“Not Enough” Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions?

Most aspiring college applicants (and their families) are aware that they’ll report extracurricular activities in their applications, yet few may understand the significance of their efforts. With their extracurricular commitments, students can showcase their interests, while also contributing to their communities.

Since college admissions officers don’t set specific requirements about the number or type of extracurricular activities, students can focus on quality over quantity, choosing activities which reflect their passions. Moreover, students do not need to limit themselves to activities where they’ll excel. Try something new.

Do you. Be you.” can be one’s guiding principle when choosing activities, embracing their uniqueness. Then, when applying, students can be confident that admissions officers will evaluate their genuine self, thus less concerned about distinguishing themselves from the other applicants. 

Furthermore, while serving others is admirable, volunteering is not a mandatory requirement for college applicants. However, students can consider volunteering if community service aligns with a student’s values or character.

Additionally, the definition of leadership can extend beyond having formal titles in clubs or organizations. Students can showcase their leadership by initiating informal activities, regardless if part of a formal organization, like tutoring their siblings’ friends or learning to play the ukulele on one’s own. 

Most college admissions officers practice a holistic approach when evaluating applications—reviewing grades, test scores (if submitted), extracurricular activities, and college essays. Thus, before engaging in more activities, students can step back and assess the totality of their experience. Then, with in collaboration with family or other trusted advisors, students can determine if any additions are necessary or beneficial to their application.

For more information about how to both plan for and navigate the complex college admissions process in order to minimize the risk of educational malinvestment, check out Creative Marbles Consultancy.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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