Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Extracurricular Activities May Be the Key To Getting Into The School of Your Dreams

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Extracurricular activities to paint a picture of who you are.

Many students wonder how important extracurricular activities are for a college application. Do schools really care what clubs you joined, what sports you played, what charity you may have volunteered for, or what musical instrument you possibly tried to master?

What exactly are colleges looking for when they ask you for all the activities, clubs, positions, events and charities you’ve (perhaps) participated in during your high school career?

Paint An Interesting Picture of Yourself

Your involvement in extracurricular activities gives admissions officers a point-of-entry into your personality. They want to find something they can focus on, that’s interesting, that will differentiate you from the many other applicants in the pile.

Admissions committees use your extracurricular activities to paint a picture of who you are, as a student and as a person — to develop a fuller understanding of how you spend your time when you are not studying or at school, and to access your level of intellectual and cultural interest, background and depth.

In other words, your extracurricular activities are like the paint an artist uses while creating a portrait of you. Your goal is to make that portrait as original and interesting as possible.

The most important thing to remember is that the top schools in North America aren’t just looking at grades and test scores: they’re looking for original thinkers.

Demonstrate Your Originality

The top schools pride themselves on developing the next leaders of the world in economics, politics, arts and the sciences. You’ll be way ahead of the game if your extracurricular activities are unique and demonstrate your individuality.

Your personal voice, experiences and interests will make you a unique and powerful future leader, in whatever your field. So, strive to list those experiences and activities that are perhaps unusual, perhaps a little off the beaten path. Demonstrate, if there is skill involved, that you do it and excel at a very high level. Let your uniqueness shine through, and that will shine through to the admissions committee, as well.

Good luck, and just represent your best original self!

Jillian B
Author: Jillian B
A former Harvard University interviewer, and Harvard graduate herself (class of '95), Jillian B. has been running her own admissions consulting service, "www.harvardessayconsulting.com," that helps both MBA and undergraduate college applicants get into the school of their dreams.
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