It is important to have a wide variety of extracurricular activities to showcase on your college applications. Extracurriculars let you explore your interests and discover your passions while also getting you involved with your high school community and giving you the opportunity to make friends.


High school clubs are great examples of extracurriculars you can join. When you enter high school, you may have some clubs already in mind that you want to join, and you should definitely check them out and join if you like it. However, don’t be afraid to branch out when you’re finding high school clubs to get involved in. You may accidentally discover a passion or a talent that you didn’t even know you had.


If you have a specific passion or interest that isn’t represented through a club at your high school, you could always start the club! By starting your club, you’ll be bringing a new perspective or skill to your high school community while showing passion and initiative for your college applications.


Sky’s the limit on the kinds of clubs you can start while you’re in high school. Here are some examples of clubs you can start in high school along with a brief description of each. Look through the list and see if any of these clubs would be worth starting on your high school campus.


Art Clubs

  1. Art Review Magazine: You could start a school-wide publication that features work from student artists at your school or features critical reviews of famous works of art. This club would be a unique blend of art and journalism.
  2. Photography Club: If you’re really into photography or taking pictures, you’re probably not alone in your high school. You could create a club where people discuss famous photographs or take pictures of your school, community, and other memorable places/moments. You could even have a showcase or fundraiser during the year where the best photos from your club are featured and/or sold.
  3. Art Club:  This could be a general club for those who love art and also those who want to create it. You could perhaps have people join as general members and then have different committees for each type of art (e.g. photography committee, painting committee, drawing committee, enthusiast committee) so that everyone would get to focus on what aspect of art inspires them.
  4. Art History Club: This club is all about admiring and critically analyzing famous pieces of art throughout the world and throughout history. In this club, you could have critical discussions about famous pieces of artwork, take trips to museums to see historic pieces of art in person, and even organize grand trips to famous museums where the best paintings are held (e.g. The Louvre in France).
  5. Performing Arts Club: This could be an all-inclusive club for singers, dancers, actors, and the like. You could all work to put on a talent show or a play/musical, and you could take trips to the local theaters to see professional shows.



Community Service Clubs


  1. Amnesty International Club: Work to support various human rights causes in your community and around the world by establishing an official high school chapter with Amnesty International, an international human rights organization. For more information about getting involved with this grassroots organization, see Amnesty International: A Human Rights Extracurricular For High Schoolers.
  2. Key Club Chapter: If your school is not already registered with Key Club, you could try and get a chapter started at your school. Key Club International is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. It is a very popular student-led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through serving others.
  3. Environmental Conservation Club: This club could take on a wide variety of tasks, from starting a recycling initiative at the school to making field trips out to the beach to pick up trash. Perhaps you could focus on a different environmental effort every semester and plan your events/activities around that to keep it interesting. For more info, see How to Show Colleges You Support Sustainability.
  4. Soup Kitchen Club: Organize volunteer opportunities for your club members by visiting a local soup kitchen. You could also hold donation drives through the club to try and help out your local soup kitchen and/or other shelters in your community.
  5. Operation Smile Club: Operation Smile is an organization that provides free surgeries to children with a cleft lip. You can help up by setting up a chapter at your school that supports them. You can organize various fundraisers to donate to Operation Smile, organize a walk to raise awareness about the cause, or have networking chats with a member or someone the organization helped to see how impactful the organization is.

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Academic Clubs


  1. Tutoring Club: You could start a club where the students who understand a particular subject or perhaps have taken a class before can come to offer their knowledge and services to those students who may be struggling in that particular subject. This club would be a great way to bring the campus community together by pairing up students who may not usually associate with one another inside or outside of the classroom.
  2. Mathletes: A mathlete is anyone who competes in mathematics competitions at any level or age. In many areas around the United States, there are circuits of Mathletic competitions, and there’s even an International Mathematical Olympiad that would allow you and your team to compete against students in other countries if you qualify. So if you’re into  mathematics and want to continuously brush up your skills, this is the club you should start.
  3. Science Olympiad: Science Olympiad is an American team competition in which students compete in ‘events’ pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 7,300 middle school and high school teams from 50 U.S. states compete each year. This is definitely a club worth considering for all you future STEM majors out there.
  4. Book Club: You could arrange a club where the club members read one required book a week/month and then can come together in a meeting to discuss it. You’d be amazed at the intellectual conversations and debates you can have about a theme or plotline of a novel. You could also go out into the community and promote literacy by donating books or organizing a book drive for a local library or homeless shelter.
  5. Creative Writing Club: This club could be all about creativity and letting members’ imagination run wild. The point of this club should be to improve everyone’s writing skills by having everyone write a small piece and then share it with the rest of the club for edits and helpful critiques. At the end of a semester, you could potentially publish everyone’s work in a magazine for your school or even on an online website.
  6. Future Medical Professionals Club: This club could provide resources and experience for those people who are planning to be doctors someday. You could have doctors and nurses come in and discuss their professions, volunteer as a group at a local hospital or clinic, or arrange to have members shadow doctors and nurses.


