Friday, September 13, 2013

Extracurricular Activities: The are REALLY Important!

Getting involved in clubs, sports, work or other pursuits outside the classroom can give your child new skills and help them learn about themselves — and can be fun.

Here’s something else you should know: Extracurriculars also play a part when your child applies to college. Most college applications ask about activities. That’s because the things students do in their free time reveal a lot about who they are — in ways that grades and test scores can’t.

Accomplishments outside the classroom show what you’re passionate about and that you have qualities valued by colleges. Here are a few examples:
  • Serving in student government shows that you have leadership skills.
  • Being on the track team through high school shows that you’re able to make a long-term commitment.
  • Doing volunteer work at a hospital shows that you are dedicated to helping others.
  • Working a part-time job while keeping your grades up shows that you are responsible and can manage your time.
Colleges want to know who you are and what you can do. Your activities help your student show them. So get out there!

Kinds of Activities

Here are the most common kinds of extracurricular activities.

School Activities

These might include sports teams, special-interest clubs, a school newspaper, music groups and student government.

Community Activities

Examples are community theater, music, and art groups as well as local clubs and sports teams.


Internships, summer jobs, part-time work, babysitting, delivering newspapers — it all counts.


This might mean tutoring elementary school kids, helping out at the animal shelter or raising funds for a charity.

How to Get Started

Whether they want to learn more about politics, public speaking or cooking, students can find an activity that will help them explore that interest. Here are some ideas for starting the search:
  • Ask friends what groups they belong to.
  • Check school’s bulletin boards or website.
  • Talk to school counselor or teachers about activities.
  • If you have a place of worship, find out if it organizes activities.
  • Look into national organizations, such as Junior Achievement, Girl or Boy Scouts, and the YMCA or YWCA.
  • Think about starting a club or group.

Remember, grades are part of the story! 

Colleges want to know what your student likes, is passionate about and will contribute as a member of the campus community.  Finding ways to help your child explore their interests outside the classroom is just as important as doing well inside the classroom.


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