Extracurricular Activities That Will Boost Your Uni Application


  1. Why is taking part in extracurricular activities important?
  2. Do UK universities care about extracurriculars?
  3. What counts as an extracurricular activity?
  4. What extracurricular activities look good on university applications?
  5. How do you list extracurricular activities on a uni application?


If you’re planning on applying for university in the next few years, you’re likely already thinking about what might help you get into the institution and degree course of your dreams. There are plenty of things that will help boost your chances of getting into the university of your choice. Taking part in extracurricular activities and listing them on your application form is a great way to show uni admissions teams that you’re a well-rounded, driven candidate with a range of skills beyond academic performance. 

Students hoping to add activities outside of school to their uni application can dedicate some of their time to a wide range of extracurricular activities – anything from attending summer school to brush up on certain topics, learning new skills or volunteering in your local community will count favourably on your application. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about extracurricular activities and give you some great tips for what you can take on alongside your studies!study-art-at-university (1)

Why is taking part in extracurricular activities important?


A big part of being in secondary school is planning for your future after leaving school. You’re likely wondering what you could do outside of school to ensure your personal statement and CV is the best it can be in order to ensure that you get into the university of your choice. 

While focusing on your coursework and ensuring you maintain high marks is most important if you’re hoping to gain access to one of the UK’s leading universities, being able to list extracurricular activities on your uni application can be something that sets you apart from other candidates.

In fact, spending time on extracurricular activities could help you determine where your true interests and passions lie – and it might help you choose the right field of study when the time comes to go to university. 

When applying for university, extracurricular activities can help your uni application stand out and show university admissions teams that you’re a driven, motivated person who is engaged in their local community. Dedicating time to extracurricular activities outside of school shows that you’re a self-starter keen to spend your free time developing your various skills and abilities.


Do UK universities care about extracurriculars?


For potential university students, listing any extracurricular activities on your CV and university application can really boost your chances of being accepted to the institution of your choice.  You may find yourself wondering, “why are extracurricular activities important for getting into college?” Well, the answer is that university admissions teams are looking for well-rounded candidates, who can demonstrate a range of skills and interests.

Keep in mind that admissions teams aren’t just looking at your academic skills and grades – they’re hoping to get a holistic view of who you are, what type of student you might be, and whether you’re a good fit for their institution. With that in mind, there’s no doubt that listing extracurricular activities can greatly benefit your uni application. 🙌

Though grades and test scores are important in securing you a place on a degree course and university you’re interested in, uni admissions teams will want to gain a full view of you as a candidate – and listing extracurricular activities and writing a great personal statement can definitely boost your uni application. 

Some secondary school students focus all of their attention on studying in order to gain the highest marks, forgetting that extracurricular activities can not only help them develop a lot of important skills and experience, but also help them secure a place at the course and institution of their choice. 


What counts as an extracurricular activity?


You may be wondering what some good extracurricular activities for university might be. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of things you can do as extracurricular activities that can be listed on your CV and university application. There’s bound to be something you enjoy that will look good on your future uni application!

Examples of extracurricular activities for young people include:

  • Volunteering
  • Joining a sports club
  • Taking online courses outside of the school curriculum
  • Teaching or tutoring others in something you’re skilled at
  • Learning a new language
  • Writing (blogging, creative writing, journalistic writing)
  • Learning how to play a musical instrument, or improving on your abilities 
  • Getting a part time job 
  • Learning a new craft or skill
  • Taking part in a traineeship or work experience 

We would recommend finding extracurricular activities that you’re interested in, that you can do regularly and enjoy outside of the classroom – and it’s wise to think ahead to what might look good on your uni application. Showing that you’re passionate about sports, learning or volunteering your time to help others will give university admissions teams a better understanding of who you are as a candidate.

If you have any particular skill or interest you’ve developed, helping your peers or younger kids enjoy those activities is a fantastic way to spend your time. Teaching kids how to play the guitar, draw or play a sport will help you develop teaching skills, communication and responsibility, and it’s an amazing thing to put down as an extracurricular activity on your uni application. 📝

Volunteering is another fantastic extracurricular activity that will look great on your university application, and it’s easy to get involved with. There are likely a number of worthwhile causes in your local community that could benefit from you dedicating your time, whether it’s on a regular basis throughout the school year or during holidays. 


What extracurricular activities look good on university applications?


If you’re trying to think of some good extracurricular activities for university, you’re in luck – many activities you already enjoy or are interested in can be listed on your uni application form as extracurricular activities. 

The best extracurricular activities to list on your uni application are those that demonstrate positive skills, values and abilities on your part. Showing that you’ve been able to hold down a part time job, either during the school year alongside your studies or during the summer holidays, will count favourably as an extracurricular activity on your uni application. Having a part time job, work experience or traineeship will give you great experience in the world of real work and help you develop a range of important skills – and for uni admissions teams, it’s a fantastic sign that you’re a great candidate for their institution.

Universities and colleges will also look very favourably on young people who choose to spend some of their time volunteering. Offering your time, skills and experience to your local community shows that you’re a compassionate, driven person who cares about those around you. Volunteering will help you develop a range of skills and desirable qualities that you may not be able to learn within an academic setting, such as communication skills, planning, time management and much more. ✔️

In terms of when to start extracurricular activities, you can start taking part in them whenever suits you – though getting an early start is recommended. If you’re worried you won’t have much time to dedicate to extracurricular activities during the school year, there’s no need to fret – holidays are a great time to engage in outside school activities that will be beneficial to add on your university application. The summer holidays are long, and there’s nothing stopping you from throwing yourself into something you’re interested in that will also boost your uni application down the line. 

The summertime is a fantastic time to commit to some extracurricular activities. You’ll have more free time to devote to what you’re choosing to pursue, and there are many opportunities available for young people hoping to bolster their uni application and personal statement. 


How do you list extracurricular activities on a uni application?


If you’re currently thinking ahead and planning your uni application, you likely already know that you’ll use UCAS to submit your application to the universities you’re interested in attending. Within the UCAS system, you’ll be able to list any extracurricular activities you’d like to highlight as part of your application – however, please keep in mind that it’s wise to only mention the activities that are most relevant to your future in academia.  

We know that deciding what course to take after secondary school can be stressful, and finding a university course that’s well suited to you is important. If you’re wondering how to find a university course that’ll be perfect for you, you should do some research on what’s available near you. We’d recommend that you spend some time thinking about what area you’d like to live in, what fields you enjoy and have skills in and what you’d be interested in studying before you find a degree and a university you’d like to apply for. There are a range of UK undergraduate courses, and it’s important that you consider this decision carefully. ☝️

If you need any extra support during your studies, GoStudent has a range of skilled tutors available – and you can try our online tutoring with a free trial lesson!