More Than a College App: Why Extracurriculars Matter
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.
Since most students know that colleges care about what they’re doing after school, some may feel like participating in extracurricular activities is something they should do. While this is true, students should view these pursuits as much more than something they need to do to check off of their to-do lists. Keep reading to learn more about why participating in extracurricular activities is such a valuable experience.
Became a Time Management Master
In addition to honing whatever skill you are practicing in your extracurriculars, simply participating in activities is going to help you learn how to make effective use of your time. Once you get to college, you will be expected to juggle multiple activities, courses, and commitments simultaneously, so it’s beneficial to get a head start on understanding how to prioritize various tasks. When you’re participating in several extracurriculars and balancing your schoolwork at the same time, you’ll start to get more familiar with staying on top of several responsibilities and learn how to maximize your productivity.
Develop Leadership Experience
Many extracurriculars will also give students the chance to take ownership of what they’re doing. Whether you’re the captain of the tennis team or editor of the school newspaper, after-school activities can come with a new kind of responsibility and an opportunity to practice guiding others. Building up leadership skills is really important, especially for college preparation and even creating the foundation for a successful career in the future.
Give Back to Your Community
Extracurriculars don’t just enable you to enrich your own life; they can also help you make an impact and better the world for those around you. As part of their extracurricular agenda, many students participate in community service activities such as working at a local soup kitchen or volunteering at a senior citizen center. Yes, doing this kind of work will look good on your college applications; but more importantly, it feels good to help people and give back to your local community. Volunteer work can also help open your eyes to causes that you may wish to study further in college and beyond.
Expand Your Network
Extracurriculars are also an excellent opportunity to meet students with interests and goals that are similar to your own. While there’s nothing wrong with sticking with the same group of friends throughout high school, participating in after-school activities will help you meet new people and form bonds around shared interests and goals. Friendships you make through extracurricular activities can serve you throughout the rest of your life; whether that is knowing someone who winds up at the same college as you, or having a friend to reach out to about summer internship opportunities.
Health and Wellness Benefits
The activities you choose to pursue may help keep you healthy as well. Sports and physical activity are great for building strength and staying active, while creative outlets like writing or photography may help you relieve stress and get in touch with your feelings. Whatever activity you choose, there’s likely to be an emotional or physical wellness benefit that comes as a result.
While extracurriculars can certainly be time-consuming, there are many reasons why it pays off to get involved. If you’re currently looking for extracurricular activities as you prepare for your college admissions search, our team can help you identify options that align with your interests and goals.