It is never too early for your child to begin their portfolio for college admissions. Create a meaningful plan. Grades and test scores are part of the formula for acceptance. Extracurricular activities complete the profile to set the student apart from other applicants.
How do extracurriculars fit in the college admissions process? This is an excellent question. Extracurriculars provide the college applicant a competitive edge. As much as 25% of acceptance decisions are decided through the student’s involvement in extracurriculars. The choice of the “right extracurriculars” is decided by you. Your commitment to extracurriculars builds a powerful portfolio.
Colleges vary as much as the students who apply for a golden seat at competitive universities. Extracurriculars are a must for college acceptance. To decide the best extracurricular, first ask yourself, “What do you want from your college experience?” This is as critical as your choice of major. Once you have narrowed your areas of interest – sports, theatre, music, student activism or spiritual connections, explore your dedication to your choice.
What best extracurriculars will strengthen your odds in the admissions process? Choose what highlights your character, leadership, and enthusiasm. The colleges want depth – growth in your experiences to demonstrate your resilience. If you commit to volunteer service, contribute every week over a period of time, ideally connected to your major. Volunteerism provides an extra boost against other college applicants. If your major is medicine, explore opportunities in hospitals. The best extracurriculars highlight you.
Many colleges, such as Harvard, have hundreds of choices of extracurriculars. The Harvard extracurriculars are divided into thirteen categories to support students with well rounded experiences. Utilize the Harvard extracurricular categories to guide your best extracurricular decision.
Where to start? Define your major and best extracurriculars. If you are a musician, research a campus that continues to develop your talents. Explore outlining cities to further your goals.
The college application provides opportunities for you to tell your story. Besides listing extracurricular activities, your essay demonstrates your passion and dedication towards the extracurricular. What did you learn? What level of perseverance pushed you to succeed?
If your high school does not offer extracurriculars, develop your extracurriculars through other venues. Almost every sport has traveling teams outside of high school. If your sport is not offered at your school, join teams in the local communities. For example, most California schools do not offer ice hockey. However, competitive traveling ice hockey teams compete outside the high school arena. Create something you love on or off campus to highlight your commitment, your leadership. Make it an opportunity, not a disadvantage.
The best extracurriculars define you. Utilize Harvard extracurricular for inspiration. Then dig deep to create your passion. If you, the parent, and your child need a coaching conversation to find inspiration, EYHLifeCoach can partner to discover your extracurricular passions.
Christina Dalton is the Principal of EYH Life Coach. She applies her own personal and career transitions along with several degrees and credentials to provide insight and knowledge into the coaching experience. Christina handpicks her staff, all of whom are ICF credentialed and have unique experiences to create invaluable coaching sessions.
By Christina Dalton, MS, PPS, PCC, EYH Life Coach