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Extracurricular on College Application

I am aware that you record the number of hours and weeks you were involved in an extracurricular activity. Does this number mean the number of hours you’ve spent in that club/extracurricular at school, or can the number of hours you’ve dedicated toward it also be included? For example, let’s say I was part of a math competition. Does the number of hours I’v spent studying at home count too? #college #college-admissions #college-advice


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Carissa’s Answer

When I was filling out college applications, I used this rule of thumb:

- Count the hours if you are working towards a goal for your entire organization (i.e. you are planning/organizing an event, you are in meetings with people for the organization either in school or out of school, or any time you are volunteering your time to benefit the club as a whole.)

- Don't count the hours if you are working towards a goal of just improving your skill/experience. For example, I was on the speech team in high school, and I would spend a few hours a week practicing, with and without a coach. In this case, even though the school looked good if I performed well, practicing was really just to improve my own experience for competition. In a similar case as you, I would not count the hours studying, but rather just competing or practicing with your team (if there is one).

I hope this helps!

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Estelle’s Answer

For the most part, you need to actively be participating in the activity for hours to count. That means competition, planning, classes count. Solo study time at home does not.

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Rachel’s Answer

Any time spent competing is fair game, but solo study time may be a stretch. That said, most colleges won't pay that much attention to the number of hours you put on the application.

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Heather’s Answer

I would ask your guidance counselor at your high school what is the norm to include. I believe from my experience with both of my children, the total numbers is what you have dedicated in a particular club or initiative. I do not think studying would count as being a part of this; however every county is different so I would check to be sure.


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Richard’s Answer

I would count everything you've done towards actually participating in the club or preparing meetings, but not count your study-time.

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Rachael’s Answer

Hi Hannah,

I would suggest asking your guidance counselor what is typical. Additionally, your club leader (i.e. the math teacher in charge of your competition) may have insight into what prior year students did-or ask a prior year student if you know one. You could also inquiry of the college you are applying to as a last result.

Best of luck.


Thank you so much! Hannah K.

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John’s Answer

My experience with my two college age children is that schools are looking for what effort you have put in outside of regular course work. If you put in time studying for a math competition and competed in that competition, I believe all of that time should be counted. Think outside of your classes and schoolwork. Did you do anything that is a passion of yours? Have you ever volunteered at church or in the community? Have you ever helped someone younger than you or with a disability. The school wants to get a picture of you. What do like, what are your interests outside of school and to know how you might fit in on their campus.

John recommends the following next steps:

Take an inventory of all the things you have been involved with outside of school and see how you can put those together to paint a picture for the school of what Hannah is like outside of school.

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