In addition to good grades and high test scores, extracurricular activities are an absolute must for college admissions. Colleges are interested in how you spend your free time outside of the classroom. Your extracurricular activities can set you apart from other applicants. This is especially true for more selective colleges, which look beyond strong academic work at students’ whole lives.
Try to find activities you are passionate about, and stick with them for the rest of high school. Look for opportunities to gain leadership experience in activities you enjoy. While it’s okay to try new things and join new clubs, stability has value. Admissions officers will look for your commitment and steady involvement in activities as evidence of your dedication and commitment.
Don’t get involved in an activity simply because you think it’ll look good on your application. When considering extracurricular activities, admissions officers prefer quality over quantity. This has changed over the last decade – quantity used to be more valuable than quality.
You have the opportunity to learn new skills by volunteering and involving yourself in extracurricular activities. This is especially beneficial for those who know what they want to learn, because all they need to do is find activities that relate to their interests. Students in debate clubs learn how to gather information and form arguments. Students in drama clubs gain public speaking skills.
Time is also important when choosing extracurricular activities. You may have responsibilities at home that won’t allow extra time for extracurricular activities (caring for siblings, working part-time). Keep in mind that admissions officers will still be interested in how you spend that valuable free time. It is very possible to be too involved! You can end up not having enough time left over in your day for homework or studying. On the other hand, if you are heavily involved in only one extracurricular activity, that one can be more valuable than ten other activities.
Summer is a great time to delve into new interests and broaden your extracurricular experience. You can get more involved in an activity you are already pursuing, or you can try new things that interest you.
While good grades and high test scores are important for college applications, extracurricular activities are invaluable and can make you stand out from the crowd. Find something that you are interested in and stick with it throughout high school to get the most out of your experience.