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How important is it to be a part of extra curricular activities in college?

I have just completed first year at the University of Western Ontario in General Science. I will be majoring in Biology and have a long term goal of becoming a doctor. #biology #science #medicine

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John’s Answer

Hi Niharika,

Good grades are important, yes, but what they really do is put a graduation cap over your head. Hitting the books and earning good grades is important to your collegiate career. But being an A+ student won’t necessarily prepare you for the working world. College is more than just a place you go to learn for four years (or more). College campuses around the world are filled with opportunities. You can find chances to get ahead in your career, make new friends, follow a passion or interest, participate in the university’s student government and more. If you’re looking to achieve more, then it’s best to invest your time in good extracurricular activities.


Whether you join an ( e.g. organization or a club), you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who have the same interests as you. By joining extracurricular activities, you can get to meet people whom you can form long-lasting connections with. Joining a group also tells a lot about your interpersonal skills when you’re applying for jobs.

Being part of the ( e.g. debate team or study group) doesn’t just mean you’re eager to strike arguments. It implies that you’re confident when it comes to public speaking. Your extracurricular activities actually teach you important professional skills that you can use in various aspects of your life, especially at work.

Companies are looking for individuals with a good work ethic and strong interpersonal skills. Because how you interact with your coworkers can determine your ability to transcend your ideas and make plans work. Most companies these days won’t bother considering your application if you have no experience at all, so it would help to have had ( e.g. part-time job or Internship)

Student clubs and societies aren’t the only way to find extra-curricular activities, talk with a counselor at your college’s campus activities office for more guidance:

John recommends the following next steps:

Create a University of Western Ontario Vlog
Look for Professors Discussion Groups
Look for Temporary Research Studies
Look for Industry-Related Projects
Look for Study Trips Abroad

Thank You Tammy. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

Thank You Sacoyah. “At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” – Denzel Washington John Frick

Thank You Roberto. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr. John Frick

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Niharika,

I would second just about everything that John has said, but I would also add that when I look back on my life, my best moments weren't things that I had planned everything for. There is so much that as an individual, we just cannot know, and that's why we must socialize with others. Others with different values and motivations, all add richness to our lives. They add unexpected flavors and enrich our journey though life. This is why the extra curricular activities are so important in college.

I'm not sure how many will agree with me, but I think the best thing you can do for yourself in college, even beyond getting good grades, is finding yourself knowing who you are. If you can do that, you can find the path that will bring you the most amount of happiness and fulfillment in your life. You'll also notice how much you change from week to week, month to month, and year to year. And the best way you can find yourself is to see the world. Is to talk to different people from all different walks of life and learn from them, to empathize with them, and learn their struggle. At least that's how I'm learning to find myself.

I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for asking this interesting question!


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Dustin’s Answer

I would agree that being involved in extra curricular activities is almost as important as the actual school aspect itself. Not only do these give you the soft skills of communicating and connecting with others but it also shows that you are good at networking. These are the skills that will really set you apart from your peers and are applicable to almost every field regardless of which path you decide to take career wise.

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Roberto’s Answer

Hi Niharika,

Couple of thoughts. Most people change what they do throughout their career. So the hard skills you learn, although important, might not be as important as soft skills you acquire. Such as...leading others, public speaking, negotiations, selling your ideas, facilitating meetings learning about different ways of thinking from different cultures, religions socio economic backgrounds, etc. All this I learned in college but out of the class room.

I urge you to volunteer, get involved and try new things that you feel are scary but that you know will make you grow. (Healthy things of course) Lots of luck!



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Riley’s Answer

I definitely don't think it is nearly as important to do these in college as it is in high school. However, being involved in (and especially holding leadership positions) in clubs or organizations will look good on your resume when applying to jobs. People hiring for companies will most likely be looking for someone who not only did well academically in college, but also developed significant social skills. It is important to have good social skills because this will help you become more likable and confident, and these skills will definitely be improved if you are part of an organization.

