The Down-Low on Extra-Curricular Activities
As you’re putting together your applications to apply to colleges, you might begin to wonder, “Just what is an extracurricular activity, anyway? Does that mean school-sponsored activities only? Can I simply list all of my hobbies and everything that I enjoy?”
Extra-curricular activities can encompass both school-sponsored clubs and activities, as well as things that you do on your own time. So yes, you can list activities that are not sponsored by your school. In fact, colleges like to see that you have diversified interests, so it might even be a good thing if many of your extra-curricular activities occur off-campus. Some examples of extra-curricular activities might include:
- Artistic endeavors, like painting, dance, photography, creative writing, or even blogging.
- Church activities
- Clubs – at school or otherwise
- Military activities, such as Junior ROTC
- Community clubs and organizations, such as theater or festival groups
- Political activities – do you volunteer for a particular political party?
- Music – are you in a band, or do you play a musical instrument?
- Sports – whether school-sponsored or not
- Volunteer work – mentoring younger kids, working with animal rescue groups, volunteering in hospitals or nursing homes, highway cleanup, and so on.
Many students think that “more is better” when it comes to listing extra-curricular activities. That isn’t necessarily true. Yes, admissions counselors want to understand more about you and how you spend your time. But some students can’t participate in a large number of extra-curricular activities, because they have a part-time job. If that’s the case with you, it’s okay to list that job as one of your activities! In fact, you should describe your job and how it is helping you reach your goals. Admissions counselors will admire your ambition.
Speaking of describing your activities, doing so will add another nice touch to your application. Devote a few sentences to each activity, to share what you love about your hobby or how volunteer work has helped you grow. Demonstrating why you enjoy particular activities is much more important than stuffing the list with as many groups and clubs as possible.
For more information on the college application process, give us a call. We specialize in helping students prepare for testing, write effective essays, and gain admission to the schools of their dreams.