#028 What extracurriculars should your teen pursue?

Episode Summary

Time is you and your teen’s most valuable asset. Eventually, your teen will share on college applications how they spend their time outside of the classroom. And how that time is invested impacts if they get admitted. This solo episode is all about extracurriculars that eventually land in the Activities section of their Common Application going to the colleges. Which ones are the “good” ones? Are there any bad ones? What if you don’t have many? I hope that you can walk away from this episode with a better understanding of what gives an extracurricular activity more value for your teen and then pursue those.  

Episode Notes

We all know that extracurricular activities are important for your student’s high school experience. They help make your teen’s college application unique and interesting as well as showcase who they are, but what exactly are colleges looking for? Should your teen be signing up for anything and everything they can before senior year? What if they don’t have enough going on to fill in all spots on the application? What if they have more than ten?

In this episode, I’ll share which activities tend to have a higher value, and which you may be able to let fall by the wayside. Sometimes, quality really is better than quantity, and I am going to share with you some of the filters you can use to determine which activities will give the most bang for your buck in developing your teen and on that college app.

I will guide you into how to access and filter all the different opportunities vying for your student’s time and I have a special test I run activities through that will help inform how high the value is. It’s a super simple strategy. You’ll leave this episode inspired to think outside the box and get creative instead of simply choosing the cookie cutter options. 

Maybe it’s time to rethink some current activities, or even come up with some new ones that don’t exist yet. I believe that we should actively encourage our teens to be purposeful about their pursuits, and seek out activities that promote longevity and leadership. I hope that after you listen to this episode, you will be inspired to have family conversations to consider the coming school year with a sense of creativity and courage.


  • What’s the right number of extracurricular activities for a student to have
  • How students showcase extracurriculars when applying to college
  • Considerations for teens to filter how they invest their time
  • Lisa’s “test” for a high-value extracurricular activity

Listen on…the Flourish Site, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite platform. 

“College & Career Clarity with Lisa is so helpful!”  ← Is that you? If so, please consider rating and reviewing my show so I can resource more families and eliminate overwhelm. Thank you!!

Links mentioned in this episode

Podcast on College Essays

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

Launch College and Career Clarity Facebook Community


[2:25] Put a broader lens on extracurriculars. How do you spend your time outside the classroom?

[4:35] What is a high-value extracurricular?

[5:22] Be purposeful about your pursuits, and look for longevity and leadership. Stick with it.

[8:33] Don’t stick with something if it’s not for you.

[9:50] Activities that are difficult to describe can often be higher-value extracurriculars.

[10:50] Outcomes of extracurriculars

[11:40] Many colleges expect students to pick a major before applying. Extracurriculars can help students make informed decisions.

[16:48] Challenge for the week: have an intentional conversation about how your student is spending his or her time outside the classroom.

Access the episode transcript here.