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Amanda’s Answer

Hi Niharika,

I went to the University of Western Ontario and graduated with an Honours BhSC in 2017. I had the same goal of med school in my first year as well. I would definitely encourage you to get involved in at least a few extracurriculars. There are a lot that relate to the healthcare industry/science and you can check them out via the club group, your science association or the student centre.

Getting involved throughout your undergrad would show that you're a well-rounded candidates during med school interviews and also help you define what is is you're passionate about.

I got involved with several different teams and student organizations throughout my four years and I'm so happy I did. There are so many different career paths out there and I'll be totally honest, when I went in with the "med school" mentality, I wasn't aware of the other industries/careers I could be a part of. I got involved in pretty much every different form of club/program out there with the purpose of trying something new and learning more about who I was in relation to a future career. (and no, I didn't pursue med school after all)

So really in the end, it comes down to what your career goals/interests are. I'd recommend researching potential areas of interest and trying to find at least 1-2 volunteer/research opportunities that relate.

Hope that helps!

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Shruti’s Answer

Grades will make you smart but extra curricular will make you interesting, give you an edge and make you confident about your decisions because you know the world beyond academics.
Plus it is very important to use your right brain along with your left brain to maintain the balance. Pick an extra curricular activity that helps you work your right brain and bring out your creativity.

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Husseina’s Answer

Getting involved in activities outside of school Has so many benefits. The most important ones are :
- it improve ones social skills
- it help students expand their networks, which is beneficial for finding career opportunities after graduation
-‘Lastly and not the least, it can help to meet new people with whom they share interests.

Husseina Abba

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Rachel’s Answer

SAT score and GPA are by far the most defining portions of your application. After that, schools consider leadership, volunteering, and athletic or music abilities.

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Cara’s Answer

Hi Niharika
Excellent question! All to often it is very easy just to focus on courses, prerequisites and how you will get into medical school. I remember being in this position and was thankful that I asked this same question and became involved in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Without question this helped me get into medical school as much, if not more, than my grades in biology etc.

I agree with the articulate answer given by John above. Medical school admission committees are always interested in what when you aren't studying for tests. Being a doctor is very much an art. Being involved in activities, groups, projects etc early on does help develop your skills as a well rounded, artistic individual. The science part is a given and that will be in place from what you are studying.

Sometimes getting involved in activities outside of the classroom is far more difficult. But I agree with John that you want to meet people and become involved social with different types of people. Look for groups or activities opposite from medicine/science. Not only will you meet a variety of amazing people, you most likely will find that you have strengths in areas you least expected. This will make you a more well rounded, open minded doctor. Further, you will likely form friendships that add a lot to your life.

Outside of just studies find activities that are fun, go outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Get involved in activities that are far from the classroom. If you like sports there is always going to be a group that gathers to play that sport etc. But to be sure to take part in extra curricular stuff FAR FAR AWAY from the classroom

Again, I agree with John. TRAVEL!!!! In my mind this is the reason to have a job!!!! I consider the world my classroom. Studying abroad is essential. While you are abroad do the minimal amount of prerequisite courses you need for medical school and spend the rest study subjects that you won't get a chance to again.

Other thoughts- If you play a musical instrument do not stop. If you have an interest in one, learn. Go to festivals, concerts, movies, etc.

Lastly- don't spend all of your time worrying about getting into medical school. Obviously, do what you need to do and do it well. Determine what you need to do, what courses need to be taken and if you need to shadow doctors . After that do things outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons. Don't miss a single moment, meet as many people as you can and travel this world. You will master the art and the science of medicine.

With gratitude,

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Gina’s Answer

Being involved in extracurriculars can be a game changer,
They help with general social interactions/communication/ meting new people. Plus they also helps you formulate a better understanding of what direction you may want to go in life-- career paths and what interests you. Can be a great start for networking when you're searching for a job too.

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Simeon’s Answer

Once you've made it into college, extra curricular activities won't boost your resume anymore. While it helps differentiate applicants from each other in high school applying to colleges, there aren't companies that will choose you over other applicants because of your activities. That being said, networking is the biggest factor in landing a job after college. Extra curricular activities are one way of doing networking, but if you have other methods for meeting people, more power to you.