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The college admissions process goes far beyond high school grades and SAT scores. Well-rounded students are in high demand, as are those with unique talents and interests. Extracurricular activities, in particular, offer valuable insight into your personality and way of life. They indicate where your passions lie—and how you might harness long-held interests for the good of your new college community.

If you’re eager to give your college application a boost, consider highlighting the following extracurricular activities:

Volunteer Experience

Your efforts to make a difference in your community could be handsomely rewarded as you seek that desired acceptance letter. Highlight each volunteer position in detail, including not only where you served, but also in what capacity. Note any skills or insights you gained along the way.

If you have yet to volunteer, it might not be too late—even a briefly-held volunteer position can make a real difference on your application. Top volunteer opportunities include:

  • Libraries
  • Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Parks and recreation
  • Animal shelters
  • Summer camps and other youth programs
  • Academic Activities

If you’re determined to major in a particular subject, you can gain an edge by using your application to demonstrate that your passion runs deep. Academic endeavors shouldn’t be limited to the classroom. By participating in academic activities, you can prove that you have the drive it takes to succeed in a demanding college program. Examples of academic activities worth highlighting include:

  • Science Olympiad
  • Language clubs
  • Mock trial
  • Theater
  • Agriculture clubs such as FFA
  • Quiz bowl
  • Math teams
  • Book clubs
  • Robotics clubs

Don’t hesitate to include academic endeavors pursued outside of school. A variety of community clubs and teams allow you to build on your interests while developing strong relationships with passionate individuals of all ages. These pursuits can lend additional color to your application.

Leadership Roles

Colleges looking to shape the leaders of tomorrow appreciate applicants who are eager to take on new challenges. Many seek proof that applicants can succeed under difficult circumstances. Students with leadership experience quickly stand out, especially if they’ve spurred growth within the organizations they’ve led.

Examples of leadership roles or experiences include:

  • Captain or manager for a sports team
  • Academic club leader
  • Student council member
  • Organizing fundraisers, food drives, or other charitable efforts
  • First chair as an instrumentalist in band or orchestra
  • Drum major in a marching band

Director for a theatrical production

Editor for the school newspaper

Leadership can take many forms. Think carefully about the many ways in which you have faced challenges and taken charge. What seems like ‘not a big deal’ to you could leave a huge impression on those examining your application.

Athletic Participation

No matter your plans for participating in college athletics or intramural activities, you’ll want to highlight your high school experiences. These will instantly convey your value as a team player. Whether you sat on the bench or set team records, your experience in athletics can demonstrate your passion, commitment, and resilience.

Don’t worry if you participated in unconventional sports; these are often prized just as much as ‘traditional’ activities. From speed skating to fencing, a variety of activities can easily attract attention. Likewise, don’t limit yourself to mentioning official school sports; community teams and associations are equally valued.

Artistic Endeavors

Creative types can quickly set themselves apart on college applications. Band, orchestra, choir, and theater and dance are especially valuable. Where did you perform? Did you compete? Include details to highlight the full scope of your artistic experience.

Don’t worry if you possess limited experience in the performing arts. Colleges also appreciate students who spend their time behind camera lenses or with canvases full of paint. Club participation makes it easier to underscore artistic passions, but creative efforts can also be demonstrated by highlighting art shows, murals, or other projects. If your creative pursuits primarily involve the written word, be sure to highlight published works.

Technological Skills

Not all extracurricular activities need to involve teamwork. Solo ventures can also prove valuable, as long as they are presented in their best light. This is especially true of activities that highlight your technological prowess—an oft-forgotten quality that is absolutely worth noting in your application.

Have you spent the last few years immersed in writing code? Are you passionate about ethical hacking? As a technological go-getter, you could be a shoo-in for a variety of competitive programs. Colleges are increasingly eager to take on students who possess clear technical aptitude.

Work Experience

Many students applying to Post have held part- or full-time jobs, explains Victoria Meehan, Director of Admissions – Main Campus at Post University.

“For some students this has made participating in many extracurriculars difficult, but it should not be counted out when it comes to presenting themselves as a well-rounded candidate for admission.”

Meehan continues, “Whether it is for a little extra spending money or because they are a vital contributor to their household, students with work experience have demonstrated that they know how to conduct themselves in a professional environment.”

“And that ultimately is the point of earning a college degree, to prepare students for their future careers,” she says.

Working in a job that is not directly related to the major one hopes to study can do a lot to set an applicant apart as it shows the student’s ability to balance their coursework and workplace responsibilities.

“If the job is related to the field that the student intends to study that is even better, “she says.

“Babysitting experience, for example, looks good on a Child Studies application, a shift supervisor position does wonders for someone applying for a degree in Management, etc.”

Extracurricular activities can spell the difference between a run-of-the-mill college application and an attention-getter. Don’t hesitate to highlight the activities and experiences that have helped shape you into the hardworking, passionate person you are today. Your detailed application could be rewarded with an acceptance letter—and a head start on the exciting path to achieving your dreams.

Upcoming Open House

Come find out what Post University has to offer at our next open house!

October 12, 2019
What to expect:
– Financial Aid Workshops
– Campus Tours
– On-site transcript reviews*
– A chance to meet faculty, advisors and discuss academic programs
– Personalized college admissions advisory sessions