The key to choosing your extracurricular activities

The key to choosing your extracurricular activities

Have you somehow heard of the rumors of American Universities wanting only “all-rounder” students? It seems that you have to be an all-rounder who can play musical instruments, be a drama star, serve as a sports captain, volunteer with charity organizations, and be the president of the student union, only then will you be admitted to your favorite university? Well, this is in fact, just a MYTH! 

In terms of extracurricular activities, universities prefer quality over quantity.

Why are Universities not looking for an all-rounder?

Universities are building a diverse student body. They hope that students with different talents and interests will make different contributions to the campus. When establishing a freshman class, the university does not intend to accept hundreds of equally well-rounded students. They want to find students with unique skills and expertise. You can think of all college students as a complete puzzle, and each student represents a unique part of it. You are the only one with such talents and interests, so show it and deepen your experience in this particular area!

Participating in Extracurricular Activities at School

  • Listen to your heart, your extracurricular activities should showcase your passion to the university, so pursue the activities you are really interested in. If you are not sure what you are interested in, then try several different types of activities, and then narrow the scope to the top 3-4. Although you do not have to limit yourself to a single category or area, you also shouldn’t participate in too many activities. Most importantly, you need to know that the intention of taking part in an extracurricular activity is to do something you love, and not to participate in what you feel will impress people.
  • As mentioned above, it is best to try a few different activities first to find the best one that suits you. Then you need to focus on 3-4 activities that you particularly like. Once you narrow down the scope, show it by committing long-term! Universities like to see your long-term enthusiasm and focus in a certain area. If you can invest in the same activities most of the time, that would be a clear advantage.
  • Try to take a leadership role or add value in these areas in other ways. Universities don’t just want you to simply participate in a certain activity, but they hope you can bring value. They want you to contribute, and your extracurricular activities should prove that you can use your interests and talents to play a role on campus. For example, to become a club leader, plan a special event, form a committee or generate a new idea.
  • Admissions Officers also like to see personal development over time. Your interest should also deepen or develop each year, which can include strengthening your leadership role in the organization or participating more (leading a committee, planning more activities, and recruiting others to join). It may also include spending time on your own to further explore your interests or improve your skills. Take relevant online courses, work or internship opportunities, go to related summer camps, or view books on the subject from the local library. Universities like curious, enthusiastic and motivated students. You should make the best use of available resources and opportunities to explore your interests at a deeper level. In doing so, it allows Universities to see your readiness for it.

Participating in Extracurricular Activities Outside of School

Participating in additional extracurricular activities outside of school is recommended if you want to further show your passion and academic ability. With regard to ability improvement, it is recommended that students participate in activities that really improve themselves. One such example takes the form of research program. For example, if students are interested in mathematics, participating in a project on mathematics can help students discover more potential and prepare for future career prospects.

Engaging in research program focuses on the targeted planning and implementation of students’ application goals, not limited to academic and scientific research abilities, but also includes cross-cultural experience and abilities, leadership, social responsibility and even personality and emotion. Participating in research program enhances extracurricular activities and social practice will make students more aware of their interests and strengths, and do their own planning career as soon as possible.

In all, University Admissions Officers are not looking for an “all-rounder” student, but they want students who are able to show they excel in a particular area. They do not want a “jack of all trades, master of none” student. Participating long-term in extracurricular activities and engaging in additional research program you are passionate about will always give you an advantage over other students. 

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