What extracurriculars are most important?

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Our counselors answered:

What extracurriculars are most important?

James Montoya
Vice President of Higher Education The College Board

What extracurriculars are most important?

Here is my video response to the question.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

What extracurriculars are most important?

Only you know the answer to this question, because the only extracurriculars that are truly important are the ones that are most meaningful to you! As a busy high school student, you probably don't have much time -- so choose HOW you spend your time in a meaningful way. Don't just join a club or participate in an activity because you think that it will "look good" on your college application. Choose activities that you enjoy and that motivate you to work hard to get the most out of them. Meaningful engagement is definitely more important than joining a club/activity to look "well-rounded." And believe it or not -- the difference is readily apparent to admissions officers. They have seen thousands of applications -- and they have the experience to see the difference between students engaged in activities they feel truly passionate about and students who are doing things to impress others. So... if you want to spend your time doing things that you actually ENJOY AND things that will "impress" admissions officers -- choose activities for which you have an authentic and meaningful interest.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

we must looking into the contents vs. committement

extracurriculars are required by selective schools and always help the studen to gain admissions in general. it is time consume and it requires committment for each selected participantion. sports is one of the extracurricluars activities most recognized by colleges for admissions consideration. it has nothing to do the level of the performance the student actually achieved unless committed to play for college during the college period. academic activities are also important as extracurriculars if you are determinded to compete for the most selective schools. summer programs are the key for some schools. be careful to plan and use your time wisely are my suggestions.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Important to Whom?

Only you the student can answer that question. What you invest the most time doing will reveal what you care about the most, and ultimately, for what you stand. Choose wisely, but don't choose because someone told you what you should do to get into college. Choose what you love, where your passion lies, and your authenticity will shine in the college admission process.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Extracurricular activities

The important activities are the ones that you enjoy the most. Period. Do not join clubs or student government because you think it will look good on a resume. Don't go on government leadership trips when you have no interest in government. Pick a few interests or activities and immerse yourself in them. It is a myth that colleges are looking for well rounded students...they love students with sharp edges. Whatever it is you love to do, do it. And, make sure the college has the activities YOU are interested in.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

You--Not the Schools--Decide Which Extracurriculars Are Most Imporant

While it is true that being a blue chip athlete can make for a straight shot past go and into college, for most applicants, the value of co-curricular activities is less about the impact of the specific activity itself than about what it reveals about you and your interests. Joining countless clubs, but making little impact may say something about your wide ranging curiosity or it may speak to an inability to make a commitment. What you haven't done may also speak volumes. A student who checks pre-med on the application but has never volunteered in any medically related area is sending a very real message, however unintentionally. If you are not sure of your passion, try something, explore. Demonstrating your willingness to venture into a new area is no small thing—and the search for the right activity might even prove to be a great essay topic.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

It's not the What that's important

Extracurricular activity in general is what is important. Schools want to see that you have interests other than final grades. Whether you are involved in athletics, music, politics, job; hopefully you've demonstrated commitment and possible even leadership tendencies. This isn't about quantity and how many lines you can fill on an activity resume. It also isn't about following any "right formula" with your free time. Do what interests you and everything else will fall in place.

meredith bracco
Director Educational Opportunities Consulting, LLC

What extracurriculars are most important?

The best extracurriculars are the ones that truly matter to you. Find something that you can be passionate about. Don't do something just because you think it'll look good when you apply to college. Being disingenuous is never in your best interest. Your grades are still of utmost importance, so any activity that takes away from studying had better be worth it. You should be thinking about a leadership position by the time you're a junior (and definitely as a senior).

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What extracurriculars are most important?

In my opinion, there are not any extracurriculars that are "most" important. What you want to do is discover extracurricular activities that further your interests and to which you can commit. Having said that, use your common sense in choosing your activities. There may be some extracurricular offerings at your school which are just time fillers and may offer no particular value. You can probably tell the difference. Colleges and universities aren't particularly interested in someone who dabbled in everything and committed to nothing. They would prefer to see a student who chose his/her extracurricular activities carefully and was then willing to commit time and energy toward productive engagement in those activities. Areas you might consider are music, art, dance, drama, sports, student government, community service, or various academic specialty clubs like foreign language, science, technology, etc. Of course, there are other worthwhile activities, some which may be specific to the area in which you live. It's okay to test the waters in various activities to start with - to find out what really excites your interest, but then try to limit your extracurriculars to a few to which you really want to commit your time and energy. There is also the possibility that you are truly outstanding in some area - playing the cello, for instance, and want to commit much of your non-academic time to that pursuit. That's okay, too. In this context, I once heard an admissions officer from an Ivy League university say, "Yo-Yo Ma did not also have to play football." In other words, if you are passionate about something and talented in that area, you don't have to throw in a bunch of other extracurriculars just to pad your resume. Have fun with your choices!

Lin Johnson III

What extracurriculars are most important?

The most important extracurricular activities are those that you have exhibited a true passion in. There is not one activity that holds more importance for admission officers than another. What admission officer would like to see related to extracurricular activities is leadership, commitment, and passion. Often, this translates into activities that you have done longer than a year or those which you made a positive impact in your team, your community, your school, or someone else's life. No matter whether you are a football player or a band member or a tutor, it is about your ability to be an agent of positive change. Hence, the most important extracurricular activity is the one that is most important to you.