What to Include and What to Leave Off Your Activity List
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.
It can be challenging for students to pinpoint what extracurricular activities are worthy of making it on to the final version and which hobbies are better left omitted. Keep reading to learn how to decide what activities you should highlight as well as those that can be edited out.
Focus in on Causes You Care About
If volunteer work has been a meaningful part of your after-school agenda, don’t be afraid to highlight it in your activity list. Admissions officers are looking for applicants who are passionate and eager to make an impact on campus and these lists can be a great opportunity to share what matters most to you. Instead of including every community service project you’ve ever participated in, strive to spotlight activities that you have devoted significant time to, such as a weekly reading program at a senior center or a summer building houses in an underserved neighborhood.
Spotlight Long-Term Commitments
Students who have spent their entire high school careers on the newspaper or as a member of a marching band should include these pursuits on their activity list. It’s important to emphasize long-term commitments, such as activities that they have pursued since middle school or freshmen year of high school. Admissions officers are weary of serial joiners, or applicants who sign up for countless clubs in order to pad their resumes. Long-term commitments emphasize a student’s genuine interest in a specific field.
Highlight Your Expertise
Admissions officers are eager to admit applicants who have gone the extra mile to learn as much about their passions as possible. If you have sought out multiple enrichment opportunities and extracurricular engagements that relate to the same passion, highlight this pursuit on your activity list. For example, an aspiring musician who participates in school band as well as interns at a local concert venue should reference their passion for the performing arts.
Nix Middle School Achievements
College applications should focus on your achievements throughout the past four years of high school. Consequently, applicants should omit extracurricular activities that they participated in prior to their freshmen year. Instead of including eighth grade achievements in order to make your activity list appear longer, focus in on what you have accomplished throughout high school and the causes that you are truly passionate about.
Avoid Short-Term Pursuits
Forget about mentioning the math club you joined for a semester during freshmen year or the season you spent on the junior varsity volleyball team. While trying out multiple extracurricular activities is an important step in determining your true passions, there is no need to include every single hobby you participated in. Avoid wasting space and time describing short-term commitments, which may make it appear as if you struggle to follow through on the pursuits you have signed up for.
While compiling an activity list that adequately summarizes the past four years of high school can seem overwhelming initially, it’s an exciting opportunity for students to reflect on what causes and commitments are truly meaningful to them. If you are working on your own college applications or interested in pinpointing extracurricular activities to pursue, our team of college admissions experts can help guide you towards your true passions.