We all know that your high school grades and your SAT/ACT test scores are a prime factor when colleges are considering you for admissions. But are all applicants really just names and numbers on a list? The answer is no.
Every college has different areas that they consider important for admission, but extracurricular activities may be the key to setting yourself apart from other applicants. Being involved in meaningful activities can be beneficial to a wide range of students. For example, students who are right on the lower edge of the academic requirements may be able to tip the scales in their favor if their college application shows they were involved outside the classroom. For students who are seeking admission to a selective university, showing you willingness to engage in activities and go above and beyond can elevate you above students who did not participate in anything outside of their academic obligations. When two students have very similar academic profiles, extracurricular activities might just be that make or break factor for an admissions officer.
“Quality over quantity”. Remember this when considering what extracurricular activities you may want to get involved in. Joining 10 clubs and going to a club meeting for an hour or two once a month isn’t necessarily going to impress a college admissions officer. Instead, seeking out leadership positions such as president, secretary, treasurer, or team captain is a great way to show how serious you are about a certain activity. Also, staying involved over a long period of time shows colleges that you are able to maintain a high level of commitment. Being involved for 2 or more years in a single activity carries much more weight than trying to join a few clubs in the second semester of your senior year.
Many students have the common misconception that it is all just sports and honors societies, but extracurricular activities can come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to check with your school counselor to see what clubs are available at your school. You may be surprised at what you find! Things like art clubs, language clubs, debate club, engineering groups, HOSA (future health professionals), and dance are just a few of the things you may be able to find. Don’t have what you are looking for? Interested in anime, video games, makeup, health awareness, or anything else? Then just ask your counselor or principal about starting your own club. Being the founder of a new club or group is an excellent way to improve your resume, sharpen your leadership skills, and make new friends. Don’t be afraid to get involved outside of school either. Activities such as community service, church service, and volunteer work can be rewarding while also showing that you are willing to give back to your community.
As you can see, activities outside of the classroom can be rewarding both personally and academically. If you have the time and ability, you should strongly considering getting involved as early as possible. The coaches at Right C3 are here to help you learn more about maintaining balance between your academic and extracurricular activities.