Extracurricular vs Supercurricular Activities


This is a follow-up to our Webinar: How our counselors have developed best practices when remote teaching.


This is an excellent resource shared by our Counselor, Buket Ayaz from Uptown International School in Dubai. It delves into the difference between Extracurricular and Supercurricular Activities, and provides a list of links for students to help them discover online courses, MOOCs and more! It was very popular in our Webinar and hence we have decided to share it with everyone. You can listen to the excellent UniPod (special mention to Josie Campbell) on the same topic here.


ECA's and SCA's in the spotlight:

The main difference is that SCA’s offer demonstration of enthusiasm towards the course/major and prepares students for their chosen careers whereas ECA’s are activities outside of the curriculum adding to the enrichment and skills development of the student not directly related to the career/major/course.


Supercurricular Activities:

  • Demonstrates enthusiasm and curiosity for your subject
  • The capacity to be an autonomous learner
  • Active thinking and reflection on your chosen course
  • Consolidate revision
  • Enhance your resume/CV
  • Help you prepare for interviews and pre-university assessments
  • Enrich your personal statement


Extracurricular Activities:

  • Helps students express themselves outside of the classroom
  • Improves high skills set such as leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Explore passions further


Good examples for SCA's:

Internships, job shadowing opportunities, career taster days, society memberships in school, debate clubs, taster and masterclasses, online university-level courses (MOOC's), pre-college programs, TED videos, further reading, follow specialist subject blogs, create your own blog, online research, subject related competitions, magazine subscriptions, MUN.

**Why would want to choose to do an SCA: Especially if applying to courses in the UK in which you need to demonstrate subject focus. Additionally, universities that require a motivational letter or personal statement with a focus on demonstrated course passion would highly benefit from SCAs. 


Good Examples for ECA’s:

High School Prefects, voluntary work, charity fundraising, trips, sports clubs, instrument playing,  student council/government, drama performances, community service, and athletics.

**Why would one want to do an ECA: Especially applying to universities with a holistic admissions approach that considers students’ unique experiences and academic success as a whole. 



Some resources for online learning and development are:

-Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com

-Online courses:

-Further Reading Options:

-Online research with US professors: https://pioneeracademics.com

-Online debate clubs such as MUN Online:

-Online Career Exploration Days and Summer Pre-College Program Options:

-High IQ Society: https://www.mensa.org

-Amazing Resource for Super-curricular Activities from Cambridge:




Myth Busters about applications!

  1. The more the ECA's the better! FALSE.  This comes from the notion that colleges are looking for well-rounded students, but not anymore, they prefer quality over quantity and they want to see students following their passions.
  2. International students can never get full rides! FALSE. Truly wrong, if planned out well in advance, students can get full rides no matter the nationality.
  3. Admissions officers may check social media accounts to know the student better -TRUE. This will only be done on a case-to-case basis, however, they don't really have the time to do this as part of the process. 
  4. Early applications are always an advantage FALSE. If students would benefit from another year of high school work to show to colleges and improve their standardized test scores, they should not apply early!
  5. The higher the ranking the better the college! FALSE. Rankings are usually based on limited factors and can't capture the diversity of a university, we need to teach our students to focus on finding the FIT.
  6. Liberal arts colleges don’t have good science-related programs. FALSE. "Liberal arts is the short version for liberal arts and sciences" and it is not necessarily only related to humanities. These colleges actually have great science programs and great opportunities to dive deep into research in smaller classrooms. 
  7. Valedictorians get into top universities.  FALSE. There is no one factor in admissions overriding all others so although this may be a factor it won't be the only factor considered for acceptance.


Was this article helpful?
4 out of 4 found this helpful