Extracurricular Facts Worth Considering for College Admissions

Whether they’re just heading into freshman year or are on the verge of accepting their diploma, your high school student is probably already thinking about college and the admissions hurdles they have to clear to make it in the door of their institution of choice. For many elite schools, it’s no longer enough to just be good in class. Your student will have to prove to admissions counselors that they are not just good at studying, but that they are also a well-rounded individual. To prove this, your student should consider these extracurricular activities that will open the door a bit wider for them.

Leadership opportunities

It’s all well and good if your student has a hobby that they love like horseback riding or stamp collecting, but a college or university will definitely pay more attention to it if it leads to a demonstration of leadership. The Independent Educational Consultants Association told CNN Money in late 2015 that colleges are looking for students who are ready to jump into open leadership roles in clubs and organizations on campus, which makes prior experience in leadership positions a major plus. Leadership skills are also especially useful when it comes to successful group projects.

A nervous high schooler asked the gurus at MyCollegeGuide what to do if leadership positions are limited and controlled by elections they can’t seem to win, as might be the case when it comes to student body elections. The experts encouraged the writer to find smaller ways to lead. For example, if your child isn’t elected for National Honor Society leadership, they can take the initiative to organize a fundraiser for the group’s philanthropic efforts. Taking initiative outside of a conventional leadership position may even demonstrate a greater quality for governance than simply holding a title.


When it comes to extracurricular activities, quality is almost always better than quantity, especially late in your student’s school career. A prospective college would rather see your student involved in only a handful of activities and really excel at them instead of a huge list of clubs they were part of but only participated in. This also means that if you have a junior or senior waking up to what they need to do to prepare for college, it’s better to look for opportunities connected to hobbies or organizations they are already a part of, such as a church or community service organization.


Your student might not have the luxury of time or available funds to participate in sometimes-pricey extracurricular activities. Mary Ann Barge, a tutor with PrepScholar, is quick to point out that paid work can also be listed as an extracurricular activity, especially if your child excelled in the role and gained additional responsibilities. An extended tenure at one workplace also demonstrates to colleges that your applicant is responsible and committed enough to meet the standards of an employer, which should translate to a dedicated contributor to college campus life.

When your child applies for college, they can prove they are a good fit for their institution of choice with their performance both in and out of the classroom. Consider these pointers as they get ready to start high school or tours of college campuses.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply