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How to Choose Your Extracurricular Activities

Now that the school year is underway, you have probably joined a few clubs or other activities. You might be wondering whether your choices will make an impact on your college applications, or if admissions boards even look at that information. The answer is: It depends. Some universities, usually the more competitive ones, take a closer look at your extracurricular activities. Others don’t give your special interests much consideration at all, and care more about your grades and test scores.

It wouldn’t hurt to research your top-choice schools to see if you can discover this information. But since there is really no way to know for sure, keep the following guidelines in mind when choosing how to spend your free time.

Highlight leadership skills. Leadership skills might be one of the most important traits you can display on a college application. If you have the opportunity to lead or innovate, take it. Sometimes this might mean that you put a passion to work, and start your own club.

Give back to the community. Civic-minded students are always appreciated, and you will be seen as a potential asset for campus life. Consider taking on at least one extracurricular activity that allows you to perform charity work or otherwise better your community.

Show your personality. Most colleges value a diverse student body. If some of your extracurricular activities set you apart as an individual, this could help your application stand out among the crowd.

Learn from your experience. Focus on what you can learn from your extracurricular activities. You might gain valuable perspectives or learn lessons that will help you succeed. If you’re asked to write an essay as part of the admissions process, these experiences can provide excellent topics.

“Typical” is not bad! College admissions boards understand that you’re a teenager, and you want to have some fun, too. There’s no need to prove that you can save the world, at least not all of the time. If you enjoy cheerleading or marching band, sign up. Participating as a part of the student body is still highly valuable, and makes you an excellent candidate for admission to college.

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