If college applications are still a ways away, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do now to put yourself in the best possible position once it comes time to apply. To start, you’ll want to pursue challenging courses and perform well academically. However, one of the most important things you should be doing is thinking about the extracurricular activities you’re involved in outside of school.
Extracurricular involvements include any activity not immediately related to a class assignment or a course you’re taking in high school. This includes school clubs, athletics and outdoor activities, community service, work experience, internships, research experience, religious activities, political involvement, theater, music, and a host of other things.
Just about every college expects that you’ll be active extracurricularly. Colleges want to see that you will be an engaged and contributing member of a college community. One way to show this is to be active outside of the classroom and pursue outside interests while in high school. The value of extracurricular involvement is not only that it strengthens your college application, but also develops your self-awareness, maturity, and time management skills. Besides, participating in activities of interest to you should be fun and engaging (if it isn’t, maybe you should try getting involved in something new!).
In choosing extracurricular activities, it’s OK to start broad. You’ll want to explore several areas of interest early in high school so that you can narrow it down to a few meaningful activities later on.
Remember – colleges like to see commitment to a few activities throughout high school, as opposed to inconsistent involvement in several activities. Think about ways to earn or qualify for a leadership position early on. Your extracurricular involvement is a reflection on you, so try to find activities you find enjoyable and fulfilling!