How many hours a week do you…

November 6, 2006 at 2:39 am 1 comment

Posted by Dee

I think we can all agree that when a college application asks you to list how many hours you participated in a given extracurricular activity, it is possibly the worst questions out there, not only because it’s frustrating and awkward for the applicant to answer such a question, but because it’s utterly unverifiable by the admissions committee as well.

But, it’s a necessary evil on your college applications, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So, that said, here are some tips to apply for filling out this section.

1. If your activity is weekly, then it should be easy for you to fill out the amount of hours. I would say it’s fair to include the time you spend preparing for an activity too. For example, if you practice piano 3 hours a week and have a class for 1 hour a week, I think it’s fair to list that as 4 hours rather than just 1.

2. If your activity is seasonal, making it difficult to calculate weekly hours because the activity is not year-round, just add up all the hours you spent on the activity for the whole year and then divide by 52 weeks. For example, if you play basketball in the winter everyday afterschool for 2 hours with your high school team and then have games every weekend for 2 hours, that’s 12 hours a week over, let’s say, 6 weeks. So, that’s 72 hours divided by 52 weeks… well, you do the math!

3. After all your calculations, go back and check to make sure that the amount of hours you spend on extracurriculars isn’t outrageous. Total, you get 24 x 7 = 168 hours per week. Now, let’s say you sleep a meager 5 hours a night, you now have only 133 hours. But, of course, you go to school too, so that’s 8 hours on 5 days, and now you’re down to 93 hours. Let’s hope that you shower and eat and transport yourself from place to place which takes, let’s assume, 2 hours total of each day. That leaves you with 79 hours. And even that’s generous. So be wary not to pass 79 hours… actually I wouldn’t recommend passing over 45 hours per week on extracurriculars. For a student who sleeps 8 hours a night and takes a more normal amount of time to eat and shower and do other miscellaneous activities, they wouldn’t be going over 44 hours on extracurriculars per week. Oh, and if you actually have homework, that number would go down again as well.


Entry filed under: Admissions, Answer, Application, Basketball, Classes, College trends, Extracurricular activities, Hour, Mathematics, Piano, Question, Sleep, Sports, Timing, Tips/Tricks.

College, Confidential? Other sites that can help!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Helen  |  November 8, 2006 at 4:14 am

    Hey Dee,
    A lot of applications (including the common app) ask how many weeks per year you participate in the activity. That means for seasonal activities you don’t have to divide by 52, but can just write that you play 12 hours a week for 6 weeks.


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