August 15, 2022
By Leanne Soulard
The Activities section of your college application gives you the chance to show admissions counselors who you are outside of the classroom. This is where you get to highlight the extracurricular activities that have been most meaningful to you throughout high school. Just like the essay, how you prioritize and communicate these activities tells the reader a story about your interests and values. Colleges value depth over breadth when it comes to extracurricular activities, so do not feel compelled to record every single activity you’ve participated in since freshman year. If you did something once and it was just okay, consider leaving it out of your application. In other words, if the activity didn’t add anything to your life, chances are that it won’t add anything to your college application either. The Activities section is definitely about quality over quantity.
Once you’ve determined which activities to include in your application, it’s important to capitalize on the 150 characters you’re allowed to describe your involvement and your impact. This is an exercise in specificity! While some activities may seem self-explanatory to you, such as student council or art club, our advice is to assume that the reader knows nothing about your activities. Take advantage of this opportunity by using action-oriented verbs that showcase your responsibilities and impact and demonstrate your skills and value.
It’s important to remember that extracurricular activities include more than just school-sponsored sports and clubs. Part-time jobs, volunteer commitments, and family responsibilities also count. In fact, these types of activities shine a different kind of light on you because they convey skills and abilities such as personal responsibility, time management, and interpersonal skills. Don’t shortchange yourself by glossing over these activities!
Our biggest advice for tackling the Activities section of your college application is to take your time and think of this section as another place where the admissions counselor gets to know what kind of person—not student—you are. Always keep in mind that colleges are not only admitting students, but also building communities!
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