A good GPA on your college applications doesn't just cut it anymore. To make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd, you need to enhance your application to make a great first impression on the institutions you're applying to.
Extracurricular activities can add value to your college application and give you the boost needed to secure your place at the top.
Colleges use these activities to gain insight into the applicant, who they are, and what motivates them in life.
However, what extracurricular activities should one take up for their college application? It's crucial to decide your college involvement since putting too much on your plate can negatively impact your application.
A list that is too cluttered will make it harder for the admissions officers to gauge your personality, so choose wisely.
Why Are Extracurricular Activities Important?
What is the importance of student involvement in college? Although it might seem frivolous, it offers a lot of value for students looking to apply to colleges of their choice.
Extracurricular activities indicate the student's talents and skills. It tells the college about your willingness to learn new things and work with others on a team.
Colleges also use extracurricular activities to gauge the students' interests beyond their curriculum and academic pursuits.
For example, students who participate in science clubs show an aptitude for scientific learning, which might prove helpful in their college applications.
Also, extracurricular activities indicate that the student is a well-rounded learner.
What Activities Are Considered Ideal For College Applications?
What are the extracurricular activities that make an application shine? It can be hard to decide on one particular activity, so we've listed a few to help you decide.
Keep in mind that leadership positions are the most valuable extracurricular activities to put on your application.
Colleges look for students who can demonstrate leadership qualities. Therefore, having activities that demonstrate your leadership skills will help you stand out.
Whether you have headed a club or been the captain of a sports team, any leadership position will distinguish you in the eyes of college admissions officers.
What are the activities that are considered leadership-centric? Some examples include:
- Leading sports teams
- Being the president of a school club
- Being on the student council
- Leading a school campaign
- Heading a volunteer project
Colleges wish to see students who have the confidence and initiative to lead. Hence, any leadership activity will be viewed positively by them.
Here are some extracurricular activities students can try in school:
Taking part in sports indicates that the student has a strong sense of commitment and determination to reach their goals.
Team sports let colleges know that the student can work with others and understands the importance of teamwork.
Athletic activities require devotion, patience, and mental toughness, which colleges look for in students. Likewise, getting good at sports requires effort, and admissions officers take all this into account.
Also, athletic participation indicates that students know how to follow instructions and listen to others. This shows that the student has the discipline and can survive and succeed in college despite the pressures.
If you have experience leading your team, it is essential to mention that in the application. Also, be sure to mention any championships or tournaments you have won.
College applications are much more than just grades. Being a part of clubs and teams can make a significant impression on college admission officers.
In addition, Joining clubs in college – such as the chess club or the mathletes – can help you deepen your understanding of particular subjects.
Moreover, having extracurricular clubs on your application shows that you have diverse interests and are eager to improve your skills in different areas.
However, if you are a part of many teams and clubs, it might be tempting to include all of them on your application, but it's better to choose relevant areas of interest.
List down the teams and clubs that pertain to or relate to your degree or academic program that you wish to pursue.
Be sure to mention your position and role in these clubs and any notable college club ideas you presented during your time there.
It is essential to have activities that relate to your chosen field. Still, colleges also seek out well-rounded students who tend to think outside the box, particularly in terms of creative pursuits.
Hence, partaking in creative activities will reflect that you can improvise and think beyond the convention. And this isn't something that most students can boast about.
A history of creative activities and getting involved on campus shows and fairs show colleges that students are dedicated to:
- Taking the initiative
Depending on your activities, you can show that you can work in a team, such as a dance troupe or recital.
In addition, you can mention any performing-art positions you have taken up, which shows that you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and open to trying new things.
These days, technological activities are highly sought after and make you an ideal candidate for college admissions officers.
While most institutions require students to have specific technical skills like typing, students who have expertise and experience in advanced technological activities, such as knowing a programming language or a software program, are preferred by colleges.
Mention any experience you might have gained related to technology, particularly any skills that set you apart, such as coding and web designing.
Candidates with such skills can show that they have put in the effort to learn challenging technology, which can be highly useful in college and professional life, particularly for students who wish to pursue a computer-related field.
Having technological pursuits on your college application can improve your skillset and make you a more sought-after candidate among the rest of the competition.
While students can join many clubs and teams in school, having professional experience boosts their college application since colleges prefer students familiar with the world's workings outside academia.
Some extracurricular options to gain professional experience include:
Internships are an excellent indication that you have experienced hands-on experience in your field of choice beforehand.
Colleges prefer students who are experienced and familiar with the field they wish to apply to.
Many students prefer to intern with a local company, such as the marketing or sales department, which they include in their application.
Internships show your dedication to your field and indicate that you have acquired professional hands-on experience in the relevant field.
This helps your application stand out from the rest of the applicants in front of the admissions officers.
If you didn't get the chance to gain some internship experience, do not stress over it since not all students get the opportunity to intern during their studies, and colleges accommodate this issue.
Being involved in politics can also be a highlighting feature for your college application and catch the eye of your college admissions department.
Student activism has taken a popular swing, and schools are encouraging students to be politically active.
If you have been part of the student government body or taken part in any activism in your local community, make sure to list it in your college application.
The benefits of joining clubs in college are immense and will surely help you in your application.
Any extracurricular activities related to politics show colleges that the candidate is willing to stand up and fight for their rights and stay connected with the happenings in the community.
Remember to mention why your political activism is important to you and its impact on you and your community. You can mention any political rally or any instance where you were active in the community politically.
In addition, you can even discuss issues that are close to your heart and motivate you for getting involved in college activism.
Work experience seems more suited for job resumes, but it has its place on college applications. Including any work experience on your application is a smart move and shows officers that you have the fortitude to hold a job.
It also shows that you are capable of taking up responsibility in a professional position. Work experience indicates that the person knows how to follow instructions, work in an organization, and manage their time efficiently.
Job experience also shows that you have experience dealing with customers and interacting with individuals in a professional setting while following protocols.
This can give you a significant edge over other applicants. Make sure to mention how long you have worked and which positions you have worked for on your college application.
Also, remember that work experience is not a prerequisite, so don't fret if you don't have any to show on your application.
Lastly, your travel experience can also make you a more valuable candidate for many college admissions officers.
Depending on the kind of travel you have done, it can highlight your exposure to the world. And this indicates that you are mindful of cultural differences, making you a great candidate for multi-cultural programs.
While family vacations are not likely to be counted, any exchange programs or volunteer program trips can be a great way to make the most out of your travel experiences on your college application.
Even if you've traveled to different countries, you can present the experience as an opportunity to learn new cultures and discuss what you learned, such as:
- New skills
If you want to know how to improve your college application, consider incorporating a travel essay. These essays can be an opportunity to describe and discuss your experiences, presenting yourself in a positive light.
Furthermore, try to avoid coming across as too privileged and boastful about your experiences.
The focus should be on what you learn through your travels and its impact on your personality and life.
Learn A Skill Outside The Classroom With An Expert
So whether you want to take up debating, football, chess, philanthropy, or politics, there are thousands of ways you can improve your skills in these departments.
Refining your abilities in extracurricular pursuits can help you stand out and even put you up for scholarship considerations.
Therefore, if you're looking for a football coach, a debate instructor, or even a counselor to help you decide what to pursue, all you have to do is visit Superprof.
Superprof connects teachers and students all over the world. So visit today, search your preferences, and start developing your portfolio!
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