Cultural Clubs


  1. Spanish/French/Foreign Language Clubs: If you have been taking a language for a while and have really enjoyed it or if there is a unique language that you speak at home that isn’t represented at your school, you should consider starting a club that revolves around that language. Only speak that language in club meetings, offer tutoring in that subject to students who are trying to learn, host events that promote the local culture where that language is spoken, and even try to plan a trip out to a country that speaks that language.
  2. Religion Clubs: If you are very religious or simply want to engage with more students who share your religion, you can start a club dedicated to a specific religion. You all could discuss the religious texts, arrange activities for certain religious holidays, and even talk about how your religion is portrayed by others in society today. Be careful, however. Many schools may be hesitant to allow such a club because they don’t want to appear to be promoting a certain religion at the school. You’ll need to be sure to stress that you are NOT trying to convert people or break any federal laws.
  3. Cultural Appreciation Clubs: To start this club, pick a culture or a country that you have roots in or are passionate about and arrange various school-wide activities that promote awareness and celebrate that culture. To learn all about cultural appreciation clubs and how to start them, check out Cultural Appreciation Clubs: Celebrating Your Heritage, Educating Others, and Boosting Your College Applications.


Hobby Clubs


  1. Chess Club: Not only could you practice and perfect your chess skills, but you could also have your club participate in local, regional, and national competitions. You could even host a competition yourselves and have weekly discussions about the best strategies.
  2. Cooking Club: This club could be all about learning new recipes and perfecting good cooking skills. You could perhaps have everyone learn one new recipe per week, try it out at home, and then bring it to a club meeting for everyone to try and give feedback. You could also discuss best cooking techniques, plan trips to local restaurants, and watch cooking shows together.
  3. Film Club:. In this club, you could watch films and then discuss them and even have the club create their own short films to submit to film festivals. For more information, see How To Start a Film Club in High School.
  4. Knitting/Sewing Club: This club could host workshops on how to stitch, sew, and knit various articles of clothing and other objects. You all could create some handmade clothes and other items that you could donate to a local shelter.
  5. Outdoors Club: With this club, you and the other members could get out of the familiar campus life and do some exciting things together like hiking, biking, camping, fishing, etc. Every meeting could have a different adventure associated with it.
  6. Video Games Club: Gather together a bunch of video game enthusiasts to engage in friendly video game competitions, discuss strategies for certain games, and even bring in people who work in the video game industry to discuss possible careers in the field.
  7. Improv Club: You could hold workshops on how to improv, play improv games, hold club-wide competitions, and even put on improv performances once per semester/year.
  8. Investment Club: This form of investment club usually meets to develop interest in investing and teach the intricacies of investing to high school students so that they know how to invest smartly in the future. You will probably need to consult an adult community member who has experience in professional investing to make this club happen.
  9. Dance Club: This fun exercise club could be all about exploring and trying out different dance styles. Every meeting, you all could learn some basic moves and routines of different dance styles around the world. This will probably require you to bring in experts or students who know how to perform and teach different dance styles.


Political Clubs


  1. Young Democrats/Young Republicans/Party Affiliation Clubs: In this club, you could not only discuss political issues from the lense of a certain party’s ideology but you could mobilize to support the party’s efforts. This includes things like volunteering to help a campaign, planning a political rally, and getting signatures to garner support for a particular bill.
  2. High School Political Review: A blend of politics and journalism, the politically aware students at your school could write content that comments and reports on the top political issues of the day. You could publish their work on an online website or perhaps even in the form of a print publication to be handed out at school.


For More Information


Hopefully you now have a better idea of what kinds of clubs you can start and participate in during high school. For more detailed help on how to start your own high school clubs, see these previous blog posts:


Organizing Your New Club

How to Start a Club In High School

How to Start a Discussion Club In High School


Finally, if you would like to work on your extracurricular and academic profile so that you can impress colleges in the future, you should take a look at CollegeVine’s Mentorship Program. Combining mentorship with engaging content, insider strategies, and personalized analyses, our program provides students with the tools to succeed. As students learn from successful older peers, they develop confidence, autonomy, and critical thinking skills.

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Sadhvi Mathur

Sadhvi Mathur

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Sadhvi is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, double majoring in Business Administration and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!
Sadhvi Mathur