30 Sep Rise Above the Rest – Choosing Extracurriculars that Stand Out

Top Tips for Choosing Extracurriculars that Stand Out in College Application

Some schools require it. And because of this many students pile on the extra-curriculars, attending only to have the activity listed on their report card, ‘for colleges’ – and thus utterly wasting their time. Frantic parents ask WHICH extra curricular do colleges like most … is it sports or community service?

Oh .. and the myth of the WELL-ROUNDED student abounds.

Meanwhile increasingly frazzled students juggle extra classes with service, sports, debate, music, dance – sometimes presenting SO much (t00 much) that it’s hard to get a college to see the focal point (because there is none…).

But what if we told you that more isn’t better and the colleges prefer a POINTY student versus a rounded one?

Extracurricular involvement represents a crucial portion of the college admissions process and so selecting activities that makes a student stand out will be a tremendous help in your student’s college admission success. 

When assessing extracurricular activities and the impact they will have on the college admissions process, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does it get me excited?

I can’t emphasize this enough. Students should pursue extra curricular interests that they genuinely enjoy … and if they have not found this yet they should search and search and try things – and stick with them long enough for an interest to develop. Sometimes students drop an activity before genuine interest can bloom. Students also must play a role in developing the club or activity – don’t just complain that it’s boring – think of what you can do to make it exciting! Don’t complain that no one comes to meetings – think of how you can attract more members and improve attendance – colleges LOVE when you show initiative and exercise this kind of leadership.

  • Does It Highlight Your Academic Passion? 
    • Though admissions officers like to see an involved student, they don’t like to see students spread so thin that they are barely able to contribute to a multitude of extracurriculars. Instead, hone in on one or two disciplines that align with your passions and interests – particularly your academic interests if you plan to apply to a specific major or program (colleges love to see your interest demonstrated inside AND outside of the classroom). 
  • Will It Lead To Any Awards Or Publications?
    • Prestigious recognition will definitely help to differentiate you from the plethora of other students interested in a particular activity. Particularly if you passions are mainly academic, get involved in opportunities that allow for both small-scale (winning school art competitions, publishing a blog) and high-level (winning national competitions, publishing original research in peer-reviewed journals) accomplishments.
  •  Does It Allow You To Demonstrate Leadership?
    • Admissions officers are not just looking for smart students, but they are looking to build a class of engaged and inspiring students that will contribute to shaping their campus and the rest of the world. As such, they prioritize students that demonstrate strong leadership skills through school leadership as well as launching initiatives or founding clubs. 
  • Does It Significantly Benefit Your Community?
    • Although it is important to be interested in international affairs, admissions officers pay attention to students who commit to the improvement of their local communities. Given that a college campus is a community, they are interested in applicants that are likely to become involved in the maintenance and culture cultivation of their school community.
  • Are You Likely To Be Recruited For It?
    • All those years of playing Manning Cup football or early morning training for your Swim Club or hours of research for Debate Team feeling pointless? Rather than using these skills solely for character building, consider playing sports and activities that would allow schools to place you at high priority as a recruited applicant. Given that some of these talents are needed by the school, exceptional students honing them will be greatly considered during the admissions process and are sometimes admitted despite lower grades and test scores. 
Tags: