Extracurricular Activities at UCLA

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

extracurricular activities for students

Extracurricular Activities at UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hosts a rich tapestry of extracurricular activities, providing students with an exceptional platform to explore interests, pursue passions, and develop skills outside classroom boundaries. This article delves into the significance, diversity, and advantages of engaging in extracurricular activities at UCLA.

Understanding the Importance of Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in comprehensive education. They serve as an essential component of the learning process, offering students unique perspectives and experiences beyond academic confines.

Participating in extracurricular activities allows students to explore their interests and passions outside of the classroom. It provides them with opportunities to pursue their hobbies, discover new talents, and develop a well-rounded personality. These activities not only enhance their academic knowledge but also equip them with valuable life skills that will benefit them in the long run.

Extracurricular activities offer a platform for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences. Whether it’s joining a sports team, participating in a debate club, or volunteering for a community service project, these activities provide practical opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. This experiential learning helps them develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to work collaboratively with others.

College students using a laptop in the court yard.

Benefits of Participating in Extracurricular Activities

Ranging from personal to professional, the benefits of participating in extracurricular activities are manifold. These activities build vital skills such as leadership, teamwork, time management, and problem-solving. They also promote self-confidence, resilience, and a sense of responsibility among students.

When students engage in extracurricular activities, they learn how to take on leadership roles and make decisions that impact the success of the group. This experience helps them develop strong leadership skills, including effective communication, decision-making, and the ability to motivate and inspire others.

Furthermore, involvement in these activities fosters creativity and provides a platform to explore and refine diverse talents. For many, they provide a much-needed break from rigorous academic pursuits and an opportunity to engage in social interaction.

Participating in extracurricular activities also opens doors to new friendships and networks. Students have the chance to meet people with similar interests and passions, forming connections that can last a lifetime. These social connections not only enhance their overall university experience but can also be valuable for future career opportunities.

Balancing Academics and Extracurricular Activities

While the advantages of extracurricular involvement are numerous, maintaining a balance between academics and these activities is crucial. Time management plays a vital role in ensuring that academic obligations are not compromised.

Students must learn to prioritize their commitments and allocate their time wisely. This means setting aside dedicated study hours, creating a schedule that allows for both academic and extracurricular activities, and learning to manage their time effectively. By doing so, students can excel academically while still actively participating in extracurricular pursuits.

Moreover, striking this balance can enhance overall productivity and efficiency, combat stress, and prevent burnout, thereby contributing to a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience.

It is important for students to remember that extracurricular activities should complement their academic goals and not overshadow them. By finding the right balance, students can reap the benefits of both their academic and extracurricular pursuits, leading to personal growth, skill development, and a memorable university journey.

Overview of Extracurricular Activities at UCLA

The diversity of extracurricular activities at UCLA is remarkable, catering to the varied interests of its student community. These activities span several categories, including sports, arts, and academic clubs.

UCLA is not just a place for academic pursuits, but also a hub for students to explore their passions and interests outside of the classroom. The university recognizes the importance of a well-rounded education and provides ample opportunities for students to engage in extracurricular activities that align with their personal interests and goals.

Group of students smiling and talking to each other about extracurricular activities at UCLA

Sports and Fitness Clubs

UCLA boasts a vibrant sports culture, providing opportunities for students interested in all realms of physical activity. From soccer, athletics, and badminton, to fitness and wellness clubs – there is an activity for every sports buff.

Participating in sports and fitness clubs at UCLA not only allows students to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it also fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. Students have the chance to form lasting friendships and create memories while engaging in their favorite sports.

The university also offers competitive sports opportunities through its intramurals and club sports programs wherein students compete at various levels. These pursuits not only promote physical wellness but also cultivate essential life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship.

UCLA students actively engage in a wide array of sports and recreational activities, whether it’s for competitive purposes or purely for leisure. UCLA Recreation plays a central role in this, offering instructional classes, an extensive intramural sports program comprising 30 leagues, tournaments, meets, special events, and a collection of 50 club sports, all of which are integral parts of UCLA’s extracurricular scene.

To cater to the diverse interests of students, UCLA provides an impressive array of amenities, including 15 multipurpose workout facilities and six pools scattered across the campus. At the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center in Marina Del Rey, students have the opportunity to explore water sports such as rowing, kayaking, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding.

