How to prepare an activities list that sets you apart?

What are Extracurricular Activities?

What sort of things should you list in the section of your college application that covers extracurricular activities? An extracurricular activity is anything that you do that is not a high school class or a paid job. Extracurricular activities do not necessarily have to be organized through your high school. This means that sports, the school paper, marching band and so on are not the only extracurricular activities. Pretty much anything that you do in your community, with your family, or with your friends may be counted as an extracurricular activity. This could be volunteer or charity work, church or community activities, hobbies that you have pursued, as well as artistic endeavors and so on. So, which ones should you list?

Include Extracurricular Activities that Reflect Your Passions

Instead of joining every club and activity in sight, just so that you can have a gigantic list of extracurricular activities for your college application, take part in activities that really mean something to you. If you truly love the school paper and you end up writing a regular column for years, this activity will have greater meaning to an Admissions Office than if you join five different clubs that don’t really mean anything to you. (Hint: It will be especially impressive if you include clippings from your articles with your application.) Also, don’t just list the names of the organizations you’ve joined; describe what you did as well as any special achievements that you were a part of.

The Importance of Leadership Roles and Accomplishments within Activities

Colleges tend to be more attracted to students that reach leadership positions in their extracurricular activities. They will find students that became student body president or debate team captain more impressive than those that became student council member or debate team members. Schools want young people with leadership skills to take positions in their own extracurricular activities. However, this does not mean that you should try to become the leader or captain of every activity in which you take part. This would not only be exhausting, but also spread yourself so thinly over so many activities that you may not actually do much of anything in your leadership role. Outstanding deeds and accomplishments within your extracurricular activities will be even more impressive than just holding a title or office.

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