The college admission process can be overwhelming for many families considering the competitive nature of admission as well as the many variables high school students must take into account: challenging curriculum, strong essays, excellent standardized test scores (in most cases), and remarkable recommendation letters, to name a few. In addition to presenting these factors, it is essential for students to distinguish themselves and stress their additional activities. It is not the quantity of activities presented but the depth and continuity of a few activities demonstrating focus and sincere interests.
Colleges want to accept students they believe will become actively engaged on their campuses. Once students have the required grade point average and test scores, admission officers look for those items that will set a student apart and enrich their incoming classes. Colleges want students who will explore and take part in many campus activities. Their goal is to create a well-balanced class with students who have exceptional talents.
Although not everyone is a leader, it is important for students to have activities that encourage them to take on responsibilities, create new clubs, and bring innovative ideas to campus. High school students may start out as a member of a club and rise to be president by the time they are seniors, for example.
Students who are active on campus tend to enjoy their college experience more with few, if any, reasons for transferring to another college. Colleges want to establish strong retention rates. Thus, they like students who remain productively engaged in campus activities. Colleges consider involved students as eventual alumni who may be potential contributors to that college.
Students should know that if their high schools do not offer the types of activities that interest them, there are countless community resources that can be researched. Remember that although grades, scores, essays, and recommendations count, it’s also the student’s participation in things that the transcript does not reflect that also matter in admission decisions. Activities do not need to be directly related to the high school. Colleges want to know what students like to do in their free time. It is okay to list hobbies in which students are involved whether building computers, photography, cooking, learning magic, or anything that demonstrates learning, enthusiasm, initiative, and continuity.
The purpose of the activity résumé is to give college officers better insight on the student, as they do want to learn as much about them as possible.