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How Are My Extracurricular Activities Used in College Admission?

Admission officers look closely at your activities outside the classroom on your application. Here's what to know about extracurriculars in college admission.

CX experts generic imageRhiannon Schade
Director of College Counseling
Collegewise of Millburn
College admission officers look closely at what you have done outside of the classroom. They are looking for evidence of commitment and your capacity to care deeply about what you choose to do with your time. They also hope they can see the purpose in everything you have done. This means it is not useful to “collect” activities or leadership positions for the sake of lengthening your résumé. It’s much more meaningful to find activities you really enjoy and show initiative in those areas. You don’t have to be the leader of seven clubs to be impressive—but no one gets credit just for showing up either. For each and every activity you do, admission officers want to know that you made that team or organization better because you were there.

Laurie Kopp Weingarten

Laurie Kopp Weingarten
Certified Educational Planner
Co-founder, One-Stop College Counseling
When it comes to extracurricular activities in high school, student involvement is all over the map. Some teens are involved in very few, while others have so many that we can’t help but wonder how they find time to sleep! In the context of the college search process, extracurriculars are another method of getting to know students better. In addition, once admission officers establish that a student can thrive academically at their school, they immediately look to determine how that student can contribute to the college’s campus environment. While there’s no specific activity that will assure your admission to a particular college, colleges will assess how active and passionate you are about your high school activities and then make a judgment as to whether you’d likely continue your interests at the college level.

Find more top-notch college application advice in our College Admission—Ask the Experts section.

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