How to Maximize Your High School Extracurriculars

This post is part of a week-long series to help new high school and college students prepare for their freshman year. Throughout this week, visit the Varsity Tutors blog for advice, tips, and tricks for this critical transition.

High school poses a great opportunity to simultaneously expand your interests while strengthening your college applications through extracurricular activities. Each school varies in its offerings, but you’ll typically encounter a plethora of options, varying from student council to robotics club. As a high school freshman, though, how do you make the most of your involvement? You can maximize your high school extracurriculars by understanding the requirements of each, stepping out of your comfort zone, and connecting with your peers.

Maximize your high school extracurriculars by being reasonable with your time

Estimate how much time you’ll realistically have after school and on weekends for extracurricular activities. Be careful not to overestimate your free time—starting high school can quickly become overwhelming. It takes some adjustment, and your grades are of the utmost importance. If your grades start to suffer because your time is taken up by too many activities, you’ll need to reassess your priorities. Even if you have the time, it might be overwhelming to have an activity for hours after school every day. Be intentional with how you spend your time—remember that you only have so much. When you do select the appropriate number of activities, the time you dedicate to them will be more meaningful.

[RELATED: 4 Things to Know Before Starting High School]

Maximize your high school extracurriculars by understanding requirements

Clubs and teams have differing requirements and commitments. Before joining, ask an upperclassman or the activity adviser the following questions:

  • What’s the general time commitment for this activity?

  • Will I be required to dedicate weekend time?

  • Who is involved in both participation and advising?

If you’re about to start mock trial, for example, you’ll want to know how much practice time will be required leading up to the competition. If you’re on a sports team, you’ll need to know when you’ll be traveling and what extra equipment you’ll need. It’s much better to know the requirements at the start, rather than later on in the process.

Maximize your high school extracurriculars by stepping out of your comfort zone

The beauty of starting a new school is that you get to try new things. Maybe you’ve always played basketball, but you’re also interested in art club. Take this opportunity to analyze any interests you may have, and see what your school offers. Trying something new gives you a chance to grow, meet new people, and develop new interests.

[RELATED: 5 Qualities of Outstanding High School Leaders]

Maximize your high school extracurriculars by getting to know your peers

A great benefit of extracurricular activities is the ability to expand your social circle and connect with other students who share your interests. You may meet an entirely different group of people in these activities than you have in your classes. Spend time getting to know the other members of your group to learn about their interests and additional opportunities on campus that they may be involved in. High school can be intimidating, and having a good support system can make things easier.

[RELATED: What Does It Mean to Be a “Well-Rounded” Student?]

Extracurricular activities are a chance to learn and grow with your fellow classmates. Take advantage of what’s available to you, but don’t overextend yourself by committing to too much. Examine your time, and spend it wisely. Maximize your high school extracurriculars by stepping out of your comfort zone and forming lasting bonds with fellow students.

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at