Why participate in extracurricular activities for university applications?
Today, getting into a prestigious American university is more difficult than ever. It’s common knowledge that the two factors most crucial to university applications are academic achievement and standardized test scores. However, there are now a lot more international school than there were ten years ago. Early exposure to the international curriculum has led to an increase in students’ grades and standardized test scores. GPA 4.0, TOEFL 110, SAT 1550, and AP 7 subjects with 5 points are nothing new. Students must discover a strategy to set themselves apart from the other competitors. This is when extracurricular participation comes into play.
Participating in useful extracurricular activities for university applications will ensure you have something worth mentioning in your resume!
Types of extracurricular activities for university applications
Volunteer activities, student union and club activities, and community activities are the three primary kinds of extracurricular activities for university applications.
1. Volunteer activities:
The best way to develop students’ morals is through volunteer work. Participating in volunteering work can also be a good way to show your passion for a subject. For instance, a student with philanthropic interests can create initiatives to fight poverty in underdeveloped areas and help in social welfare fundraising or relief efforts. A potential nurse can volunteer at a nursing and senior living facility to gain extra caregiving experience. Volunteering at an animal shelter is an option for those who want to be veterinarians.
2. Student union and club activities:
On American university campuses, there are typically hundreds of different kinds of student clubs and societies, many of which are run by the students themselves. These organizations and groups assist students in their academic endeavors as well as in honing their leadership and management abilities. When hiring students, many businesses prioritize the student experience. There are many different types of activities, such as Computer Science Club, Magazine Club, Mathematics Club, Aerospace Club and many more that are catered to students’ subject interests. If you are a STEM student, engaging in these STEM-related clubs will cultivate your research and analytical skills which are crucial to showcase as your extracurricular activities for university applications
3. Community activities:
Almost all American university application forms include a column for extracurricular activities that asks applicants to list their involvement in community service. Every American institution offers students the chance to get involved in social service and aid in this area, just as a company’s social responsibility symbolizes the value of the company.
In addition to developing students’ leadership and organizational abilities, the school organizes students to take part in these social service activities in order to teach students the value of community service and assist them in finding work in the future. Technically, community service is different from volunteer work because community service may not be voluntary. Such community service may include forest clean-up, planting a tree or even helping the elderlies do tax filing.
Where to fill in your extracurricular activities
When you Click “Activities” on the “Common Application” website, you can see that the website invites students to list the activities they have done in “life outside of the classroom”, including the following 8 examples:
- Art and Music
- Community Participation
- Family Responsibilities
- Work or Volunteering, and
- Other experiences that you find meaningful
How much time should I invest in these extracurricular activities for university applications?
You can begin engaging in meaningful activities as early as your freshman or sophomore years of high school. At the beginning, you can try to participate in some projects that you are interested in. After you have a clear direction, you can focus on one or two activities.
We don’t need to participate in all the above mentioned 3 types of activities to improve the university application materials, and we don’t need to engage in certain activities to build a strong résumé. The most crucial thing is to choose a direction that interests you, demonstrate to the admissions officer that you are continually exploring your potential in this sector, and demonstrate that you have a greater grasp of society after participation.
To sum up: there are many meaningful extracurricular activities for university applications that a student can participate in. Therefore, it is recommended that students narrow down to their interest as soon as possible.
How do you judge if an extracurricular activity is worth participating in?
First of all, it is necessary to clearly judge whether the extracurricular activity is worth participating in. Does the extracurricular activity add worth to your university applications? Here are some criteria for judging extracurricular activities for your reference:
- Does the activity have social or community impact?
- Will you be able to make a significant contribution? For example, create a new website for your school or event, organize a speaker series on women and leadership at your school.
- Will you be able to cultivate a new skill that will help in your university application? For example, having in-depth knowledge in a certain topic such as astronomy or be able to speak Spanish fluently.
- Will you have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills?
- Will you have the opportunity to become the “first person” in some important activities. For example, become a founder of the school’s first disabled run-up club; become the first high school student to be hired as a photographer by a local newspaper, etc.
- Are there any awards and honors to be won?
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