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The Relationship Between College Admissions and Extra Curriculars: 8 Tips to Maintain Activities

Student Life

December 15, 2023

Extracurriculars aren't just a significant component of your college application; they are chances to demonstrate your skills and interests. Unlike middle school, there is more significance tied to after-school activities and your choices. They definitely play a role in your college admissions process! Here is how to perfect an extracurricular list while exploring new opportunities.

Start with Your Honest Passions

Colleges want to see you, for you. Instead of selecting extracurriculars that are popularized or deemed selective, choose those that align with your passions. It will make your commitments enjoyable while staying true to who you are.

Also, you are more likely to succeed at what you enjoy and specialize in. Students who use college resources for their passions are more desirable than merely attempting to perfect their college applications. If you are an upperclassman, avoid internalizing that it's too late to pursue your interests.

The years ahead will serve as opportunities to grow. Finding your passions and interests will help you choose which majors to pursue in college and potential career paths.

Prioritize Your Time Commitments

Don't put too much on your plate! Consider how much time you have to spend on each extracurricular you make. How can you effectively create a schedule that is challenging and flexible?

For example, if you play a sport, consider the time you take to drive to events and finish afterward. When it comes to extracurriculars, the little details are defining.

Using digital tools, such as desktop calendars, can aid you when making a schedule. Try not to cram extracurriculars, but take time to excel in each one. Remember, it is one component of your application compared to your classes and standardized test scores. Budget your time according to which urgent matters or responsibilities you have.

Explore Leadership Opportunities

If your extracurriculars offer chances to express leadership – whether through assuming a leadership role or applying for new opportunities – consider pursuing them. It will demonstrate that you are determined and seek greater opportunities than initially offered.

Having a leadership role is a fun, challenging opportunity to engage with others. Remember to research its commitments and requirements before applying for it. Don't overwork yourself!

Consider Restraints and College App Limits

A limited number of extracurriculars can be listed on a college application. When students are unaware of limits, they often overwork themselves. It's unfortunate if it doesn't pay off! Consider if your extracurriculars will benefit you in the future, and choose them accordingly.

Perfect a few activities rather than expanding to multiple (beyond what you can handle). This way, you can have a more specialized application and discover your interests.

Engage in Team Efforts

Choose extracurriculars that can take you farther past high school. Consider connecting to people who specialize in your field of interest. This will help you prepare for the future and possibly even get an internship!

Extracurriculars aren't just tools for college admissions. These activities are chances to connect with like-minded peers and learn outside of the classroom. Remember, they aren't chores, so see them in a positive light.

How can you apply your experiences with extracurriculars to your college plans? Since each student has different abilities and commitments, consider what you can learn from your own activities. These reflections can guide you in the college admissions process when you specialize your application.

Create Backup Plans

Sometimes, extracurriculars can go awry. You are never guaranteed a role in the school play or a spot on your local baseball team. Acknowledging this and planning accordingly is smart, especially if you're a freshman or sophomore. However, you can always start exploring your interests, regardless of which grade you're enrolled in.

Be aware of circumstances that are out of your control. Search for backup extracurricular opportunities, even if you are confident in getting them.

Tie Your Experiences with Recommendations

Succeed in your extracurriculars to earn recommendations from coaches and instructors. Demonstrate consistent effort and a profound interest in your activities while treating others kindly. Displaying sportsmanship and collaborative skills is significant.

How many years of experience do you have with your extracurriculars? Does your experience connect to others who participate in similar activities? Collaborating with others is a great way to demonstrate leadership.

Express Your Passions Through Service

The extracurriculars students choose are often tied to community service and advocacy. Whether raising awareness about heart disease or picking up trash along the coastline, all of this should tie into a passion you feel strongly about. It can also serve as your personal statement, but make no mistake: it must be authentic to you.

Therefore, try advocating and volunteering for causes you are personally connected to. It will add depth to your college application while personalizing your high school experience.

Finalize Your Extracurriculars

When it comes time for college applications, make sure that you have listed your community service hours and your accomplishments. If you have a tutor or someone guiding you through this process, ask them for revisions or suggestions. Keep an open mindset and an optimistic outlook.

We strongly discourage abandoning your interests right after the admissions process. Continue pursuing them beyond these four years!

Decide how you will pursue your extracurriculars in college if you plan on enrolling. What have you learned, and how have your activities inspired change? Reflecting on your activities extends to upcoming chapters of your educational journey.

Whether you are a cheerleader or a club president, extracurriculars serve as opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and connect with others. While the college admissions process is one step in your journey, remember that passions last a lifetime. Good luck!

Kelly Halliburton
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Kelly Halliburton is a member of the Creative Writing Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. She enjoys writing poetry and volunteering. Through exploring themes of student life and personal growth, she aspires to project meaningful ideas in the community.