Extracurricular and Community Activities
School admissions officers want to get to know the “whole you” beyond your academic record, from your outside interests to your ability to lead and work with others.
Extracurricular and community activities can showcase your talents. If you spotlight them, emphasize activities that show multitasking capabilities, well-roundedness, and leadership. A person with a reasonable academic performance who accomplished a lot outside of class may be viewed as favorably, if not more so, than someone with a perfect GPA and nothing else to show for his or her time.
If you have less work experience, documenting extracurricular activities also may help you demonstrate soft skills. Schools want to know not only how well you perform in school, but also how successful you are in the “real world.” Before you write about your extracurricular or community activities, consider the following:
- Be prepared to talk about your personal contributions. A school will be interested in what you did personally to make a difference or contribution. If all you did was attend meetings, you might be better off not listing the activity at all.
- Provide only pertinent information. Highly personal information may not be relevant or useful.
- Be particularly mindful of religious or political affiliations. Determine whether potential gains, such as demonstrating leadership, outweigh the possibility for negative perceptions or bias.
What to Include in Your Essay: Key Dos and Don'ts
Admissions Professionals share their insights into what makes a winning essay.