You are probably thinking, “Okay, I just need a high GPA, take some honors/ AP courses, score a high SAT/ ACT score and I’m ‘lit’.” WRONG! Yes these are factors that on average are weighed heavily by colleges, but there is still more one has to do to be a successful applicant.
Extracurricular Activities – Join, create, take action
CLUBS, SPORTS, RESEARCH= diversity.
Do not join every club or sport and create a laundry list of extracurriculars! Instead, find what is truly interesting to you. College admission counselors are not robots, they are human and can see right through your application. With that in mind, don’t just join clubs or sports to join because it makes you look better. Join clubs that are truly meaningful to you and that you try to stick to through all four years of high school.
Show leadership in the activities you join! Whether this is joining a sports team and become captain/ co-captain, or hold an executive board position of a club.
Holding such title, live up to that title. What that means is that you have to show progress. You hold the title of President or Captain but how have you lead people while in that leadership position?
You do not have to quickly hold a leadership position within a club. You can start off as a member and if you decide you really like to get involved with the club, then try to hold a leadership position.
No clubs or sports offered are appealing to my interests.
If you cannot find any clubs or sports that are of interest to you, then create one! This will look especially good on your application as this will show that you are taking initiative to create change.
Alright, so I will just create a club to create one and no one will find out…
DON’T create a club to just create one. Admissions counselors can see right through this as well.
Well, you have a club that you created in freshman year of high school, but have shown no growth in that club. Growth meaning, that the club has done less or no activities to impact a community. Or, that the same members are part of the club. That is not obvious that you ditched the club just to put on your resume…. (sarcasm intended)
Create a club that will be at your high school even after you graduated from high school! Honestly, if you do this, it is a great feeling afterward. Trust me, I know from first-hand experience.
If joining clubs or sports do not interest you, then join a research opportunity! Some universities offer research opportunities for high school students during the school year and summer. If you can get one year round then that is great, especially if you are thinking about a career in science. And if you are thinking about a career in science then think about joining a science league if your high school offers this!
Spend your summers wisely!
Whether that is joining an outside organization to tackle a policy issue at the local, state or Federal level, doing research at a university about a topic you are interested in, holding a volunteer leadership position, organizing a 5k… ANYTHING at all to let colleges know that you look for opportunities all the time!
Do not just worry about your grades, colleges want a well-rounded applicant. Think about it! If you and another applicant have the same test scores and GPA but you have done nothing outside of class and the other applicant has, the other applicant has a better chance of getting admitted.
Join, create, take action– with your ALL