Just Admit It: What Extracurricular Activities Should I Do?
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.
When it comes to selecting your extracurricular activities, authenticity is the most important factor. On our Just Admit It! podcast, IvyWise counselors Rachel and Eric discussed how to select extracurricular activities that align with your interests and help you to build a strong and genuine applicant profile. Here are some of the tips they gave on what to consider when selecting extracurricular activities:
Let Your Genuine Passions Shine Through
College admissions officers are incredibly savvy. They can often tell when students might not be genuinely interested in an activity and are instead trying to emphasize it because they think it “looks good.” Instead of focusing on the activities you think you should do, let your passions and interests guide your extracurricular involvement. If you hate playing soccer, you don’t need to be on the team just because you think a sports activity will be impressive. Instead, pinpoint extracurricular activities that excite you and that will inspire you to want to learn more about the topic. Forget about any preconceived notions surrounding what extracurricular activities are the best to get into college and focus on the ones that are the best for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Initiative
If you know the fields and passions that interest you the most, it’s time to take your commitment to the next level. Students should search for and identify meaningful ways to deepen their knowledge of the subjects they are most interested in. College admissions officers are often looking for applicants who are specialists in their chosen interests, so make sure to go the extra mile and learn as much about the extracurricular activities you love as possible. As students move into their junior and senior years of high school, they might want to consider leadership opportunities and new ways to explore what they are most passionate about.
Use 9th Grade to Try Something New
If you’re beginning high school and not sure what interests you most, don’t panic. Freshmen year can be an excellent opportunity to test the waters and try out a few different extracurricular activities to determine which fields interest you most. Maybe you sign up for theater club and tennis in your first year of high school before realizing that your passion really lies in athletics. As you progress through high school, you can become more selective about which activities interest you most and start to identify ways to take your expertise to the next level.
It’s Alright to Have More Than One Specialty
What should students do if they genuinely love multiple extracurriculars? Some applicants might feel like they need to give up some of their passions to focus on one chosen activity. However, this isn’t always the case! If you genuinely enjoy doing several different activities, you don’t need to give up any of them. College admissions officers understand that some students naturally have more well-rounded interests than their “specialist” peers. At the end of the day, both types of students can be affirmed in the application process. What matters most is that you are true to yourself and focus on activities that genuinely interest you.
While creating an extracurricular plan can be challenging, it’s also an exciting opportunity to pursue the hobbies and interests that you are most passionate about. If you’re looking for more guidance on extracurricular activities, our team of college admissions counselors can support you and identify options that align with your unique interests. Learn more about our Initial Consultation today!