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Show Leadership with Self-Driven Activities

This was a major topic during the pandemic when clubs/sports were canceled, but I’m revisiting it because many of my students have solid rigor, grades, and test scores but few extracurricular activities. Why do these matter? Extracurriculars are like “Why Us? Essays,” showing colleges how you will enhance their communities if admitted.

Whatever you are already doing can always be improved upon. Playing a sport or two is great, but if you are not planning to be a college athlete, what else can you offer? The answer is “plenty.”

If you’re athletic, think about self-driven options in addition to or instead of organized sports. 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)! Combine sports and community service by organizing a charity run/walk. Offer and run free Zoom exercise classes for your classmates (several of my 2020/2021grads did this). Organize/run an afterschool or summer sports class/camp for children (again, a popular activity for my students during the pandemic when real camp options were canceled). More of an artist/reader/writer than an athlete? You could start a similar class/camp for arts/crafts, a YA book club, or journal/short story writing.

These self-motivated extracurriculars are especially valuable from a college admission standpoint, because they show leadership (initiative and independence) on your part. You’ll challenge yourself, build skills, and learn.

This is just a start! I’ve got many more ideas for extracurricular activities. Contact me at


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