Extracted from article published by Niche
Are you looking to choose, diversify, or deepen your extracurricular activities? Here are the 4 mantras:
1. Be true to yourself.
Your extracurricular activities should show colleges where your passions lie, so pursue enjoyable activities that genuinely interest you.
If you absolutely love science, participate in activities like the Science Olympiad, Physics Club, and/or Robotics Team. You can also attend science-related summer camps, develop your own research and experiments, and job shadow someone in a science career that interests you.
If reading and writing are your cup of tea, work on your school’s literary magazine, join the Creative Writing Club, write your own novel or short story collection, and start a book club.
Not sure what you’re interested in? Experiment with a few different types of activities, then narrow it down to your top 3-4. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one category or area of interest, but don’t spread yourself too thin.
Remember that you’re not trying to find the most impressive activities or check every box. What do you love? What “makes you tick?” Once you’ve figured that out, pursue it.
We mentioned above that it’s fine to experiment with several different activities at first. But at some point, you need to narrow your focus to 3-5 activities that you especially enjoy.
Once you’ve narrowed your focus, commit. Colleges like to see dedication and commitment to a few key activities over an extended period of time. It’s a definite plus if you can devote yourself to the same activities for most of your college career.
3. Take on leadership roles or otherwise add value.
Once you’ve committed to a few activities that interest you, try to take on leadership roles or otherwise add value in these areas.
Colleges don’t only want you to participate when you come to campus; they want you to contribute. Your extracurricular activities should demonstrate that you’ll use your interests and talents to make a difference on campus. The best way to show you’ll make a difference in the future is to make a difference right now.
Become a club officer, plan a special event, run a committee, or generate a new idea. Or if a club doesn’t exist that you’d love to join, start it yourself! Whatever you do, make sure that you contribute in a meaningful way. Keep track of your contributions so you can mention them when you apply to colleges.
You might want to have an ongoing document that lists what activities you participated in, leadership roles you had, contributions you made, problems you solved or helped solve, etc. This will help you develop your activity summary when you apply to colleges, and it may even give you some great ideas for your college application essay(s).
4. Deepen and develop your interests over time.
Colleges also like to see growth over time. Each year, your interests and involvement should deepen or develop.
This can include strengthening your leadership role in an organization or becoming more involved (leading a committee, planning more events, recruiting others to join).
It may also include spending time on your own to further explore your interests or sharpen your skills. Take related college or online courses, job shadow or find internships, go to relevant summer camps, or check out books on the subject from your local library.
Colleges like curious, passionate students who take initiative. Make use of the resources and opportunities available to you and explore your interests on your own time. By doing so, you’ll indicate that you’re just the sort of student colleges want on their campuses.