October extracurriculars frenzy

October 1, 2006 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Posted by Luke

It’s October. Leaves are turning red, pumpkins are being carved, people are getting drunk at Oktoberfest, and you’re writing you’re college applications (or if you’re a junior and are hyper-focused, you’re already planning your mode of attack on next year’s college rush). Although test scores, transcripts, and college essays are integral parts of the college essay, I’m here to talk to you today about a highly-overlooked, yet critical piece in the whole 8-page hodgepodge that is the college app. I’m going to discuss the list of extracurricular activities (gasp!).

I’m sure that AdmitSpit readers are focused and active in all sorts of clubs and organizations and are experts at efficient uses of time. However (and don’t try to deny this because you all do it) a good number of these activities that you “take part in” are nothing more than resume fillers that looked good in a nice collated list on your CV (stands for Curriculum Vitae… like a resume, except with everything you’ve ever done in your life). Search within your heart, you know this to be true. Everyone does it and it’s a natural part of the highly-motivated high school experience (when I was a senior, I was in 14 clubs, eight of which I never went to the meetings for and just got the free t-shirt). What I suggest and what colleges are looking for nowadays is less of a “well-rounded” person to the point where they are members of both the young Democrats and young Republicans at their school, and more of a student of the “specialized” persuasion.

As is true in our “market-based economy,” it is only natural for one to laud the merits of specialization. What I mean by specialization is instead of running the gambit of high school extracarricular groups, choose two to four that you are truly passionate about and spend most of your time enjoying and improving these clubs. Colleges DO ask how long you spend every week at these clubs. Most applications will have a field for you to enter the extracurricular activity along with a description and then a number for how many hours per week you were involved in the club for. They want to see if you are a superficial, “wall-flower” member, or a motivated student that uses all their energy pursuing what truly peaks their interest.

I digress here to say that you could easily lie on your application about how many hours a week you spend on clubs, but remember that college admissions officers are not stupid and know that you really only have no more than 68 hours in the week, not including showers, meals, driving, and other mundane tasks that clutter our existences, to commit to these clubs and if you’re in more than six after-school groups, they’re going to know you’re full of shit and no one wants bullshiters in their college. (Most college apps only provide six spaces for extracurricular activities by the way.)

At a recent talk with an admissions officer of one of the elite American colleges, he told me the one aspect of a student they like to see more than anything is passionate interest in a field. So find you something you like, and be passionate about it!

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Entry filed under: Academics, AdmitSpit, College trends, Common application, Curriculum vitae, Democrat, Essays, Extracurricular activities, High school, Motivation, Republican, Resumes, School clubs, Testing, Transcript, Writing.

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