07 Apr When Being Active Pays Off- College Admission Perspective
College admission officers agree that activities do help students get into their top-choice colleges. This is especially true of highly-competitive colleges, such as the Ivy League and private universities. Since approximately 40% of students who apply to those types of colleges have the academic standing to be accepted, admissions officers must look at other aspects of a student’s life to determine eligibility. But how should you decide which activities you should join?
Do what you love
The most important reason to join any club, team or activity is because you love it. Some students join all types of activities because they think they will look good on their college admission forms, but then they hate every minute that they participate, if/when they participate. Having a long laundry list of activities isn’t necessarily what universities are looking for. They want to know that you have interests outside of the classroom, and that you are passionate about those pursuits. Being involved in fewer activities doesn’t mean that you have fewer chances of gaining access to your top college choice. It means that in the college interview when asked why you chose those specific activities, you can show true enthusiasm. Overall, if you join a bunch of activities, but only half-heartedly participate, your lack of interest will be revealed in your essays or interview. Plus, life is just too short to spend a lot of your free time doing what you hate. Trust that college admissions officers encourage quality experiences over quantity!
Stick with it
One of the ways colleges admissions officers use activities in making their decision is to track how long-term your interests for a particular co-curricular lasts. If you flit from activity to activity, it may make them believe that you are flaky…someone who starts out strong, but doesn’t finish anything. This is the last thing you want them to think! So choose some activities in high school that you have a long-time love affair with and stick with them 100%, rather than trying a lot of different activities. You want to show universities that you have forethought and tenacity.
Use the summer
If you are concerned about not having enough activities on your college application or if you want to try something new, the summer is the perfect time to participate. Participating in summer-exclusive programs or other activities is a way to show great interest, flesh out the activities section on your applications or try a new activity that you aren’t sure you will enjoy. There are a few reasons why the summer is a good time for this. First, you aren’t also trying to juggle academic work, so you have more time and energy in the summer. It also allows you to try something short-term. If you join a summer drama club but discover after a couple of weeks that you despisebeing onstage, you only have to stick it out for a few more weeks before the program is over. That way, you can show that you are willing to commit even when it’s not fun, but you won’t have to deal with it for a whole year.
Strive for quality over quantity
More isn’t always better. And that is definitely the case here. As mentioned above, sincere enthusiasm and full participation is really what colleges are looking for. If you have a huge number of activities, admissions might think that you are not focused enough to pick just the few that you really enjoy. They most likely will see through your attempt to stack the odds too. Additionally, you don’t want to get trapped into so many activities that your grades start to suffer. The best choice is always to participate fully in the co-curriculars that you really enjoy and not worry about signing up for a bunch of stuff you are indifferent about.