Everyone knows the importance of academics in high school, but what about extracurriculars? Extracurricular activities can be something you do outside of school such as community service, volunteer work, family activities, and hobbies. It also offers a chance for you to stand out, give them something to talk about when writing essays or during interviews for college, and can show colleges that you have more to you than making the grade. They can range from the arts, clubs, media, military, music, and sports. Here are some general tips for finding, joining, and enjoying extracurriculars:
There are a variety of ways to find a new hobby. One easy way is to ask your friends what activities they participate in. They can give you some insight, offer help, and if you’re interested, can be the companion that you share that activity with. Another way would be to check the school’s bulletin board or website which often announces upcoming events/clubs to join. The last method, while time consuming, can be a lot of fun and make or some good memories: start your own club. They are a ton of resources available for anyone hoping to start a club not currently available to them.
Finding Your Interests
Activities such as clubs and groups will usually have an opening day designed to bring in new members. These days are a good chance to see what the organization is all about. If it appeals to you, make sure it fits into your schedule and hopefully something that will keep you interest for a long term. Continuously doing an activity shows commitment, an important characteristic for colleges to consider. Finding something to be passionate about can also help when deciding majors and job careers in the future. They can also help shape who you are by gaining new skills. It can also just be something fun to do in your spare time with friends or a place to make new ones with similar interests.
Take it from me (the Sophomore taking an AP class, part of the swim team, a high school editorial intern for the Prospect, and taking SAT Prep on the side), time is not your friend. It’s certainly a difficult thing to manage school work and extracurricular activities, which is why it’s important to efficiently manage your time well. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with sleeping either. Getting a good night’s rest is vital when you have a busy schedule the next day. This may be difficult for those of us who procrastinate, but there are many resources out there meant to help students plan their day out to make for a better life inside and outside of school.
Sadly, those wonderful days of lazing around during July will be gone. Relaxing is definitely important to keep people happy and healthy, but it shouldn’t be your entire summer. Colleges are interested in what you do during your summer off, because simply playing video games from dawn until dusk won’t get you very far as far as college admissions officers are concerned. It doesn’t have to be something dull, it could be a fun activity that you do with your friends such as volunteering, getting jobs together, and maybe even starting your own business or picking up a hobby together. Again, you don’t have to do things on your own if you get others interested and involved.
Quality Over Quantity
While having twelve different activities to put on your college app seems like a good idea, it may not be the best if you’ve only done them for short periods of time. Colleges look for people who show dedication to what they’re passionate in. Having one or two long-term activities matters more than a few dozen unrelated strings of clubs that you’ve been a part of for two weeks. Extracurricular activities are meant to make you shine and stand out along with giving colleges a glimpse of who you are all in one go, it’s important to specialize a few.
For these activities, they can often show your growth as a person over time. If you contribute to your club or group, becoming the captain of the team, or implement an idea that helps the community. While grades are important, extracurricular activities can give you a boost in the ever competitive world of college admissions. Just remember to spend your time meaningfully and do something you truly enjoy.