As a high school student, you may have already begun thinking about college applications, especially if you're a junior or senior. There are a variety of different elements of the college app, including a brief overview of your extracurricular activities. These help schools get to know who you are behind the GPA and test scores. These allow you to back up the claims you make in your essay if you've stated that you consider yourself a leader, an artist, an academic, or something similar. By no means do you need a huge assortment of these activities. If you can focus on just three types, your application will have a stronger impact. These three should include academics, community involvement, and something reflective of your personality.
Academic Related Activities
If you know what major you're going to pursue, are you doing anything related to it? Say you want to be a teacher. Is there an after-school tutoring program you can join to help others catch up or opportunity to shadow an elementary school teacher? Maybe you're hoping to become an actor on Broadway or in a feature film. Are you taking drama classes and performing in plays? Colleges want to see that you're being proactive in developing your craft, whatever that may be. Saying you want to be a football star because you currently play football won't stick out. Doing something related to your major will show them that you're serious and driven.
Personality Related Activities
These don't need to involve academics at all. In fact, they can exist entirely out of the school. You already likely have this one, even if you don't realize it. Maybe you're really into cooking and practice new recipes every week to improve. You could have a successful side gig as a vlogger and find passionate in speaking to your audience. These activities allow you to show what you truly love doing—who the real you is. If you can express sincere passion in an otherwise cookie-cutter sea of applications, they will notice. Even if your hobby feels insignificant, it could be what the decision board remembers about you.
Community Service-Related Activities
Getting involved in the community will showcase your commitment to something bigger. Volunteering can seem like a large time commitment but will feel good once you've recognized the impact you've created. This could be within your church, a food bank, or an animal shelter where they could use an extra hand. If you can spot problem areas in your community that you think you could solve, see if it's possible. Colleges want to admit students who take on adversity and create viable solutions. Is there a major gap in your community's recycling program? What could be done to remedy it? Allow causes you care about to shine through here.
One of the most important elements of all of your extracurriculars is authenticity. So many students with great GPAs and a scrolling list of activities look the same. Allow who you truly are to stand out amidst the story the data tells. Take advantage of these extracurricular activities to demonstrate your passions, dedication, and personality.