The 13 Best Extracurricular Activities for College Students

A group of cheerful students sitting on the grass in the park, talking and laughing

Taking part in extracurricular activities at university isn’t just an excellent way to boost your CV before you head out into the real world. They’re also a great way to meet new people, develop new skills and pursue other interests beyond academia.

Whether you’re a freshman in college or in the final year of your degree course, this list of extracurricular activities has a little something for everybody!

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is an extracurricular activity that you simply can’t go wrong with.

There are many organisations that you can be a volunteer for and several roles you could take on, depending on your interests and abilities, including promotion, fundraising and event planning. But there’s a lot more to volunteering than just that.

From helping out at a community centre to teaching children and lending a hand at local animal shelters, there’s always something to do!

Of course, volunteering will impress any employer, as it shows that you are a kind and caring person. More importantly, however, it’s a highly rewarding activity that will significantly benefit your community.

2. Join the Student Newspaper

Student newspapers are always a great way to spend your time at college. Even if you aren’t interested in pursuing a career in journalism, you will improve your writing skills, as well as meet interesting people and enjoy cool perks like free press passes. Most importantly, you’ll contribute your voice and opinion to different newsworthy stories, such as a sports or features piece.

Of course, being part of the student newspaper will boost your chances of employability and will be an excellent way of gaining valuable experience in the field.

3. Start Your Own Business

Not to add to the stereotype but, as a college student, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to earn some extra cash.

Starting your own business is one of the best ways to do just that, as it allows you to gain invaluable experience and it also shows potential employers that you take initiative and that you are resourceful.

4. Join a Debate Team

If you’re interested in current affairs and enjoy public speaking, this could be the perfect extracurricular activity for you. By joining your school’s debate team, you’ll have the chance to engage in meaningful discussions and connect with peers who share similar interests to you. Not only that, but you’ll also develop your critical thinking, argumentation and presentation skills, all of which will be also benefit your degree.

The transferable skills that you build from this, meanwhile, will make you a real asset for any future employer. Plus, as an experienced debater, future interviews will seem like a walk in the park!

5. Get an Internship

If you want to gain experience in a field you’re interested in, an internship would be the best way to go about it. As an intern, you’ll have the chance to learn about the functions and needs of an organisation and gain useful transferable skills. Meanwhile, you will be given the opportunity to expand your network and meet professionals in the industry who may be able to help you secure employment after your studies.

That said, your internship doesn’t need to be specific to your degree. Indeed, expanding your knowledge beyond your subject of study could make you an interesting job candidate.

6. Join a Cause

University is a great place to pursue things you’re passionate about. Investing your time in a cause that you consider to be important would be the best way to get more involved then. This could range from a political campaign to an activist group or a charity event.

How you get involved in these is also up to you. You could join as a volunteer, an intern or simply as a participant!

It’s also a great way to meet likeminded people and connect with communities beyond the college campus. From an employer’s perspective, these activities will reflect on you as an active citizen, an action taker and a person who is eager to take initiative.

7. Get a Part-Time Job

Getting a job doesn’t necessarily mean working within your field of study. Indeed, only a few part-time jobs at college require specialised skills. Nonetheless, they’re an excellent way to boost your savings and develop a range of skills.

There are many part-time jobs around, but the usual gigs involve bartending at coffee shops and bars, waiting on tables and working in retail. Pro tip: jobs on campus usually pay more, offer flexible hours and better working conditions.

As for future employers, having a part-time job at university, regardless of the field, will emphasise your work ethic and make you more employable.

8. Join a Sports Team

Irrespective of your skills, joining a sports team is another good idea. The most obvious benefit is that you can improve your fitness while also learning something new.

Most sports clubs are divided into different ability levels, so if competing at university isn’t on your bucket list, you could still train with a team more casually. This could also be a great opportunity to form strong bonds with people outside your course and have some fun.

As a member of a sports team, you’ll develop your teamwork and leadership skills, both of which will look great on your CV. It might even be a good conversation starter with prospective employers, especially if they were also the goalie at their college’s lacrosse team!

9. Join a Dance Society

If sports aren’t your cup of tea, but you want to get in a good workout, why not join a dance society?

You don’t have to be a skilled dancer, either. Even for those of us with two left feet, it’s a great way to meet new people and burn some calories. Besides, dancing can be a great stress-buster, especially during exams.

As for life after college, adding dancing on your CV will emphasise that you have diverse interests. Maybe you could amaze potential employers with both your academic achievements and your samba skills!

10. Join an Arts Society

The world of arts is broad and diverse. It spans from plays to dance concerts and marching bands to singing groups and pottery classes. So, whether you’re a creative person or just curious to learn new things, there are a lot of options to choose from.

If you want to pursue a career in the arts after college, this is a great way to gain experience and polish your skills. Even if you chose to do arts as a side venture, your involvement will highlight your creativity on your CV and show you’re a multitalented person.

11. Get involved in Student Governance

An excellent way to use your time at university is by joining student governance.

There are multiple roles you could take on, depending on your own interests and agenda. For example, you could be an academic representative for your department or a member of the student council. Either way, you’ll have a say in crucial topics concerning your university as well as your degree, and your input could shape other students’ experiences. In other words, you will have the chance to develop essential leadership skills.

Initiative and diligence are attractive qualities for any employer, and your active involvement in student politics can help you land a job in your field of choice.

12. Join a Culture Society

Nowadays, there are hundreds of nationalities represented on every university campus, and it’s very common for international students to join societies that represent their home countries.

So, if you’re feeling a little homesick, this can be a great way to stay in touch with your country’s traditions and connect with other people who are on the same boat as you. Of course, these groups aren’t exclusive, and other people often also join to learn more about a country’s culture and to meet new people!

13. Travel

Extracurricular activities don’t necessarily mean clubs and societies. If none of the previous suggestions strikes your fancy, perhaps travelling is the best way to spend your free time.

Albeit a little more time-consuming, travelling has endless benefits and is also a lot of fun.

You’ve probably heard this one before but let me reiterate: university is the best time to travel. Chances are you will have few real-life commitments to keep you from packing your bags and setting off to another continent. But travelling isn’t limited to expensive transcontinental trips.

Even if you explore local areas, you’ll still get something out of it. To add to that, top employers appreciate a candidate’s sense of adventure and developed cultural perspective.

University is a truly wonderful place full of endless opportunities. The truth is your time there will be over in the blink of an eye – which is why you should make the most out of it! Although your degree will probably be at the top of your priorities, you should fill yours with more than just coursework and late-night library sessions.

Taking on an extracurricular activity or two will allow you to maximise your time there, form new friendships and learn new skills. The knowledge you can get from it will not only enrich your overall university experience but will also be a useful asset for life after school. So why not give some of these a try?

Can you think of any other extracurricular activities that would be great for college students? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!