Category: Extracurricular Activities
Now that you’ve had a chance to settle into campus and your first semester at college is well underway, it may be time to start thinking about some fun ways to branch out. Many college freshmen like to explore clubs and extracurriculars as a way to broaden their campus social life.
Most universities offer hundreds of options for students looking to beef up their schedules; from student organizations to quirky clubs, there is usually something for everyone. If you have no idea where to start, ask yourself what your friends are doing, how you would like to spend your free time on (or off) campus, or, if you don’t see anything you like, maybe think about starting your own club or extracurricular activity!
In today’s competitive admissions process, students need more than good grades to gain a seat at their best-fit college. In addition to strong academic performances, colleges are looking for applicants who have pursued extracurricular activities for years and those who have developed expertise in the fields they’re passionate about.
Volunteering is a meaningful opportunity for students to give back to their local communities, expand their horizons, and learn new skills. While some activities may be on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the good news is that there are still plenty of ways to get involved.
When reviewing college applications, admissions officers also evaluate what students are doing outside of the classroom, which is why it’s so important to have strong extracurricular commitments throughout high school. Instead of stressing out about finding the right activities during 9th and 10th grade, students can take advantage of their time in middle school to pursue fields they are passionate about and build a strong foundation for high school.
If you think resumes are only for job applications, it’s time to think again. A resume is an ideal medium to clearly and concisely present what you’ve accomplished throughout your high school career. Consequently, many students choose to include a resume when applying to college or when requesting letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors.
Most students know that they need high GPAs to be competitive in the college admissions process, but what about extracurricular activities? Although applicants often understand that they should have passions and hobbies, many are a little less clear about what kind of pursuits to prioritize.
There’s no denying that extracurricular activities are important: 81% of US universities assign some level of significance to a student’s after-school endeavors when it comes to making admissions decisions. Colleges want to learn about their applicants holistically, including the causes they are passionate about and what they enjoy doing in their free time.
By Carrie, IvyWise Master Tutor
When most students think of tutoring, academic support and test preparation are likely the first two things to come to mind. While both are undoubtedly important components of tutoring, students also have the opportunity to receive guidance on independent projects through mentorship.
Students who are eager to stand out on their college applications can’t overlook the importance of demonstrating creativity. Based on a recent Adobe study, 95% of admissions decision-makers believe in the value of creative skills. Despite this, only 20% of the same group report that students demonstrate their creativity “very well” on college applications and nearly 70% of students don’t know where to showcase these skills on their college applications.
Tune in to IvyWise Live on our Facebook page next week, where College Admissions Experts Christine, Scott, Nat, Zach, and Rachel will discuss how students can prepare for the college admissions process this fall and answer your most pressing college prep questions.
Everyone should do their part to protect the planet, and for some students “going green” can also be a valuable opportunity to explore a pressing cause that has become a major focus in the US lately. Recent reports have found that the Earth is warming much faster than previously thought – raising concerns among teens around the globe. A recent survey found that a majority of US teens are worried about climate change and 1 in 4 have participated in some form of activism on the topic of the Earth’s climate.
When it comes to compiling activity lists for college applications, many students have a tendency to aim for quantity over quality. In reality, it’s far more important for applicants to focus in on pursuits that are truly meaningful to them, even if that means creating a more streamlined list.
Volunteer work can be a valuable opportunity for high school students to gain hands-on skills, expand their horizons, and make an impact. Between test prep and summer activities, it may feel challenging to find time in your summer schedule for community service, but most students would agree that it’s well worth the effort.
Whether it’s bussing tables at a local restaurant or babysitting your neighbor’s kids, after school jobs are an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-life experience while getting a head start on savings.
Not only does community service provide you with the opportunity to give back, it may boost your admissions odds. According to a 2018 study by IESD for x2VOL, 58% of admissions officers agree that community service has a positive impact on a prospective student’s application.
