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What extracurriculars?

What extracurriculars did you take to get to your college and to decide on major?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Aisha’s Answer

Hello Bob,

Leadership Roles and Responsibilities - Universities are always on the lookout for candidates who have demonstrated leadership skills. Holding a leadership role shows your dedication to your passions and your ability to create a positive impact within the campus community. Leadership can be exhibited in various ways such as being an Eagle Scout, achieving a Gold Award, editing the school newspaper, captaining a sports team, or holding a student council position.

Part-Time Employment - Universities appreciate seeing part-time jobs listed on applications. This not only highlights your strong work ethic but also your experience in a professional setting. It may also show your capability to be financially responsible, even if you're still living with your parents.

Sports and Athletics - Admissions offices favor applicants who have participated in sports. Being part of a team sport showcases your ability to work cooperatively with others towards a shared goal, beyond just personal achievements. Participating in a school or club sport can also display your determination, commitment, and ability to manage your time effectively.

Academic Clubs and Teams - Engaging in activities such as debate, chess club, model United Nations, and mock trial can demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning and expanding your knowledge beyond the classroom. Admissions offices will recognize your dedication and motivation, as you're opting to undertake extra academic activities beyond the requirements of your high school diploma.

Artistic and Creative Endeavors - Artistic and creative activities like painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic design, fashion design, theater, music, and dance can accentuate your ability to think innovatively and create imaginatively. Hence, universities are always thrilled to see these activities on applicants' forms.

Volunteering and Community Service - Volunteer work and community service show that you're aware of and care about the world around you. Activities such as building homes with Habitat for Humanity, serving meals at Room in the Inn, or sorting cans at your local food bank can highlight your commitment to service, and your desire to make your community a better place. This can also give universities a glimpse of what they can expect from you beyond just attending classes.

Internships - If you're applying to a specific program or school within a university, relevant internships can significantly boost your application. These experiences showcase your interest and expertise in a particular field and can offer a valuable viewpoint for you to bring to the related coursework.

Interning with a nonprofit or local business can not only prepare you for college-level coursework but also enhance your chances of getting into more selective universities. While internships are typically reserved for college students, there are several opportunities available for high school students as well.
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Mitchell’s Answer

When it comes to extracurriculars, I STRONGLY suggest to forget about how the universities might view your choice.
Instead do what you like/love doing. For me that was sports.
Choosing extracurriculars you love will allow you to enjoy them more. Which will make you better at them. You’ll also be enjoying life instead of being in an extracurricular you only choose because the university might prefer it.
Lastly, by choosing what you like, you will speak passionately about it. You’ll have joy and excitement in your voice and writing. This will stand out to universities!
Good luck!
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deborah’s Answer

Hello Bob! I would choose what you enjoy doing or have a passion for. Any volunteering, sports, clubs, etc., will help you develop valuable skills and experience that can help in college and career.

If you have an idea of a college major, then finding extracurriculars that are related will benefit you. For example, if you are interested in science, then join/start a science club. Extracurriculars are opportunities to apply what you are learning in action. They also have important opportunities to develop success skills ("soft skills" such as communication, leadership, ethics, organization, social/relational)

For me, I was a Girl Scout, played soccer, and volunteered. I attribute my career success to these high school extracurriculars. Primarily, the experience itself was the most valuable. Secondarily, helped with college admissions.

I hope my answer was helpful to you
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Robert’s Answer

The overwhelming vast majority of colleges won't really care about your extra curriculars (ECs). Only top level, Ivy League, schools care about that -- and they generally only use those as tie breakers.

Are you a 4.0-5.0 student who consistently scores in the top 1% of your class? Do you regularly complete your work ahead of everyone else? Are you in AP courses, taking courses at the local Community College, and excelling at all of it? Do you realistically see yourself going after admission to an Ivy League school?

If you answered "yes" to all of those questions, then the answer to your question about ECs is: it depends on the admissions officer who reviews your file (they all have their own preferences). Most are looking for well rounded students who do a mixture of: volunteer work, community focused work, extra education, and avail themselves of opportunities they may have in their school/town (not everyone lives in San Francisco/New York, and admissions boards know this, so they will evaluate your ECs based on what was available to you within a 50-100 mile radius of where you live).

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, I wouldn't worry about ECs. Yes, they may be a tie breaker if you intend to apply to a University of State college, or another higher ranked school like that. But for the most part, universities outside of the Ivy League tend to just look at your grades and AP Exam scores. Have some ECs and put them on your application, but don't stress about it. A good combination would look something like this:

-4 Years of Martial Arts/Soccer/Volleyball/etc.
-1 Year teaching middle school kids about basic math
-1 Year helping to install a bench outside city call
-Built a webpage for a local business/helped organize a church bake sale / repainted the town square
-Member of the Debate/Coding/STEM/Cooking/Chess club

Those 5 ECs show you are well rounded, are giving back to your community, and have a variety of interests. Those ECs also won't matter at all if you plan to attend a JC or State school (especially if transferring from JC to State). It really depends on what you are aiming for, but what I have outlines about are the general guidelines.

Good luck :)
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Bob
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