If you are the captain of the state championship football team, or have won a state-wide singing competition, chances are you will certainly stand out in the Extracurriculars section of your college applications. But what if you have not achieved these sorts of accomplishments or leadership roles, yet you are still a great student with excellent grades looking to get into a top school? Fortunately, there are many other ways to impress colleges with extracurricular activities.
It’s not about how many activities you take on; it’s about how passionate you are with each one. It’s better to be the president of the debate team with only a couple of other activities than to simply be a standing member of 12 different groups. Colleges want to see that you can stick with an activity and really excel at it. Join clubs because you’re genuinely interested in them, not just to produce a lengthy list on your applications. Sign up for activities in which you know you’ll want to be active.
College life can be quite challenging. You’re constantly balancing classes, student involvement, and possibly a part-time job. Universities look for students who can do it all by utilizing strong time-management skills. Therefore, the bigger time commitment that your extracurricular activities require, the better you look to these admissions offices. It’s more important to spend 10 hours per week with one activity than to pursue 10 activities and spend one hour per week at each.
Connect it to your major
It’s great to have hobbies, but it’s even better if your hobbies can help define who you are as a student. For example, if you’re going to be an Engineering major, you could start a club that builds trebuchets or catapults, become the club president, and then submit design plans/videos with your college application. Now, consider a similar student who starts a ping-pong club. You’re probably getting accepted over them because your activities relate to your passion for your major, as well as how much more you are willing to learn.
Accomplishments and leadership
It’s even better if you can find a local competition to enter your trebuchets in and actually win. Leading a debate team to a state or national prize looks great as well. It’s always impressive to be the president or founder of a club.
Connect to the specific school’s extracurricular activities
Let’s say you’re the president of your high school math club. If your team wins the national high school competition and the college you’re applying to has a very prestigious math team, you could easily write about how you hope to continue your success in mathematics at that school.
Following these guidelines when choosing your extracurricular activities and deciding how to spend your time in them will prove to your potential colleges that you’re passionate, talented, and dedicated. Furthermore, you will prove that you are a solid fit for that school.
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