Extracurricular Activities Guide

07/07/20217 minute read
Extracurricular Activities Guide

Extracurricular Activities Guide

Your extracurriculars need the right blend. These guidelines aren't a definitive list, but a rule of thumb. They'll help you structure your passion, your ambition and your goodwill in a way that resonates with admissions officers.

You need to show you can take initiative and improve the community across a variety of fields.

So, your extracurriculars can include:

  • Career Activity
  • Community Activity
  • The ‘You’ Activity

First, the career activity

This extracurricular is related to what you hope to study - Medicine - and shows the admissions team that you are extremely excited about this particular area of study.

Schools want to admit students who are hard-working and passionate about medicine. You need to show that you’re pursuing medicine not just for the money or prestige; you’re going for it because without that degree, you couldn’t be you!


  • Volunteer at a hospital
  • Become a Mathlete or an Olympiad
  • Work for the school newspaper
  • Write an article
  • Get mentored by a doctor
  • Job shadow a Doctor

Second, the community activity

This extracurricular shows that you give up your time to help the community or people in need. It shows admissions officers you proactively care and want to make changes in the world.

Showing that you can take charge when something concerns you and you’re willing to put in the time demonstrates initiative, dedication, and perseverance – all attractive attributes.

Ensure you choose something that is important to you and that you commit enough time to make an impact – at least 12 months or more. The longer you participate, the more you contribute and your progress will strengthen your application.

Working in community service reinforces what you’ve already learned and develops valuable skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, while demonstrating your civic responsibility.

A simple search on Google regarding your interests is the easiest way to get started. A quick phone call also produces similar results.


  • Hospitals – To study medicine, enjoy fast-paced work.
  • Schools – Working with teenagers and kids, and enjoying creativity and teaching.
  • Animal Shelters – Loves animals and considering a career in animal care.
  • Nursing Homes – Strong personality and likes senior citizens.
  • Food Banks – Cooking and gardening, wanting to help those in need, and would rather work behind the scenes than face-to-face.
  • Libraries – Enjoys reading, working with kids, and have great organisational skills.
  • Parks – Interested in the environment or love the outdoors.

Finally, the ‘You’ activity

This is the big one! The one that screams your personality and shows the admission officers what makes you tick.

Often, this will be tied to your career or community activity, which means you’ll be covered. For example, you want to study medicine so you volunteer at a hospital and at a research lab.

Or, it can completely divert from the narrative in your other activities to give a better picture of you as a whole. For example, you create YouTube videos in your spare time (which you also use as a platform to promote your community activity).

The ‘You’ activity has an element of surprise, because it doesn’t necessarily align with your other pursuits; rather, it reflects your excitement for life – it should show that you live your life in a proper and ethical way. It will show that there’s more to you than just study and you’re motivated by more than just your future career as a Doctor.

The activity cannot be something self-involved, like being a diamond-ranked Starcraft player or building 10,000 followers on Instagram.

To have an extracurricular and leadership project planning, execution and reporting plan tailored for you, find out more about our Admissions Support service.

So, in summary - this extracurricular should:

  • Continue your personal narrative of ethical community activity, and pursuing your career will make a positive difference
  • Divert to exhibit your uniqueness, your meaningful and sustained contributions, your ability to work with others, and that you work with people from all races, cultures, and class.

The best extracurricular activity examples:

Are you worried about whether your extracurriculars are telling your personal story?

Here are the key qualities to an extracurricular that make them effective. They can be any hobby or activity as long as they show these qualities.

  • Key Quality
  • Demonstrates practicing a hobby or activity for several years
  • Commitment, passion
  • Taking initiative, getting things done
  • Leadership, gets results
  • Increasing your responsibility, expanding your role
  • Work ethic, passion, initiative, willingness to be challenged, gets out of comfort zone
  • Mentoring other people
  • Positivity, you have peer respect, ability to foster relationships, making an impact, contributing to the future
  • Making something from scratch
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, self-starter, leadership, drive, passion, initiative

Final Thoughts

The importance of extracurricular activity is clear: admissions officers use them to assess your passion, your responsibility and your ethics.

A good guideline to follow is choosing extracurricular activity around your career, your community and your passion - or combine them all into one super extracurricular. Then we listed plenty of examples to inspire you.

If you’d like to learn more about the medical school admissions, check out our free eBooks and blogs!