new over the summer, such as learning a new musical instrument, language or other skills It’s a great way to keep your brain occupied, give you something to add to your CV and also keep you entertained during the long summer period.

Get a part time job/work experience

If you’re old enough to, then getting some work experience or a part time job is a great way to expose yourself to the real working world and help you to develop valuable skills that you’ll carry with you throughout your adulthood.


If there’s a cause that’s close to your heart, then volunteering over the summer holidays is a great way to occupy your time and offer your services. 

To colleges and universities, it shows you’re an extremely compassionate person and want to help others. It will also provide you with invaluable communication, care and other skills which again, will be invaluable and help you throughout your future.

Get ahead for next year

If you’re twiddling your thumbs during the summer, then why not take up the opportunity to get ahead for the next academic year. 

Be sure to read through any secondary reading your teacher may have provided, or take a look at your subject’s syllabus online on the exam board’s website and start reading around the topics.

Or, if you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding way to get ahead, why not take a look at a summer school? It’s a chance to learn from an expert tutor about your chosen subject, as well as a great cultural summer experience staying in an international location and meeting new friends who share the same passion for learning as you! Interested? 

If you’re looking for the best summer courses for high school students, then you’ve come to the right place. Our award-winning courses are a great way to spend your summer break, and will help you to develop the key skills and knowledge needed for higher education and the workplace. Check out our available summer courses.

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Looking to stand out on university and job applications? Check out our top extracurricular and summer recommended activities to help you excel.

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