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For an application to a university, do you need extracurricular activities?

I could not do any extracurricular activities due to transportation, but I heard universities are mainly looking for students who do them. Will that impact my chances of being accepted to a good university?

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Murph,’s Answer

We are probably at a stage in college acceptance and reviews where I can honestly say, your extracurricular activities and your volunteer activities matter a lot. Why? Because this is how you will distinguish yourself from 100dreds or even 1000ths of candidates that have similar gpa and similar background. The more you do and the better you explain your uniqueness in your college applications, the better your chances. Yes your gpa and grades count. But if an admissions team sees that you got all A's and didn't do anything else, the candidate with all A's with multiple extracurricular activities will probably get the nod because this candidate on paper has proven that they can balance their academics with other activities.
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Justin’s Answer

I got into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (which has a good reputation) without extracurricular activities. I would say no.

That being said, it helps to stand out in comparison to other students, where you can say "I did/achieved so and so." For example, I had taken many college-level courses in high school and had good experience in computer programming, which would be my ultimate degree. That doesn't necessarily mean academic achievements*; I recall reading that someone had gotten into a pretty good college for writing a novel (unpublished or published, can't say) during high school.

* I don't know much about the admissions process, as a note.
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Trevor’s Answer

You don't have to, but it certainly helps!
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Allan’s Answer

Hello Lilli,

It's great that you're thinking about this important topic as you get ready for University or College. You're right, both higher education institutions and future employers usually appreciate the involvement in extracurricular activities. These can involve being a member of various clubs, participating in volunteer work at school or in your community, and having part-time jobs during your high school years.

I trust that this information has been helpful, and I'm rooting for your success.
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Adrian’s Answer

Hello Lili,

Joining a school doesn't always require it, but if you're aiming to lead a program, having it can be fantastic for your future. Keep things simple and stay motivated!
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Shelia’s Answer

Hi Lili,
It does help with your acceptance into college. Excellent grades and competitive SAT or ACT helps too along with letter of recommendations from your teachers. Have you thought about volunteering within your community or church? Do you have a part-time job or do you baby sit for friends and family? These count too!!
With transportation being an issue, would it be possible to get a ride from another student to participate in a school extracurricular activity? It never hurts to ask. You may want to discuss your participation in a school extracurricular activity with your counselor to see if they can help you attend.
Good luck!!
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