Summer break has only just begun, so you’re probably not wanting to think about Fall semester yet! But, in the back of your mind, you might be wondering a few things: Which classes should you take, which colleges should you consider, and which extracurricular activities look the best on your college applications? After all, if you’re going to devote your free time to something, it might as well be an activity that helps you succeed.
We have good news and bad news, depending how you look at it. The “bad” news is that no, there are no specific activities that, once you enroll in them, will automatically guarantee a positive impression on your college applications.
The good news is that we have some input on the types of extracurricular activities colleges like to see listed on your application.
Leadership. Colleges are looking to shape tomorrow’s leaders, so any activity that offers you a chance at leadership will look great on your application. This doesn’t mean you have to get elected to the Student Council; starting up a brand-new club, and running it, also counts as leadership experience.
Passion. With that idea in mind, it’s a good idea to follow your passions rather than try to choose activities that simply look good on a resume. If you’ve focused on just a few activities and have devoted significant time to them, this tells college admissions officers that you’re the type to stick with a goal. They’re looking for innovators who will change the world…. So whatever is your passion, follow it, and build upon it!
Impact. Speaking of changing the world, make sure that when you describe your extracurricular activities, you talk about their impact. Did you start a recycling program at school? Make sure you mention that it reduced overall waste by 40 percent. Did you serve as a counselor for an after-school program? Point out the impact on area children.
In short, college admissions officers are looking for well-rounded students, who are unique, passionate, and dedicated to changing the world in positive ways. They aren’t necessarily looking for you to do that in one specific way! So be yourself, but remember to push for just a little “extra” within your passions. Take on a leadership position, start a new organization, or look for ways to positively impact your community.
Then, of course, don’t forget to describe your activities in detail on your college applications.