The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
During the college applications process, an important part of your resume is the list of activities you were involved in for the school outside of the classroom. Why are these activities so important?
Be a well-rounded applicant:
So, maybe you’ve heard the phrase “well-rounded”, but you’re still not sure of its importance to a college application. In the admissions process, many colleges place applications in three piles: yes, maybe, and no. Most students apply to at least a few colleges that are a bit above a sure bet, placing them solidly in the maybe pile. These applications are gone over with a fine-tooth comb, so every bit matters. Compared to another applicant with a similar GPA and test scores, you want to have the advantage of having a more impressive resume, filled with involvement in school activities.
Which activities are the best for my resume?
Within the limits of your schedule, you should be involved in as many activities that still allow you to maintain your grades. Importantly, be involved in a variety of things. For example, playing a sport may not seem like an academic endeavor, but college application readers will be impressed with a student who was able to maintain a high GPA and play a varsity sport. Not everyone is athletic, though. For students less inclined to sports, clubs like student council/student government and National Honor Society show important academic and leadership skills. Speaking of leading – strive for leadership positions (within the limitations of your schedule, of course) within the clubs you have joined. If you are able to do a combination of sports and clubs, that makes your application even stronger.
Get involved early!
As a freshman, it may be difficult to adjust to life in high school, so it is not advisable to join six clubs. However, you should begin testing out the waters of clubs. On applications, it is obvious that you are only building your resume for college if you join the volunteering club in the second semester of your junior year. Beginning early allows you to decide what you do and don’t like, and you can focus on the few activities you decide that you like. Beyond that, getting involved early means better chances of moving up the ranks of the club, giving you a better chance for a leadership position.
Extracurricular clubs are the best way to show the people reading your application that you are interested in a variety of things, willing to lead a team, and capable of balancing a busy schedule. However, remember that extracurricular activities are a supplement to your application. If you neglect your grades for clubs, you may move your application from the maybe pile to the no pile.