by Jason Patel for Niche
Colleges are searching for a diverse student body. They want students with different talents and interests who will make varying contributions to campus.
When building a freshman class, colleges aren’t looking to accept hundreds of students who are identically well-rounded. They’re hoping to find students with unique skills and specialties.
Colleges want well-rounded classes, not well-rounded students.
But you don’t have to take it from us. Here’s what a few top colleges have to say on the subject:
- “You [should] demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what you spend your time doing. The joy you take in the pursuits that really matter to you – rather than a resume padded with a long list of activities – will strengthen your candidacy.” –Yale’s advice on Activities
- “When we evaluate an applicant’s activity list, we’re not looking for a specific number of involvements or even specific types. We are much more interested in seeing an applicant follow their passions and show dedication over time to a few specific involvements rather than spreading themselves too thin.” –USC Admissions Blog
- “We are looking for students who will contribute their talents, interests, perspectives, and distinct voices to our community… We are more interested in your focus on a few activities over time (such as work, care for parents and siblings, service, or athletics), rather than membership in a long list of clubs—although we understand that some students can balance an assortment of activities.” –Swarthmore College, “What We Look for in a Swattie”
- “You’re joining a team. And because we’re recruiting a team of people who will work together, we want a variety of strengths and talents that, together, will form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. So, not every talented student needs to be talented in the same way.” – UNC-Chapel Hill, “Who We Want”
Think of a college’s student body as a puzzle, with each student representing a uniquely important piece. You’re the only one with your exact talents and interests, so demonstrate and deepen those instead of participating in many activities at a shallow level.