It’s summertime and the living’s easy but for those pursuing a college degree, it is important to stay mentally active over the summer. While it’s completely acceptable to get a little bit of R&R between busy semesters, a lack of activities leads to boredom. From grade school to high school, the impact of an activity is multiplied exponentially for students. They see activities as a vehicle with which they can self-identify with. Which they then use to develop aspects of themselves evolving into the person that they want to be.
Colleges see activities as a component to the admissions process. Oftentimes students who immerse themselves in activities outside of school gain better confidence in themselves. This equates to a better experience with the college admissions department. Colleges want active, engaged students who make an impact both inside and outside of the classroom. Studies find that as a result of extracurricular activities, there was an increase in SAT verbal scores by 53 points and math scores by 45 points. Students who are involved in activities consistently outperform those who are not. The activity type you choose has the ability to speak volumes about you and what type of person you are. This is what colleges look for in their admission process.
Below are examples of activities to choose and the types of benefits that they bring to the table:
- Student Government – 70% of CEOs have held at least one officer position in a club or political organization during college. Getting involved in student government is an important role in a students life. It can teach many aspects of the business world that can progress to after college graduation. Staying involved within the school is essential. Showing leadership skills builds students to the voice of the student body. Peers around you will seek support in you as a role model. Shaping you to be a formidable asset in any business.
- Volunteer/Community Service – The best tactic for gaining experience in volunteering is to consider the activities you enjoy. Find a way to apply them into hours that you serve. For example, if you love to play music, volunteer in an activity where you’re playing for people or teaching others how to play. Like sports? Go coach a team. Animals? Volunteer at the local ASPCA.
- Academic Teams and Clubs – Joining a club shows the college that you have a passion for learning, as well as earning a more competitive advantage over your peers. It also shows that you embrace challenges instead of turning away.
- The Debate Team – Students who join the debate team can think critically on their feet, speak with class while leading others into thoughtful discussions. This also runs parallel to benefits within student government.
- Internships – When it comes to landing a job, an internship is the most valuable extra-curricular to have on a resume. Statistics have reported 31% higher salary, 53% have reported a job offer by graduation and 75% preferred in hiring students with internship backgrounds on their resume. However, internships are less common for high school graduates, but if you can land an internship while in or post high school graduation it will be helpful. Internships show capability, dedication and maturity. They take more initiative but show the college of your choice that you’re capable of handling more work than the average student.
- Athletics – 43% of students who plan to further their education past high school participated in athletic activities, compared to 25% of students who had no college plans. Playing sports helps to foster a positive attitude towards teamwork, leadership and a focus on physical fitness and health. Athletics serves as an important platform to build these traits, however, balance is important. It is key here to choose different activities from different areas, so as to gain skills across a broader spectrum. This shows your college that you have a wide range of talents and character traits.
- Culture Clubs – Sports usually rate highest in participation. 29% of student club members, ages 6 to 17 chose to perfect their skills in other areas such as dance, music or learning a foreign language. Lifestyle organizations value compassion and strength in the student who promotes diversity and culture. These clubs show an open mindedness and willing to accept others while creating awareness for those that don’t fit the norm.
- Student Newspaper – The majority of colleges require writing as a basic skill. Being published shows that you’re not only a capable writer, but good enough that you got it published in a newspaper. This marketable skill looks good on your college application as it shows you remain active outside of the classroom which equates to future success in your courses.
- Performing Arts – Roughly 29% of students aged 6-17 who are involved in special interest clubs chose to perfect their skills in different areas. These areas included dance, music or learning a foreign language. Creativity is key. Creative Arts such as music, drama or visual arts tend to attract the open minded, eccentric and more outside the box type of thinkers. These qualities go a long way as they add to the diversity of campus life with new perspectives.
There are many different avenues of approach to stay mentally sharp this summer. Many of these activities are provided by the college of your choosing and can be marketed towards turning you into a force to be reckoned with in your post college career. Look for activities where you excel at and will ensure that you stand out from the pack. If you have a talent, develop it and show case it. Showing talent as a goal or being unique always captures the attention of admissions officers. If you enjoy reading our articles, please leave a comment or subscribe to our page to receive notifications for our weekly blog. Have a safe and happy summer!
For further statistics on these covered topics, here is an infographic on how much value colleges and beyond place on extracurricular activities: https://elearninginfographics.com/value-extracurricular-activities-infographic/