UCLA Bruins

The UCLA Bruins proudly compete in NCAA Division I as members of the Pac-12 conference, boasting an impressive record of 119 NCAA team championships. This remarkable achievement positions them as the second-highest title holders in the nation, trailing only their in-state rival, Stanford.

Among their notable victories, the women’s softball team has secured twelve championships, while the men’s basketball team has clinched eleven titles. Though the football team has one national championship to its name, dating back to 1954, it has also claimed multiple division titles and a host of conference championships. Furthermore, UCLA provides opportunities for both male and female students, offering 11 varsity sports programs for men and 14 for women.

Men’s sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track & field
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo

Women’s sports:

  • Basketball
  • Beach volleyball
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming & diving
  • Tennis
  • Track & field
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo

UCLA Competitive Sports

The UCLA Competitive Sports program, encompassing both club sports and intramural sports, offers members of the Bruin Community the opportunity to engage in competitive athletic events. This comprehensive program manages hundreds of home club sporting events and thousands of recreational sporting events annually, with a team consisting of both full-time professional staff and part-time student employees.

UCLA Club Sports

Student officers take charge of directing and overseeing teams that compete against those from other universities. Most of these teams are affiliated with intercollegiate leagues independent of UCLA. Each team has the autonomy to define its competitive structure, often offering both competitive and non-competitive team options.

Some teams may conduct tryouts to determine player placements. Team members typically pay dues to support their sport, and the university provides resources to assist with fundraising efforts. Additionally, team leaders are required to participate in leadership and professional development training facilitated by competitive sports program staff.

UCLA Intramural Sports

UCLA offers a wide range of recreational and competitive sports leagues that enable Bruins to participate with friends and coworkers. IM Sports comprises classic sports like basketball, flag football, and soccer, along with more contemporary and innovative games such as spikeball, ultimate frisbee, and electronic sports.

Students pay a flat fee every three months to gain access to a variety of sports, enabling them to participate in the ones of their choosing. With 15 distinct intramural sports to choose from, over 5,000 individuals engage in these activities each year. Teams progress through a four-week regular season, leading to postseason playoffs, and the ultimate champions receive official UCLA Intramural Champion t-shirts.

Here is a selection of the sporting activities in which UCLA students actively participate:

Men’s Sport 

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Ultimate
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

Women’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Field Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Ultimate
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo

UCLA Student Clubs

The vibrant campus culture at UCLA resembles a colorful mosaic, and it’s further enriched by an extensive array of extracurricular activities. With over 1,200 unique student clubs and organizations, Bruins have ample opportunities to explore new interests and connect with fellow students who share their passions.

Dancesport at UCLA

Throughout the academic year, Dancesport at UCLA has provided students with a chance to delve into Latin dance classes, regardless of their previous dance experience. These classes, taking place on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, cover a range of dance styles, including the cha-cha, samba, rumba, and salsa, catering to beginners and intermediate dancers.

Bruin Leaders Project

UCLA’s Bruin Leaders Project operates on a rolling basis, offering a leadership certificate program, civic engagement courses, and a dedicated student facilitation team. This club cultivates leadership skills through peer-interaction workshops and group discussions, presenting students with three unique options based on their interests and available time commitments.

Foundations Choreography

For those interested in learning modern or hip-hop dance, Foundations Choreography is the perfect fit. This club welcomes beginners and intermediate dancers to engage in rigorous training alongside peers with similar dance backgrounds. Their collective efforts culminate in an end-of-quarter exhibition, offering even the least experienced dancers a chance to perform on stage.

Disney Club at UCLA

Join the Disney Club and relive your childhood, embark on Disneyland trips, and catch up on the latest Disney films. This interactive group shares a deep passion for all things Disney, offering a delightful opportunity to indulge in Disney movie marathons.


Toastmasters International, a global organization dedicated to enhancing public speaking skills, welcomes speakers of all levels. Developing effective communication with audiences can be a game-changer, impacting your future job opportunities.

UCLA Aikido

UCLA Aikido invites new members to explore traditional Japanese martial arts in a non-competitive training environment. This club also collaborates with an instructor to offer a Fiat Lux on Martial Arts and Game Theory.

Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce, stemming from the UCLA Farm, caters to students interested in manga and anime drawing styles. Originally an offshoot of the Japanese Animation Club, it has evolved into its own unique entity. Fresh Produce offers workshops, drawing lessons, and a collaborative space, with the opportunity for student artwork to be published in the club’s annual anthology.

Quidditch Club

A Harry Potter fan club where members can immerse themselves in the magical world and even engage in a unique sport that involves flying on broomsticks. It’s a fantastic way to socialize, exercise, and connect with fellow fans of the franchise.

Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness aims to educate the community on war crimes and the importance of tolerance by establishing connections between Holocaust survivors and students. Each student is paired with a Holocaust survivor to gain insights into their experiences during World War II. While mentorship pairings are usually accepted during the fall quarter, latecomers can still explore various opportunities.

Creative Labs UCLA

Creative Labs at UCLA seeks to broaden students’ horizons by introducing them to new fields through student-led workshops and activities. Bridging the gap between teaching methods on the south and north campuses, Creative Labs fosters connections between students from diverse academic backgrounds. It provides students with the opportunity to collaborate on projects lasting an entire quarter, drawing from their previous academic experiences.

Arts and Culture Groups

For those with an artistic bent, UCLA is a veritable playground. The university is home to numerous clubs operating in the fields of music, drama, dance, visual arts, and more. These serve as vibrant platforms for nurturing creativity, broadening cultural understanding, and facilitating artistic expression.

Students who are passionate about the arts can join these clubs to develop their skills further, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and showcase their talents. Whether it’s performing in a theater production, exhibiting artwork, or participating in a dance showcase, UCLA provides a supportive environment for students to explore their artistic passions.

Alongside, the arts community at UCLA brings together students with shared cultural interests, promoting positive intercultural dialogue and fostering mutual respect and appreciation. Through various cultural events and performances, students can learn about different traditions and perspectives, enriching their overall college experience.

UCLA’s campus offers a rich tapestry of artistic and cultural events for both attendance and active participation. Students engage in various roles, contributing their time and talents. They serve as disc jockeys for Campus Radio, write and edit content for the Daily Bruin, and partake in Melnitz Movies, a student-led repertory cinema program where they enjoy communal film screenings.

Within UCLA’s renowned Center for the Art of Performance, a vibrant student organization known as the Student Committee for the Arts at UCLA (SCA) thrives. As an integral part of UCLA’s extracurricular offerings, students involved with SCA maintain an ongoing partnership with the CAP UCLA team. This collaboration aims to raise awareness of performing arts opportunities on campus and to orchestrate events that shine a spotlight on the creative endeavors of fellow student artists.

Academic and Professional Organizations

Academic and Professional organizations at UCLA seek to supplement academic learning with real-world experiences. Ranging from study-specific clubs to career-oriented societies, these organizations are designed to bridge the gap between academic study and its practical application.

By joining these clubs, students can gain practical skills, network with professionals in their field of interest, and explore potential career paths. These organizations often host workshops, seminars, and networking events that provide valuable insights and opportunities for students to connect with industry leaders.

These clubs afford students the opportunity to connect with peers, engage with industry professionals, undertake experiential learning activities, and garner exposure to future career paths. The knowledge and experiences gained through these organizations can be invaluable in shaping students’ academic and professional journeys.

Getting Involved in UCLA Extracurricular Activities

With such a diverse offering, deciding where to get involved can be daunting. Nonetheless, a few steps can guide students in identifying the most suitable activity for them.

UCLA is known for its vibrant extracurricular scene, offering a wide range of clubs and organizations that cater to various interests and passions. Whether you’re interested in joining a sports team, a cultural club, or a community service organization, there is something for everyone.

people having fun outdoor laughing together

How to Find the Right Activity for You

Identifying personal interests, strengths, and goals is the first step in selecting the right extracurricular activity. It’s important to take the time to reflect on what truly excites you and what you hope to gain from your involvement.

Attending club fairs and informational sessions hosted by different organizations can also shed light on what they offer and how they align with personal objectives. These events provide an opportunity to meet current members, ask questions, and get a feel for the club’s atmosphere.

Furthermore, talking to friends, classmates, or upperclassmen who are already involved in extracurricular activities can provide valuable insights and recommendations. They can share their experiences and help you narrow down your options.

