Make The Most Of Your Free Time: The Best Extracurricular Activities For College Applications
One question that gets asked of the consultants at College Ready quite often is: What are the best extracurricular activities to do to get into a good college? This is a loaded question.
At College Ready, we’ll give you the real answer: The best extracurriculars to get into the right school for you are the ones that you are the most authentically passionate about. There are other questions to consider:
- Will you be committed to an activity for all the hours, days, and months it requires?
- Is the activity enriching to you, helping you to learn skills or develop qualities like leadership?
- Do any of your extracurriculars show how you make a positive impact on the world around you?
- How do you stand out when it comes to your list of activities?
Some students even venture to ask: Why do I have to do anything? Isn’t school enough? Extracurricular activities are an opportunity for students to use their free time on things that they choose. When it comes to colleges, these activities—when presented on an application—help to tell the story of who you are, where your interests lie, and what you like to spend your time doing.
Consider all the possibilities you have to choose from when it comes to getting involved.
- The Arts: Are you an actor? Do you sing? Are you an artist or designer? Theatre, choir, and art courses are all great activities to do. At College Ready, we want to push you a bit further. Consider taking on a leadership role in theater or in a drama club. Inspire your choir classmates to perform for a senior living center to bring some community cheer. Organize a school art show; sell some of your artistic creations, and donate proceeds to a charity of your choosing. There are so many ways to make your experience in the arts outstanding.
- Sports: Playing a sport or being part of a team can be a great experience for character building. Having a leadership role on a team can be a powerful way to make an impact in your sport. Whether it’s tennis, cheer, football, baseball, softball, basketball, track, swimming, water polo, or volleyball, if your talent lies in athletics, you could choose to combine that with some service work—teaching local aspiring athletes to sharpen their skills in your sport.
- Academic competitors: Subject-oriented organizations like Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, robotics competitions, speech and debate teams, or mathletes are all great ways to get involved. Having a leadership spot or even starting a new academic club at your school could be an even more outstanding way to show your academic strengths.
- A heart for service. Perhaps you are inspired by social justice, generosity, or simply bettering your community. Doing service work is a great way to spend hours outside of the classroom. If you’re an aspiring educator, perhaps you want to tutor younger students who need more help. If you’re hoping to improve the homeless situation in your city, maybe you’ll find volunteer work with a food pantry or shelter. Is taking care of the environment your passion? Doing local cleanups can be beneficial to your community. At College Ready, we work with students on creating their own Passion Project to really highlight the things they care about and to take action in making an impact out in the world. Our students have created amazing projects that have had local, national, and even international influence.
What are you good at, and what do you enjoy? The best extracurricular activities are going to be the ones that you want to do consistently. Choose to do things that will highlight your strengths and skills.
Go one step further. If you’re just signed up for 5 different clubs and attending meetings passively, that isn’t the ticket to standing out in a pool of college applicants. Instead, choose to seek out a leadership position. Or, take action and start a new club or organize a new even that you think would really benefit your school or community. Challenge yourself to stand out and excel.
Are you a busy high schooler? Do you need help putting it all together? College Ready has a team of experienced consultants that can help you discover or design a great lineup of extracurricular activities. It all starts with you, your interests, and your desire to get involved.