Extracurricular vs Supercurricular Activities


This is a follow up to our Webinar: How our counsellors 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 towards 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 master classes, online university level courses (MOOC's), precollege programs, TED videos, further reading, follow specialist subject blogs, create your own blog, online research, subject related competitions, magazine subscriptions, MUN.


Good Examples for ECA’s:

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


***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 which require a motivational letter or personal statement with a focus on demonstrated course passion would highly benefit from SCAs. 


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


What can students do now at the comfort of their homes:

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

-Online courses: ClassCentral (Buket's personal favourite), UDEMY, Coursera, EDX

-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:


-Volunteer to teach students your age


Myth Busters!!!

  1. The more the ECA's the better! X (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! X (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
  4. Early applications are always an advantage X (if you would benefit from another year of high school work to show to colleges and improve your standardized test scores, then do not apply early!)
  5. The higher the ranking the better the college! (rankings are usually based on limited factors and cant 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. (Considering the size, the undergraduate research options abundant for students, involvement in meaningful projects, and the ability to blended learning with humanities is a gain for softer skills)
  7. Valedictorians get into top universities. (There is no one factor in admissions overriding all others so although this may be a factor it wont be the only factor in your acceptance)


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