Updated: May 14
The college admission process is itself an extremely challenging and nerve-wracking process because of the different procedures involved. The fact that we have to write numerous essays, does not make it any easier. When it comes to jotting down your grade and standardized test scores, it’s easy to form a comparison between applications. But what do you do when they are all comparable? This is where the extracurricular activities that you have taken part in over the years come in handy. But then again, how do you compare different activities and decide which one is better suited to the university? Read on to find out!
For starters, we’d like to say that please don’t do these activities just for the sake of looking good on your applications, because not only will you have a tough time getting through it, admission officers can see through that. There’s no fixed or even unspoken rule about what kind of activities you can include but the idea is that you are doing something you enjoy and that shows.
When it comes to speaking about sports in the Common App essay or any other part of your application, you need to show how the skills you have learned from it can be applied to different situations in your life. For example, most sports activities are about teamwork and participation and in some cases, even leadership. You can correlate this to how such skills will help you be a part of a team working together in college or industry; how such activities can help you distinguish yourself as a leader in any setting and comparisons like that. Let’s say you’re into music and have been either singing or playing an instrument for a long time, you can include that as well in your essay. You can speak about how learning music theory or to play an instrument has taught you discipline and patience and why you enjoy it.
The idea is that admission officers are looking for students who not only think outside the box but also do other things apart from academic activities. This is because it gives students a well-rounded education and that is what most universities are offering these days. Speaking about activity from personal experience especially from a first-person point of view can help you tell your story in a way that makes you stand out from the thousands of essays they’re reading and also show your uniqueness.
Community service is also a good way to understand the problems of the local community and showcase to the admission officers your level of awareness of the issues pertaining to your community. It is understandable that you might not have the opportunity to do so, instead speak about something you did in your free time. Did you volunteer, work, indulge in a hobby? Anything that can help them understand you better. You need to reiterate how these activities have impacted you and how you will use the skills learned during these times when you attend university.