Importance of extracurriculars to US universities?

How important are extracurriculars to US universities? Would you still need to be in heaps of clubs/teams/organisations etc. if your high school grades are decent (e.g. mostly E’s in NCEA)? I feel like theres a lot more of an emphasis on extracurriculars to american uni’s compared to NZ uni’s where academics seems to be the sole focus. Is that true?

2 Replies


Academics is the sole focus for NZ Universities definitely.

Without any extracurriculars, you could have perfect grades and not get accepted to top US schools. Obviously, perfect academics means that extracurriculars are somewhat less important, but there’s no way around it - US schools require them. Mostly E’s in NCEA is definitely not enough to be accepted with limited EC stuff, at least not to top schools.

What kinds of places are you looking at, and I can give you some more targeted advice?



I’d definitely say extracurriculars are a huge part in successful applications to US universities. However, the second question concerning participation in numerous clubs/teams/organisations needs a bit of review. It is not how many activities you take part in that will impress an admission officer, but rather the quality of those activities and how invested you are. These activities should not just be impressive but also should reflect certain aspects of your personality in order to show universities who you are.

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