It’s no secret that extracurricular activities can make a positive impact on the college application. Like volunteering, they demonstrate to admissions officers that you are committed to an activity and organization. Perhaps more important is the personal experience you will gain and grow from, which can ultimately help you when it comes time to craft your position statement.
While the position statement is an important part of the application, it often deters students from getting an early start on their essay. Why? Through a holistic admissions review, colleges and universities look for candidates who demonstrate personal growth, dedication and leadership, among other important skills. But illustrating that in 650 words or less can be intimidating. Thus, the essay often causes delays.
High-school organizations and clubs, however, can help students focus the essay on just that: personal growth, dedication, and leadership. Furthermore, this personal growth can be used to fuel success for years to come.
So how can you get started? Let’s take a closer look:
High-school organizations and clubs help students gain skills that have a positive impact on their future.
“Realistically, there are some activities that do tend to stand out more than others,” says experts at Peterson’s, a resource for college-bound students. “If your accomplishments are a little more on the unusual side, putting together a proper presentation can help admission officers see those debate awards or rock-climbing activities more clearly.” And when it comes to extracurricular activities, colleges are more interested in the depth of involvement than the actual content. So don’t worry about holding the title as the class president if you’ve made a contribution in other ways, like a commitment to the theater, debate team, or school paper.
Where can students acquire these skills?
So what type of skills will you gain from joining a high-school organization or club? More important, will certain clubs and organizations help you gain specific skills? Here are some ways to start thinking about these questions.
- If you’re looking to improve leadership or communication skills, you may want to consider running for student government or working as a peer tutor or volunteer.
- Colleges also look for students who have made a difference, so if you’re passionate about sustainability and the environment, consider joining the environmental club.
- Find an activity that you care deeply about. Whether it’s captain of your varsity soccer team or editor of your school newspaper, as long as you demonstrate initiative and commitment to the activity you’re involved in, you’ll be that much closer to distinguishing yourself on your application.