I love receiving questions and feedback from my listeners and from students who have decided to work with me to maximize their opportunities to get into the college of their choice. Some of the feedback I’ve been receiving lately has been in the form of one particular question: What is the best practice for filling out the section on the Common Application where it asks for my involvement in extracurricular activities? That’s a great question, and the answer is one that can help you set yourself apart and be favored in the eyes of many college admissions departments. On this episode, I’m going to tell you how I counsel my clients to complete the activities section of the Common Application for college.

Extracurricular activities can be one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from others

I understand how the activities section of the common application can seem like and a non-essential bit of information when it comes to applying for college. But hold on a second and think it through with me. Colleges ask for this information for a reason, and that reason is that they want to see what kind of person you are outside of school. The things you’re involved in demonstrate your interests and your character, and colleges care about those kinds of things. Be sure to listen to this episode as I walk you through the best practices I have discovered for completing the extracurricular activities section of the application. It could make a world of difference in how the college of your choice views your application.

Here’s a sticky-note exercise to help you complete the extracurricular activities section of the common application for college

I never recommend that students who are completing the Common Application for college just sit down and start filling in the blanks. You need to approach this seriously and put your best foot forward, and that takes some planning and discipline. In this episode of The Scholarship Shark, I outline an exercise you can use to brainstorm the best responses for the extracurricular activities section of the application. It involves sticky notes, some creative thinking, and an honest assessment of the impact you have had in the world through the activities you have been participating in. I think you’re going to like this exercise and will find it very helpful.

Think in terms of who you are as a unique individual when you complete the activities section of your college application

When it comes to the activities section of the Common Application for college, it is not a time to be overly humble. You need to carefully look at the activities you have been involved in with an eye toward the impact you have had through your involvement in those activities. You may need to ask for the opinion of others who have participated in those activities with you, or the insight your parents may have as they have observed you. This will give you a well-rounded and realistic view of the contributions you’ve been making through those activities. Those are the kinds of things that colleges want to know about you, so don’t be shy and telling them. In this episode, I give you many insights into what colleges are looking for so that you can fill out the extracurricular section of the application effectively, so be sure you listen.

When you fill out your college application, apply these tips to stand out among the crowd of applicants

In my experience, the activities section of the College Application is one of the best places for you to differentiate yourself from the crowd of applicants colleges receive every fall and spring. Use the extracurricular activity section to your advantage by highlighting the difference you are making outside of school. Colleges want difference-makers as students, not just good academics. Find out how I guide my clients to complete this section and why the application of my tips could make the difference between getting into the college of your choice and not being accepted.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:44] The things that sparked the idea for this episode about extra curricular activities on the Common Application
  • [1:35] Activities can be one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from others
  • [2:59] There are 10 spaces available, should you complete all of them?
  • [4:45] Here’s a brainstorming exercise to help you complete the extra curricular section
  • [9:03] Ideas to make your activities stand out
  • [10:48] Don’t forget about the impact your extra curricular activities have had
  • [12:05] Get a fresh pair of eyes on your application before you submit

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