College Applications and Extracurricular Activities

Published by Wendy Nelson on

A common question high school students ask is, “What do colleges want to see for extracurricular activities?”  The answer is, they want to see depth, not breadth.

  • If your child is in a sport, he or she should try to become a captain by junior or senior year of high school.
  • If your child is in a club, he or she should try to get elected to a leadership position by junior or senior year.
  • Community service is pretty much expected these days.  Encourage your student to focus his or her service activity into something that is of great interest.  For example, this could be working with kids, working with the elderly, working outdoors, volunteering at a local museum, church or community center.
  • Your student should try to focus on activities outside of school that match his or her passions – this might be art, music, theater, sports, or computers, just to name a few.
  • Jobs and summer programs in your student’s main area of interest are always looked upon favorably.

Encourage your student to narrow down to just a few activities by junior and year to allow enough time to focus on grades, ACT/SAT tests, college visits, and then the college application process during senior year.