Students should also consider their schedule and commitment capacity to ensure that the chosen activity doesn’t hamper their academic responsibilities. It’s crucial to strike a balance between extracurricular involvement and maintaining good grades.

Joining Process for Clubs and Organizations

While the joining process for each club varies, most begin with submitting an application or signing up during club fairs. These initial steps allow clubs to gauge interest and gather basic information about potential members.

Following this, there may be interviews or trial periods before final membership confirmation. These additional steps help clubs assess the commitment and compatibility of prospective members.

As part of the registration process, students are generally expected to commit to the club’s participation rules, which could include regular attendance, active participation, or other requirements specific to the club. These guidelines ensure that members are fully engaged and contribute to the club’s activities and goals.

Once accepted into a club or organization, students can look forward to a myriad of opportunities. They can participate in club meetings, events, and projects that align with their interests. Extracurricular involvement not only allows students to pursue their passions but also helps them develop important skills such as leadership, teamwork, and time management.

Moreover, being part of a club provides a sense of community and belonging on campus. It offers a chance to meet like-minded individuals, form lasting friendships, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Impact of Extracurricular Activities on UCLA Students

Beyond enhancing university life, extracurricular involvement at UCLA plays a significant role in shaping a student’s personal growth and future prospects. Engaging in extracurricular activities provides students with opportunities to explore their interests, develop new skills, and build meaningful connections with their peers and mentors.

Personal Growth and Skill Development

Extracurricular activities foster a range of soft skills that are often hard to acquire in classroom settings. Leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management are just a few of the skills students can hone through these pursuits. For example, a student who joins a debate club not only learns how to construct persuasive arguments but also gains the ability to think critically and express ideas effectively.

Additionally, these activities encourage self-reflection and personal growth, helping students to become more confident and resilient. By taking on leadership roles or facing challenges within their extracurricular activities, students learn to overcome obstacles, manage their time effectively, and adapt to different situations. These experiences contribute to their personal development and prepare them for the complexities of the professional world.

a group of students wearing a yellow shirt

Building a Sense of Community

Participating in clubs and organizations also fosters a sense of belonging and community among UCLA students. Working towards shared goals, celebrating successes, and overcoming challenges together promote unity and camaraderie, enriching the university experience. For instance, a student who joins a volunteer organization dedicated to environmental conservation not only contributes to a greater cause but also develops a sense of responsibility towards the community and the environment.

Through these connections, students also build valuable networks with peers, faculty, and professionals that can significantly aid their future career prospects. Attending club meetings, workshops, and conferences allows students to meet individuals who share their interests and passions. These connections can lead to internships, job opportunities, and mentorship, providing students with a competitive edge in their chosen fields.

Moreover, extracurricular activities often provide students with the chance to engage in community service and give back to society. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, organizing fundraising events for a charitable cause, or participating in outreach programs, these activities instill a sense of social responsibility and empathy in students. By actively contributing to their communities, students develop a deeper understanding of the world around them and become more compassionate individuals.

In conclusion, extracurricular activities at UCLA offer students a multitude of benefits. They not only enhance personal growth and skill development but also foster a sense of community and provide valuable networking opportunities. By actively participating in extracurricular activities, UCLA students can enrich their university experience, expand their horizons, and prepare themselves for a successful future.

Future Prospects and Opportunities

The impact of extracurricular involvement at UCLA extends well beyond the campus, having lucrative ramifications for students’ future prospects.

How Extracurricular Activities Enhance Your Resume

Extracurricular pursuits enhance a resume by showcasing a balanced and holistic profile to future employers or academic institutions. They indicate a candidate’s ability to manage multiple responsibilities, work in teams, take initiative, and demonstrate leadership.

Engaging in activities related to a chosen field of study or career can reflect a genuine interest and commitment, giving such candidates an edge over others in competitive scenarios.

Networking Opportunities through Extracurricular Activities

Finally, extracurricular activities afford countless opportunities for networking. Across clubs and organizations, students can interact with their peers, seniors, professors, industry professionals, and alumni, broadening their network and opening doors to potential internship or job opportunities.

Thus, engaging in UCLA’s vibrant extracurricular culture not only enriches the university journey but can also serve as a stepping-stone to numerous opportunities, setting students on a promising path for future success.



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