UG Admission Guide: The Importance of participating in Extra- Curricular Activities

extra-curricularExtra-Curricular activities are very important for your applications. However it should be kept in mind that they should not affect your academics.

Extra-Curricular activities can be anything right from association with the sports team or club at your school to something totally different. They also include any jobs or internships you have had, as well as volunteer work you have performed. Participating in an extracurricular activity — be it a sport, a part-time job, a hobby or volunteering — while maintaining good grades demonstrates good time management and leadership qualities.

Why do colleges care about extracurricular? 

Colleges like to admit students who are involved in their communities, interact well with others, and work to develop their talents and passions. A student who participates in extracurricular activities is more likely to do each of those things than a student who has no such engagement.

Great extracurricular activities can also help you stand out from the thousands of applications colleges receive by highlighting a particular skill or interest of yours that makes you unique and memorable.

Remember DO NOT try to do EVERY activity possible

Many students make the mistake of trying to show the admissions committee ‘I can do everything’. This is not the right approach. College officers want to see what you are passionate about and what activities have you done to pursue your passion. Merely undertaking an activity for ‘listing’ it on your application does not help.

Students can strengthen college applications by exploring a couple of activities and sticking with them through high school — and they will develop skills and interests that may last a lifetime.

Examples of different activities

  • If you are interested in music, you can join the school band/choir.
  • You can join various clubs based on your interest – book club, biology club, poetry club, drama club, quiz club, computer club etc.
  • If you enjoy sports, join the relevant school teams.
  • If you are a creative person, enroll yourself in arts and crafts activities.
  • If you enjoy MUN’S, participate in 2-3 in a year.
  • If you like public speaking, you can participate in debates, declamation competitions etc.
  • If you enjoy writing you can join the editorial team of the school newspaper or magazine or be a part of the year book editorial team.
  • Participate in school trips, camps, field trips, industrial day trips, community service trips etc.
  • You can participate in academic based competitions depending on what your strengths are like Science Olympiads, Maths Olympiads, spelling bee, quiz bowl etc.
  • Try to take up a foreign language if your school offers one. You can also join clubs language clubs.
  • For the science students, science exhibitions are a great way to work on an innovative project and showcase your talent.
  • If your school organizes community festivals or food festivals on different countries, states etc., you must participate in this.
  • A love of technology can take you far. If you have strong knowledge in a particular area, try sharing with the online community. The bonus of these activities is that anyone with an internet connection can do them – no need for a school-sponsored club. Use social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or start your own blog or website to showcase your talent.

Keeping a Record of your Activities

  • Make a habit of maintaining a journal. Whenever you participate in any activity, make some notes about your feelings, experiences and what you learned from that specific activity. This information will be very useful when you are formulating your application essays. In this journal, you can write about your experiences after participating in a sport, a competition, after a school trip, a summer camp etc. Anything you feel has impacted your life or any sort of achievement should be written down.

Since you will be participating in a variety of activities throughout the year – be it sports, debates, community service activities etc. it is very important to keep a track record of all. Remember every little activity, sport or volunteer work that you do counts. Since some of you would start participating in activities right from the start of class 11, it is very important to record them in an organized manner. In this way, you will not miss out on any while filling your application form. For this you should maintain an activity sheet.