Common App, Supplemental Essays

How to Write a Great Extracurricular Activity Essay: Complete Guide + Examples

Here are a few more examples to get you inspired. 

Note that the authors of these didn’t give them title, but I’ve given them generic titles to make referring to them easier and to break up the text on this blog post.


Developer, one minute; stop bath, 30 seconds; fixer, two minutes. Under the red beam of safelights a new photo comes to life, a carefully crafted compilation of dark shadows, light skies, and all the greys in between. 

I’ve spent many hours exploring photography using film cameras, pinhole cameras, plastic cameras, Polaroids, digital cameras, and disposables. I scour antique stores for old cameras to experiment with and learn from. As a result of my passion for photography, I have become one of my school’s photographers, responsible for documenting school events and teaching younger students darkroom techniques. Making decisions in the darkroom about contrast filters and apertures has made me more confident in my ability to make choices quickly. I also use my photography to advance social justice causes by drawing attention to issues such as unattainable standards for women’s bodies. (139 words)


In eighth grade, I created an art piece addressing a stereotype I had faced and posted it online, encouraging my friends to do the same and hashtag it #StereotypeProject. The drawing snowballed into a viral movement, gathering the attention of over 1,000 youth artists worldwide, each contributing their own stories and drawings. The Stereotype Project has since grown, extending into local schools and calling on the next generation to stand strong against the biases they face due to race, gender, sexual orientation, mental illness, and more.  In a time of increasing youth activism and reminders of the potential we have as young revolutionaries, the Stereotype Project is a channel for creative expression, unity, and a means of imparting a positive impact on the world. Our website continues to be live and accept submissions: stereotypeproject.org. (136 words)

Hospital Internship

Upon applying to Irvine Regional Hospital, I was told there were no spaces for Junior Volunteers. After securing additional recommendations, however, I reapplied and was finally accepted and assigned Front Desk duties, where I delivered flowers, transported biopsy samples to labs, directed visitors, and answered nurse requests. Unfortunately, the hospital was shut down due to lack of funds, and hundreds of workers became unemployed, including me. It was distressing to experience the effects of a declining economy. When Kaiser Permanente opened, my applications were also initially rejected. But by requesting an interview, I proved my qualifications from past experiences and was specially assigned to Medical Surgery instead of the Gift Shop. I answered patients’ requests, administered patient surveys, organized wound documentations, filed records, delivered blood and urine samples, assisted nurses with check-ups, stocked supply carts, updated dietary needs with doctors, and discharged patients safely. (146 words)

Summer Job

Regular Dog: $1.49. Jimmy’s Famous: $1.89. Twenty-five cents for cheese. Bologna’s out. Milkshake machine’s broken. Refill sweet tea.

As cashier at Jimmy’s Hot Dogs, I was everything but the cook. After day one, my hair stood straight and old southern ladies sympathetically asked oh honey, is it your first shift? I wanted to cry.

But, an hour before closing, Nondas, the cook, checked the register. He smiled and said “Luci Lou, you the best.” Stress forgotten, we danced around the kitchen in celebration, talking about his brothers in Greece, World Cup soccer, and grilled fish.

After that, I didn’t feel alone. I had Nondas. I had the regulars. And I had the southern ladies to back me up. Jimmy’s taught me to value the people that make a job worthwhile. To focus on the positive when there’s soccer to be watched and perfectly grilled fish to be eaten. (150 words)


Two years ago I won the Coach’s Award without ever stepping on the volleyball court. How? Sophomore year, a stress fracture prevented me from practicing, but I came to every practice and game to encourage and laugh with my teammates. At the end of the year, I won the award based on my positivity.

The subsequent year, I transferred schools and tried out for volleyball. Due to MHSAA rules, I couldn’t play because of the transfer, but I could practice. I never missed one, worked hard, and acted as team manager. So guess what happened? I won the Coach’s Award again, this time from a different coach. Again, without ever having set foot on the court.

While I’m not sure I’ll play D1 or D2 sports, I know for sure that one of my favorite activities ever is being positive and I plan to continue it at Michigan. (148 words)

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