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The Importance of Extracurriculars

Colleges absolutely love to see extracurriculars listed on your application.

Kaitlyn Specht

October 29, 2014

The Importance of Extracurriculars
It’s easy to get caught up in the academic aspects of a college application, spending every spare second focusing on your grades. With so many educational commitments, it can be tempting to drop everything else in order to maintain your grade point average. However, colleges like to see other aspects on the application in addition to academics. They love extracurriculars. Every student, whether a freshman or a senior, needs to factor in time for extracurricular activities. By taking a little time to prepare, students can juggle school, extracurriculars, and college admissions simultaneously and achieve that well-rounded look that every college dreams about.

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At the beginning of the school year, students should be aware of the extracurricular options available to them. Freshmen, this is the perfect time to explore. By the time you are a junior or senior, you should be able to narrow down your extracurricular activities to a few key favorites. Seek out activities with opportunities for service and leadership – these are key qualities to have under your belt come time for college. Try some new things and go out of your comfort zone.
If you’re stuck for ideas or have limited options, start your own club or organization. Dig in deep and involve yourself as much as you can handle. Your persistence will pay off.

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Time to Decide

By the end of sophomore year, students should start to focus in on a couple of key extracurriculars. In order to really become a leader and stand out in your activity, you have to prioritize and that might mean cutting out a few activities. Pick two or three other clubs/activities to really commit yourself to. Talk to your leaders for ideas on gaining leadership opportunities within your activities. Plan outings or service projects with your team. Show colleges what you’re passionate about and prove it with the depth of your involvement.

Time to Apply

Uh-oh. It is senior year and you are reading this for the first time. It’s time to apply to college and maybe your list of extracurriculars isn’t as long as you’d like. However, there’s still hope. Redemption can be found in your essay. Your college essay is the perfect time to highlight a particular strength or interest you have that may not appear in your extracurriculars. Perhaps it is a hobby like writing or even listening to music. Write your essay in a way that demonstrates that you have not just been slacking off outside of school, that your mind and body have still been active. Specify your strengths, interests, and personality and the lack of extracurricular activities will be forgotten.

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The whole point of extracurricular activities is to demonstrate that you have more in you than academics. Otherwise, on paper, you seem like a robot – not someone admissions personnel can relate to and certainly not someone they want at their school. Extracurricular activities show leadership, service, and dedication, all admirable qualities in a college student. Whether you are signing up for activities freshman year or writing your first draft of your college essay, you need to keep this in mind and consider all the advantages to extracurricular activities.

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