Choosing Extracurricular Activities That Will Appeal to Colleges

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In today's increasingly competitive college environment, high school students are now recommended to pursue extracurricular activities in addition to their regular academic requirements. And for good reason – these activities are an important addendum to any student's college application, and may very well give you the edge when applying to the college of your choice. There's tons of extracurricular activities to look into, so we've narrowed it down to a few simple guidelines. Here are Tutor Doctor's tips for choosing extracurricular activities that will appeal to colleges!

Find activities that help your community.

One of the best ways to really shine on your college applications is to show you genuinely care about your community. There's no better way to do this than to participate in extracurricular activities that showcase this ideal! Volunteer work is always an excellent choice because it allows you to directly benefit your community in the process. Park cleanup initiatives, food shelters, hospital volunteer work, religious groups, blood drives, community centers – all of these are great efforts to participate in to show you want to give back to your community.

Seek out activities that reflect your career focus.

If you are applying to a school with a specific career focus in mind, you can highlight these interests by finding activities that reflect this. Although you may not have your major (let alone a career) decided yet, pursuing paths in your areas of interest shows strong motivation. Interested in becoming a veterinarian? Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. Applying to performing arts school? Get involved with drama classes or community theater. Interested in pursuing a law degree? Seek out internships for local attorneys. Getting hands-on is a way to show prospective colleges that your areas of interest are more than just whims!

Focus on an activity that makes you unique.

Not every extracurricular activity has to be academic. Whether it's music, sports, the arts, a hobby, whatever your personal interest is – if you've got something you are passionate about, don't be afraid to highlight that on your college application, even if it doesn't have a direct relation to your professional / academic goals. If you had been taking piano lessons since childhood, this would be an amazing addition to any college application even if the school you are applying to had nothing to do with performing arts. The point is – these types of unique activities are what showcase your personal drive and dedication!

Look for activities you won't lose interest in.

Consistency is key. If you aren't sticking to your extracurricular activities, it doesn't matter how many you include on your application. We touched on this a while back in our “Why Your Kids Should Consider Volunteer Work” blog:

“In fact, in a survey of admission officers from 32 of the top universities, 70% said they preferred to see a student that focused on a specific volunteer mission. Of those same officers, a whopping 92% said they were more impressed with a student that spent four years volunteering at a consistent organization.”

To colleges, long term focus and dedication on a few activities is more valuable than sporadic participation in several activities. By choosing the right extracurriculars to get involved in, you can give yourself a serious edge over other college applicants!

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