Most people know that colleges do not just look at grades only but give a careful eye to extracurricular activities. The activities within which your son or daughter participates, will give the colleges a wider view of who they are as a person and what they value in life. Below are some points to consider as it relates to extracurricular activities and how colleges look at them when considering applicants.
Passion Plays A Part
Extracurricular activities are important. Students should focus on activities that they are passionate about. When a person is authentically passionate about something it will shine through. If a student is volunteering in something they are not interested in, whoever is their supervisor will see through it and may be less inclined to give a good reference. However, a passionate person is more likely to do a good job which will be noticed by someone who could be a good future referrer.
Balance, Balance, Balance
While extracurricular activities are important there is the possibility of “too much of a good thing” Students are always encouraged to have excellence in performance, and many people may think that they need to participate in multiple activities in order to look like a superstar student who can “do it all”. However, doing too much can make your child look unfocused and overworked.
One study found that students that participate in more than 17 hours of extracurricular activities a week could harm their educational prospects. Doing too much and not having time for relaxation can be stressful. Students need balance in their lives and colleges are looking for students that appear to be able to balance life – academic life and life – outside of school.
Colleges look not only at your child’s activities but also how long they have been active. It is best to start early, as early as the 9th grade. Starting early gives students the chance to build hours and try different activities. If it is almost time for your child to submit college applications and they do not have much activity, now is the time to get busy. Some extracurricular activity is better than none.
The Best Extracurriculars?
Colleges want to understand who your child is as a person. When your child chooses and participates in extracurricular activities they need to be able to show that they have made an impact and a level of leadership. How these two important factors are shown will vary, for example a student that volunteers at a pet shelter and demonstrates impact and leadership by fundraising and were a part of helping a lot of pets become adopted can be just as impressive as a person who volunteered at a nursing home and took the lead on teaching seniors how to use computers and tablets to have video chats with their family members who live far away. The key thing is that your child needs to be encouraged to participate in activities where they can make an impact and show leadership plus initiative.
With commitment and some time, your daughter’s or son’s extracurricular activities can create a track record that will impress colleges. It is important to have a balance, start early, and make an impact to create the positive impression that you and your child is hoping to create.