If you think grades and standardized test scores are the only factors that matter to college admissions officers, it is time to think again. While these types of quantitative measures are certainly important, there are a variety of other components that will carry considerable weight on your college applications, including how you spend your time on the weekends and after school.
Many college-bound students struggle with what or how much to put on their college application activity list. Often, many students will add a number of extra activities in order to make it look like they’ve done a lot more initiatives in high school, but this resume padding can actually hurt more than it helps.
While grades and test scores are important college application elements that are considered in the admissions process, they are far from the only factors that influence college admissions decisions. In addition to academic excellence, universities are looking for students with demonstrated interests and passions – or specialists. College admissions offices want to admit students who will make an impact on campus by continuing to pursues those passions, but how can you know what truly interests you?
Are you a college-bound student interested in pursuing a STEM degree? Check out the recording of the IvyWise Live webinar Engaging in STEM Activities and Projects Virtually for expert advice from IvyWise college admissions counselors.There Are Many Ways That STEM Students Can Explore Their Interests Outside of the Classroom
Extracurricular activities are a great way for students to explore their interests, develop a specialty, and eventually stand out when it comes time to apply to college. For STEM students, finding extracurricular initiatives that match their interests can sometimes be difficult, but there are actually a lot of opportunities out there that allow STEM students to get involved and make an impact.
Colleges want to see what students are doing outside of the classroom, so high school students should seek out extracurricular opportunities that they’re passionate about and match their interests. For high school freshmen and sophomores, it can be hard to figure out exactly what their interests are and the activities that best suit those passions. Luckily, there are a number of resources for high school freshmen and sophomores to help them identify their core interests and find opportunities that support them.
We talk a lot about what colleges and universities are looking for when evaluating applications. Grades, courses, and test scores are very important, but so are the less quantifiable elements, like activities and essays. One thing many students overlook when preparing for the admissions process is community service. Just like with other extracurricular activities, colleges want to see students participating in impactful volunteer opportunities – finding a way to give back and enhance their local community. So how do students find the right community service activities for them?
Extracurricular activities are a portion of your applicant profile that admissions officers are always curious to learn about. Getting involved in clubs and projects, both inside and outside of school, allows students to explore and develop interests that they may want to pursue in college and beyond.
It’s no secret that science, technology, engineering, and math jobs are the way of the future. STEM jobs are expected to grow almost 2 times as fast as other occupations, yet some people believe that it has become harder to foster an interest in STEM in high school students today.
When discussing the different elements of a college application, we often bring up the significance of the “brag sheet.” At IvyWise, we can’t stress enough how important a complete and comprehensive brag sheet is to the admissions process. Your brag sheet lists all of your extracurriculars, employment, summer experiences, honors, awards, interests, hobbies, and, very notably, community service.
Creating and Updating Your Activity List/Resume
When it comes to your college applications, you will likely need to submit a resume or activity list. Colleges are not admitting facts and figures, they want living, breathing human beings with likes and dislikes, passions and aversions. What Dr. Kat calls your “soft factors,” your essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular involvement, will tell an admissions committee what kind of person you are. From the quality and duration of your participation in certain activities, a college admissions officer will gain a more in-depth understanding of your personality and character.
Planning a Productive Summer
When it comes to the college admissions process, it is imperative to show how you have developed your interests throughout your time in high school. College admissions committees want to see how you have made an impact in clubs and activities during the school year, but also during the summer. While it may be tempting to sit around all summer working on your tan, boards of admissions specifically look to see that you have remained productive during your time away from school. Summer presents many opportunities for students to further develop their interests and goals —travel to a foreign country, continue training in your favorite sport, make up a class or gain extra credits in summer school, start a business, get an internship, or join a community service organization.
Though summer may seem far away, the applications for many popular programs are due soon. Some of these applications can be as complex as a college application, requiring essays, letters of recommendation, and even test scores, so you will need to get started soon! Dr. Kat and the team of counselors at IvyWise, have come up with the following