By Miguel Agyei
Who are you as a person? What are you about? What do you bring to the table? These are a few questions you must ask yourself when applying to colleges. The answers to these questions may help you get into the college of your dreams and even earn you some scholarship money in your pocket! Often students believe that GPA and ACT/SAT scores are the most important factors behind college admissions. According to NACAC’s 2013 survey, 41% of colleges rated extracurricular activities as of moderate importance and 34% ranked them as of limited importance.
Extra-curricular activities do play a role in the admissions process. Erin Kitson, a college and career coach at Lake View High School, said that “60% of students participate in extracurricular activities, 75% including jobs as extracurricular.” She also expressed that the students who participate in extracurricular activities tend to be more successful in the real world. These students know how to manage their time and get tasks done by their priority deadline. Julian Parrott, an admissions counselor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also advocated that admissions counselors look for academic patterns to level all high school students due to the differences in schools based on funding. Do the students take advantage of and challenge themselves with the courses at their school? He also went on to say that the essay written for colleges is a huge opportunity for students to sell themselves to a school, “Schools don’t want to know about the school, they want to know about you.” A few tips he gave for students were to show off leadership, show a balanced schedule, and have as many honors or awards as you can. Personalize these activities and awards to the major you are interested in so they can demonstrate who you are as a person.
In conclusion, extracurricular activities are an important part of the application process and make a statement to prove your versatility to admissions counselors along with your college readiness.