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  • Eric Stutman

Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions

Questions: Here are common questions clients ask me about these activities: 1. How important are my outside activities to college admissions officers? 2. Do work or home-based activities "count" towards my list? 3. How many activities to colleges want to see on my list? 4. How should write about my activities on my applications?


1. Extracurricular activities are very important for college admissions. Colleges want to build an interesting campus atmosphere, and the way to do that is to admit students with a wide variety of interests, that they will likely continue to pursue in college. This means that colleges do NOT want students who do well in class, but otherwise stay in their rooms. If everyone did that, the college wouldn't have any teams, theatre productions, clubs, music groups, newspapers, and so on.

Colleges purposely try to identify the activities that mean most to you, and decide if you would be a good fit for their school, and if they need more students with your types of passions.

2. Yes! Your activities list should include everything that you spend a lot of your time doing outside of CLASS. This can be school-based activities (teams, clubs), home-based (cooking, reading, computer programming), AND work activities (babysitting, outside jobs). All of these help define who you are, and what you will likely do at college.

3. Colleges prefer a fewer number of activities that you do for a long time, and eventually take on a leadership role. As described above, colleges are looking to build well-rounded classes. That is done with students who are each experts in a smaller number of interests. If you have very few activities as of today, join one or two ASAP!

4. Space is limited on the Common App, so use the space wisely to tell colleges what YOU did and learned from your activities, NOT what the overall club or organization does or stands for. Use active verbs like I planned, led, started, raised, etc.

Have more questions? Contact me!

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