Best Extracurriculars for College Apps

While different schools put different stock in extracurriculars, almost every college considers them when deciding which students to admit. For example, the University of South Florida ranks extracurricular activities just behind grades, difficulty of coursework, and standardized test scores in terms of importance. The right high school activities can make a big difference during the admissions process.

According to a study by California State University, Sacramento, extracurricular activities are positively correlated with attendance, GPA, test scores, and educational ambition. Although this study deals with college students, schools often apply the same insights to applicants. The assumption is that students who get involved outside the classroom will make better additions to their campus communities.

Your involvement in high school extracurriculars can help you gain a competitive advantage when applying to college. These activities can also show what makes you unique beyond your transcripts and test scores while demonstrating leadership ability and a willingness to serve your community. The best extracurriculars you can engage in that can significantly impact your likelihood of getting accepted are listed below.

1. Academic Teams and Clubs. When the committee reviews your college application, they will look beyond your GPA since they want to know what you can contribute to society. The simplest method is listing any clubs or teams you have been a part of. Academic groups are designed to deepen your grasp of a specific topic or interest. Your eagerness to develop your skills will be evident to the committee if you include academic groups in your college application. So if you haven’t been a part of any academic teams and clubs, it’s better to start now.

2. Internships. An internship shows that you have some experience relevant to your future field, which might be helpful when applying for a college. You must incorporate internships in your application because they distinguish you from other applications. Including them demonstrates your commitment to the field you’ve chosen, ensuring that your application is placed at the top of the pile at the admissions office.

3. Leadership. Leadership work may be one of the most important extracurriculars the committee will consider when reviewing your college application. Therefore, you may have an advantage over other applicants by mentioning that you have had a leadership position in the past. This includes holding a leadership role in student clubs, sports teams, or any other organization—as long as you possess the necessary skills.

4. Part-Time Jobs. Having a part-time job as one of your extracurricular activities demonstrates your capacity for effective time management between your college and your work. The committee will give your application more attention than others if you keep a good GPA while working a part-time job, demonstrating that you are hard-working. So make sure to include part-time jobs in the extracurriculars section of your application to increase the chances of being a part of that specific university.

5. Artistic Activities. These can be the most fun and creative extracurriculars. It can include painting, drawing, sculpting, fashion design, theater, music, and dance. As a result, committees love seeing these activities on someone’s application. You may contribute to your high school through your artistic activities by being a part of a play or playing in bands. Further, this shows that your institution has collaboration, coordination, and commitment skills, and that’s precisely what you want to show to the committee.

6. Sports. If you haven’t been involved in any sports, go ahead and start with either basketball, football, or volleyball as soon as possible to gain experience. Your willingness to work hard to accomplish your goals is demonstrated to the committee by your incorporation of sports in your application. Additionally, it reflects your teamwork skills and potential leadership qualities, mainly if you are the team captain.

7. Debate. Group activities such as debate strengthen students’ public speaking and oratory skills beyond the classroom. These abilities are transferable outside the school and result in students who are well-informed, courteous of other viewpoints, and capable of articulating. Including a debate team in your extracurriculars shows the committee that you are growing as a valuable individual for society.

8. Volunteering and Community Service. Volunteer work and community service symbolize humanity, empathy, and giving back to society, especially when you apply for a scholarship. It impresses the committee by showing that you can help the community without any form of compensation. You can volunteer at your local library or animal shelter, help those in need, and so on.

9. Student Newspaper. Being involved in the student newspaper club shows that you want to help your community (students) to share their opinions over the school by forming a community discussion and a place for those interested in journalism. Here students do everything on their own, from editing, writing, compiling, and designing the layout of a newspaper. This further increases your chances of getting accepted into a college, so include it in your college application if you were a part of the student newspaper club.

10. Cultural Clubs. Being a part of a culture club means that all students, without any exceptions, are welcomed to join to learn how to set goals, work together and feel proud of their accomplishments. Stereotypes are not approved in this club and will gain the committee’s interest as they want people who give a voice to the population, not people who limit it.

11. Technological Skills. You can also gain technological skills by joining a tech community, learning a new language program, or volunteering to help people with less technology experience. In this way, you will show the admissions committee that you will do anything to widen your technical knowledge and help those needing these skills.

12. Travel. Traveling does not mean mentioning a trip you had with your family or friends. It implies an exchange trip where you go to another country to study for a whole semester. Traveling for learning purposes can be considered an extracurricular activity, so mention that on your application. While it has its benefits, you have also grown as a person and learned how to live independently, which interests the admissions committee; how far can you go on your own?

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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