Extracurriculars That Will Boost Your College Application

By Savannah Wardle 

Healthy Lifestyle Seamless Pattern

So many extracurriculars to choose from, so little time…

Everybody knows that extracurricular activities look good on a college application. But which activities are the most impressive? And how many extracurricular activities should you aim to include? There are a few key things to remember when choosing extracurricular activities with a college application in mind.

Firstly, less is sometimes more. Dedication to a few activities you’ve engaged with for years gives colleges a much better idea of your interests and staying power than many shorter term activities that have been picked up and dropped.

Secondly, the extracurricular activities themselves don’t really matter. It’s how you use them to develop and demonstrate your skills. The single fact that you enjoy snowboarding is unlikely to impress a college applications team. Instead, they want to know about the skills and attributes you gained through that snowboarding experience, of which there will be many.

Here are a few extracurricular activity examples and tips for how to reference them in your college application:

Subject Related Activities
Subject related activities can help to show your commitment to the subject you want to study at college. If you want to study journalism, you could write for your school newspaper. Or if you want to train in the medical field, try to get some work experience in a local medical center. You could also sign up to nationwide competitions that demonstrate your abilities in a particular area. Including a subject related activity on your college application will help to show how passionate you are about your chosen subject, a quality all colleges will look upon kindly.

Volunteer Activities
Being able to say that you regularly volunteer within your local community can look really good on a college application. Work for a wildlife conservation organization, sign up to a mentorship program for disadvantaged children or even go to volunteer abroad during your vacations. This kind of charitable work shows a certain type of personality – someone with a sense of responsibility and empathy. It can also help to develop skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving and awareness of perspectives other than your own. Talk about the things you’ve learned and the skills you’ve gained in a college application to really make the most of your volunteering experiences.

Whatever your sport of choice – skiing, snowboarding, football, hockey or gymnastics – it can look amazing on your college application if you have the right approach. You need to show real commitment to developing your sporting skills– skiing ability alone won’t get you a place at college. If you enjoy a particular sport, set yourself personal goals and record how you went about achieving them. Or teach beginner skiers to tackle their first slope. Extracurricular sporting activities help to show your confidence and your dedication. They can help to show colleges that you’re a passionate and well-rounded student.

If you love to perform on stage or work behind the scenes, conduct or play in a band, create art or critique it, you can use these experiences to boost your college application. As with sports, passions of this kind help you to communicate to colleges the kind of well-rounded and dedicated person you are. Talk about your own progress and successes in these fields or demonstrate the fact that you’ve shared your knowledge with others to really make your extracurricular achievements shine.

The extracurricular activities you choose to do while at school are likely to take up a lot of your time. You shouldn’t pick activities just because they’ll look good when you apply for college. Instead, find things you’re truly passionate about. That way you can boost your college application and have lots of fun at the same time.

About the author: Savannah Wardle works at Snowpak. She is an experienced traveler who loves winter sports and mountains. Whenever not working, she’s at the slopes in the US, Asia or Europe. She’s also interested in photography and film-making.

Looking for other ways to boost your college application?  Check out The Secrets of Top Students for more tips, tools, and techniques.


10 Skills High School Students Must Have To Prepare Themselves for College Life (Guest Post)

It’s never too early to learn new skills, especially if you know these skills will be central for college success. College is very different from high school; your responsibilities and the self-discipline required to meet them increase drastically. By cultivating these skills as a high school student you will be able to prepare adequately for college life.

College awaits you.  Be prepared!

College awaits you. Be prepared!

1.         Time Management

Coursework, classes, and exams are your basic responsibilities in college, so it’s essential to be able to manage your time wisely to avoid pressing deadlines and failure to commit to your responsibilities. Honing your organizational skills will help you act proactively and manage your time more efficiently.

Time management is closely related to your study habits. To manage your time efficiently you need to review your notes daily, expand on them, and assign time for research and comprehension, especially for challenging textbook reading.

2.         Stress Management

College can be very stressful if you’re not prepared for it. During your high school years, make an effort to always have your stress levels under control. Sticking to a healthy, balanced lifestyle will ensure your stress can be managed in a sustainable and effective manner.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take care of your body and mind; engage in sports, eat healthily, and find channels for expressing your frustration, whether it’s through art, writing, or talking with someone. Knowing how to relax and process your anxieties rationally are two other important aspects of stress management you should master before college starts.

3.         Computer Literacy

Technology is changing education from the roots up. Having basic computer literacy skills, like touch typing and researching, are skills you will find handy in college. Many students find it easier to use a laptop or a tablet for note-taking, so mastering fast and accurate typing skills will facilitate your studying.

4.         Critical Thinking

In college you will be expected to critically analyze study material, journal articles, and other often obscurely-written academic material. Critical thinking is the ability to engage intellectually with what you read. Rather than passively taking in new knowledge, critical thinking and analyzing means you assess, challenge, and then absorb new knowledge in ways that ensure it can be beneficial and, as much as possible, objective and freed from dominant discourses.

5.         Note-Taking

Note-taking is a complex skill. It requires attention, critical thinking abilities, and efficient writing so as to not miss any valuable remarks by your instructor. High school is a great time for starting to work on your note-taking skills, which you will find to be essential for college success.

If you choose to use a laptop or tablet for note-taking, you need to have advanced typing skills to keep up with your professors’ speech. So better brush up on your typing skills today!

6.         Note Reviewing

It’s not enough to take good notes if you never bother studying them. More of a habit than a skill per se, daily reviewing of your notes means less time during exam preparation because you will already have substantially covered and comprehended the study material.

7.         Motivation

In college you will not have as much support from your parents and instructors; college is a more independent road you’ll have to walk. For that reason, being able to find motivation internally is crucial. Motivation is what will help you stick to your efforts and resist the temptation to give up when things get ugly.

Discover what motivates and inspires you. It’s what will push you to achieve your goals and make you a better person and an achiever.

8.          Reliability

The increased independence college grants a student is often undercut by that student’s yielding to bad habits of procrastination and unreliability. Students naturally prefer to engage with more fun free time than educational activities, but if they do so to excess, their academic performance suffers. Avoiding procrastination and successfully committing to your duties is a central skill for college success.

9.         Concentration and Study Environment

College is full of distractions, and that’s why you need to know how to concentrate and shut off any diversions. A quiet, isolated study environment that also inspires learning will help you stay focused on your academic work. There’s no better time to practice this skill than in high school, which is already a very noisy and distracting place!

10.        Completing Assignments

In college there will be no one to remind you of your responsibilities, and as an adult you will be expected to meet deadlines for all your coursework. Get into the habit of committing to your tasks and do so ahead of schedule. You never know what might come up, so it’s better have extra time on your hands than scrambling to compensate for unexpected events that take up the time you’d planned on using.

These ten skills will boost your performance during high school and prepare you for college life, and your professional life thereafter. Start mastering them one by one and you will be able to start and finish your college years full of confidence and enjoying your well-earned success.

About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Vocabulary Software which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

Learn how to succeed in college from the experts.  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!