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How Do Extracurricular Activities Help Strengthen College Applications?

Posted on Aug 28, 2019
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All top schools around the world look for a holistic profile while selecting candidates. Most college applications ask about the activities that you are involved in during your free time, as it shows traits that grades alone are not able to demonstrate. What you do after school, during weekends and over summers tells the college admission team a lot about the kind of person you are. Along with academic excellence, they stress on involvement in extracurricular activities, something that sets you apart and helps them understand your personality. These extracurricular may include participation in school clubs, hobbies, internships, etc. But the question still remains. Which ones should I include and which ones matter the most? To help you take a step further towards shinning brighter than other applicants, here are a few key points to consider:

What constitutes as extracurriculars?

Most students are actually good at some or the other kind of activity, they just haven’t recognized it as ‘extracurricular’ yet. Ideally, these things are something you are interested in and have done it through the course of your life. Be it music, drawing, dance, poetry, etc. Apart from this any work you have done outside the classroom or at home also counts. If you have tutored your younger sibling/neighbor or helped organize an event at school, don’t hesitate to mention it. These activities highlight your leadership and management skills, something top schools are always interested in.

  1. 1. Starting early
  2. Starting early can give you a head start and stay ahead of the competition. If you are looking at undergrad colleges start as early as 7th or 8th grade. But keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you should abandon your studies and focus solely on hobbies and other activities. Start by finding your interests and what you would like to do in your spare time, perhaps during vacations, which is covered in the following point.

  3. 2. Finding your interests.
  4. Knowing what your interests are can help you choose the perfect extracurricular activity you can master in. Make a list of things you are good at – Do you like to talk and meet new people? Do you usually lead group projects at school? Or are you more of a laid-back person who likes to be on their own? Answering these questions can help you discover your passion. Maybe you have always been good at something but never given it much of a thought. This is the ideal time for you to think about such things and explore different options. Once the list is ready, start working towards developing these skills. Apply for interschool programs and competitions. Put those newfound skills to test.

  5. 3. Be honest
  6. This is probably the most crucial point to remember. Be your true, authentic self. You might have heard this advice before but I can’t emphasize enough on how important this is. Don’t try to create a profile of yourself which is not completely honest. Colleges have their way of knowing when you lie in your application. So, it is always advisable to put down activities that you have actually participated in. And if you have participated in activities such as dance, music, creative writing, foreign language, debate, etc. then ensure that you have certificates for the same.

  7. 4. No silver bullet in guaranteeing success
  8. There is no single formula or method of guaranteeing your selection. Remember, your profile is a blend of who you are as a person, your grades and the things you are passionate about. There is no measured degree of importance, it ultimately depends on the balance that you maintain between these aspects. Don’t focus on one and ignore the other.

Lastly, make sure you showcase your experiences in the admission essay. This is the only document where you can express in words how passionate you are about your interests and your achievements before getting an interview with the admissions officer. Need further guidance contact ReachIvy.com