College Applications: Extracurricular Activities Important?
Extracurricular activities may seem extraneous compared to other pieces of the college application process. But, extracurricular’s can define you on paper as an individual, to set you apart from the rest. An extracurricular activity can communicate a lot about you to an admissions officer. Here we will discuss the importance of extracurriculars, as well as how to incorporate them in the college application process.
What is an extracurricular activity?
An extracurricular activity is, by definition, simply an activity that takes place beyond your typical school curriculum. While we’re used to hearing the word “extracurricular” refer to after-school programs, it really can apply to many activities. Maybe you have a part-time job, or run a book club, or volunteer often, or love to play the piano. All of these count as extracurricular activities. Some of these activities—like volunteering —can overlap with other parts of your resume.
You might be thinking: but is my part-time at an ice cream shop really going to impress admissions officers? And the answer is a resounding, absolute yes! By putting in time and energy into something outside of school shows that you have a tenacity for life. A part-time job, for example, shows teamwork and people skills, which are qualities that schools look for in prospective students.
Quality vs. quantity
During the college application process, it is intimidating looking at your classmates’ resumes. You might feel like you haven’t done “enough”. It’s understandable to feel this way, but the truth is that any extracurricular activity helps your college application process. It’s all in how you present it.
If you have a different extracurricular activity for every day of the week, listing your many activities will be impressive for your college application process. But if you’ve only focused on one or two activities in the past few years, that is equally impressive. Moreover, having many activities is not necessarily beneficial. Those that have more often extracurricular activities can mean you are not deeply involved. Whereas, those with few activities are deeply but not widely involved. Those who do fewer activities should expand on their chosen extracurricular. By showing your investment in that activity and to fill any blank space.
Planning your extracurricular’s
For a little exercise right now, jot down a list of anything you spend your time doing before or after school. These can be official activities or just things you like doing in your spare time. Really dig deep!
Done? Ok. My bet is that your list ended up being longer than you expected. Anything you do in your spare time is a valid extracurricular activity on your college application process. For example, let’s say you’re interested in fashion and have been working to design your own clothes. Under extracurricular activities, you could list something like “sewing” or “fashion design” with a small blurb explaining your interest.
More than anything, when an admissions officer looks at your resume they are trying to get an understanding of who you are. Through listing your extracurricular activities in your college application process, you’ll be able to show an extra piece of yourself, and round-out your application.