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)

FAQs About High School Extracurriculars

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Shravya Kakulamarri in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info. 


What’s Covered



How Are Extracurriculars Viewed?


Your GPA and scores will be the biggest factors looked at during the admissions process. This is because colleges need to make sure you will succeed academically at their schools. Once you’ve met this threshold, then admissions officers will start looking at your extracurriculars and Common App essay. 


Extracurriculars are viewed as a way to learn more about you as a person and your interests. Your experiences and your essays will give them the most insight into who you are, so they are very important. If you weren’t involved in many extracurriculars during your freshman year and only got involved later in high school, that’s completely fine. Your sophomore, junior, and senior years in high school are the most critical, so if you had a slow start during your freshman year, don’t stress about it.  


How Do I Show Commitment in My Extracurriculars?


The best way to show commitment and dedication is through time. By being part of an organization for multiple years in a row, you demonstrate you are dedicated to that topic. You don’t even need to be in the same organization the entire time. If you are in extracurriculars that are all centered on one topic, you show that you are passionate about that area. This is especially beneficial if this topic is related to your major or desired career path. 


If there is a topic you are passionate about and see yourself committing to for the next two or three years, follow that path. Your extracurriculars are important because they show admissions officers your interest without you explicitly stating anything. Another great way to show commitment to your extracurriculars is with leadership. If you join your extracurricular and then rise to a leadership position, you show dedication to the subject and self-improvement. 


What Happens If My Extracurriculars Aren’t Club-Based?


Whether your extracurriculars are club-based is not as important as the type of extracurricular you are involved in or the skills you’ve gained. Having club-based extracurriculars is one option, but any extracurriculars outside of this are just as strong. Club-based extracurriculars have a lot of structure with a dedicated leader who oversees the activities. However, extracurriculars outside of your school will require more initiative on your part. You most likely won’t have someone guiding you at every step, so there is a lot of room for independence. As with school-club-based activities, you can demonstrate your passions while also showcasing skills that you can’t get in clubs.


Should I Volunteer at a Politician’s Office?


This kind of high school extracurricular is very valuable, especially if you are interested in a minor or major in political science. Volunteering in the office of a politician shows that you are passionate about political science, so colleges will see that you’re committed when you put political science as your major. 


Even if you aren’t majoring in political science, this is still a great opportunity that will display incredible skills. The most important aspect of your extracurricular activities is to show the skills you’ve gained from them and how they can be applied to your major. While you can’t do this when filling out your application forms, you can write about this in your Common App or additional essays.