What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

100 Awesome Extracurricular Activities You Can Do At Home

What’s Covered:


Extracurricular activities are important for demonstrating your passions and talents, and they have varying levels of importance in the college admissions process. Extracurriculars are also often time-consuming—even more so when you calculate the time spent traveling to and from them. Luckily, there are numerous extracurriculars you can participate in from home. 


To give you some ideas, we’ve rounded up 100 self-driven activities you can do from the comfort of your own home.  


What Are Self-Driven Activities?


Essentially, any activity you take the initiative to do outside of an organized activity qualifies as a self-driven activity. For every organized activity, there’s almost certainly a self-driven counterpart. Take cross country and track for instance, which are organized sports. As a self-driven alternative, you could train for local 5ks on your own, or even longer distances like half-marathons (or, you could do both the organized and self-driven versions!). 


These self-motivated extracurriculars are especially valuable from a college admission standpoint because they show initiative and independence on your part. Self-driven activities also allow you to pursue an interest as deeply as you wish since you’re the one deciding what to do next. 


50 Awesome Extracurricular Activities You Can Do At Home




  1. Start a club or extracurricular that meets virtually via Skype or Zoom.
  2. Create or revise club materials, such as a training handbook.
  3. Find an online internship.
  4. Connect with a native language speaker virtually and learn a new language (or use an app like Duolingo).
  5. Compete in an online mock trial
  6. Participate in a virtual work experience program, like Forage.  
  7. Prepare for an academic competition.
  8. Apply to part-time jobs or internships.
  9. Learn how to play chess. 
  10. Crochet for a cause or your community.




  1. Tutor or teach a class via Skype or Zoom.
  2. Start a YouTube channel to teach specific academic concepts, like math, science, or foreign languages.
  3. Peer edit essays on Google Docs, or through CollegeVine’s Peer Essay review.
  4. Start a language discussion group.
  5. Create and share study materials like flashcards or exam review sheets.
  6. Form an online study group. 
  7. Compete in an online academic competition, like the National Economics Challenge.
  8. Form or join an online book club.
  9. Take an online course.
  10. Participate in an essay contest, like the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest.


Visual and Performing Arts


  1. Work on an animation project.
  2. Create a painting, sculpture, or other work of art.
  3. Create and sell products on Etsy.
  4. Practice monologues or scripts with a friend via Skype.
  5. Write a short play.
  6. Learn how to play an instrument.
  7. Start a virtual art feedback group.
  8. Write and record a song. 
  9. Take an online dance class.
  10. Start a film club. 


Digital Media/Literature


  1. Self-publish a book.
  2. Start a blog.
  3. Compose a story, essay, or article and submit it for publication.
  4. Write for your school newspaper or literary journal.
  5. Write an op-ed for your local newspaper. 
  6. Start a YouTube channel.
  7. Start a virtual workshop.
  8. Do social media work for a local charity or non-profit. 
  9. Start a podcast. 
  10. Learn about and start writing poetry. 




  1. Build a computer.
  2. Learn a programming language (teach yourself or take a course via Coursera, Codecademy, or another platform).
  3. Teach yourself a program like Adobe Creative Cloud.
  4. Create your own website.
  5. Teach a family member how to use a technological device.
  6. Design an app. 
  7. Take a coding camp. 
  8. Compete in an online robotics challenge
  9. Design, build, and launch a rocket. 
  10. Participate in an online hackathon.


Community Service


  1. Mentor a younger student virtually.
  2. Start an online fundraiser for a charitable cause, like the Red Cross
  3. Create marketing materials for a charitable organization.
  4. Write a proposal for a community garden or other initiative.
  5. Volunteer virtually using apps like Be My Eyes, which connects blind people with those who can see to help them do daily tasks like grocery shopping, finding the right remote button, or picking the right color shirt. See our list of remote community service opportunities for more ideas.
  6. Volunteer to support the elderly—helping them to order groceries online, scheduling doctors’ appointments virtually, or simply socializing via Skype or Zoom. 
  7. Virtually help a non-native English speaker learn the language.  
  8. Sign up to proofread an e-book converted from a public domain book.  
  9. Help translate or transcribe Ted Talks
  10. Start a petition to support a cause you believe in. 




  1. Raise money for a local candidate.
  2. Phone or text bank for a campaign.
  3. Creating marketing materials for a campaign.
  4. Create a virtual campaign to run for student office.
  5. Write and circulate a petition to change a school policy.
  6. Participate in an online model United Nations
  7. Join an online debate club. 
  8. Take part in a politically focused online internship. 
  9. Become an online activist for a cause you’re passionate about. 
  10. Join a political group, such as the Young Democrats of America or National Teenage Republicans




  1. Conduct independent research through surveys, interviews, and experiments you can do from home.
  2. Build solar panels for your home.
  3. Create your own compost area in your backyard, or plant a garden.
  4. Look into remote volunteering opportunities at a local hospital or nursing home, such as video chatting with patients and residents.
  5. Assist a local clinic virtually (e.g., with paperwork, scheduling, document translation, etc.).
  6. Increase sustainability and reduce waste in your home.  
  7. Compete in an online science competition.
  8. Participate in a virtual science fair. 
  9. Start an astronomy club and host real-time virtual meetings. 
  10. Help researchers by taking part in an event like the Great Backyard Bird Count




  1. Train for a marathon or half marathon.
  2. Start a virtual run/walk for a charitable cause.
  3. Devise sports team bonding activities you can do virtually, like core or cardio workouts via Zoom.
  4. Create a newsletter or YouTube channel with healthy eating tips or home workouts.
  5. Start or join an Esports team. 
  6. Form a virtual workout group with friends and hold each other accountable for meeting your goals.  
  7. Learn martial arts online. 
  8. Train and raise money for a charity bike ride. 
  9. Host a dance-a-thon fundraiser. 
  10. Become a park advocate


Health and Wellness


  1. Start practicing yoga.
  2. Learn how to meditate. 
  3. Publish a wellness-focused newsletter. 
  4. Learn how to cook healthy meals. 
  5. Take the zero waste challenge.  
  6. Participate in a program that makes you feel good—like One Tree Planted
  7. Explore your backyard. 
  8. Start a gratitude journal. 
  9. Limit your screen time and advocate for others to do so as well. 
  10. Start a neighborhood dog walking service. 


How Do Admissions Officers Evaluate Self-Driven Activities?


Typically, admissions officers break down extracurricular activities into four tiers, with Tier 1 representing the most unique activities that demonstrate exceptional achievement (usually at the national level), and Tier 4 representing the most common or frequently-seen activities (at the local level). It’s somewhat difficult to “rank” self-driven activities according to this model, but ultimately, the more unique an activity is, the more likely you are to stand out.  


If you’re wondering how impressive your extracurriculars are (self-driven or traditional), you can use our free admissions calculator to evaluate your activities. We break things down with easy-to-understand examples, and we’ll also let you know how to improve your admissions profile!


In general, try to make your self-driven activities as quantifiable as possible to help admissions officers evaluate them. For example, if you start a blog or website, track metrics like click-through rates (CTR) and unique visitors. Or, if you teach a class virtually, note the number of participants and scores you received on course evaluations. 


Your activities are also more likely to impress the admissions committee if they have an intellectual lens. That doesn’t mean your club needs to focus on Russian literature (although if that’s your cup of tea, go for it!); it just means you should try to take an intellectual angle on something you already enjoy. For instance, if you’re planning on starting a blog with beauty tips, you might include posts on the history of makeup or beauty trends in different cultures. 


This list is only a starting point—if you come up with another idea where you can flex your creative and intellectual muscles, by all means, go for it!


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.