fbpx
Blog

Inside tips and advice from AcceptU's team of former admissions officers

Cecilia

How to make your activities standout on college applications

May 29, 2020, Posted In Activities List

You are committed to being an active high school student. Now it’s time to tell your story. Whether you took part in a few activities or several, it’s likely each story is important to you. You’ve gone over all the details and revisited the milestones you reached. How could you possibly convey it all in a mere 150 characters?

Some tips to get you started:

  • Make an outline – write down each of your activities. This will help you articulate which have been most important to you and what role you’ve played in them.
    1. Activity name
    2. Your role
    3. What you did and how you contributed
    4. How long you participated
    5. Significant accomplishments/proud moments
  • Prioritize – ask yourself which activities are most important to you and how they relate to your college application. Were you deeply involved? Does the activity relate to what you want to study in college? Prioritizing will help clarify what this section of your college application will say about you.
  • Spend a little time writing activity names – while it may not seem important, what you call your activities can convey a lot in a few words. For example, if you play basketball, go beyond, “Basketball.” Instead try, “District Champion Basketball Center.” See the difference?
  • Spend more time writing activity descriptions – your 150 character challenge starts here. Could you tell a hundred stories about your years on the Robotics Team? You can’t tell them all, so think about what’s most relevant.
    1. Choose active verbs over passive ones
    2. Share the most outstanding aspects of the activity and leave out what was routine
    3. Be specific about your role instead of providing a general description
  • Be honest, but not modest – yes, there is space for you to include 10 activities, but don’t feel like you have to exaggerate. Colleges will notice if you add hollow activities and would rather see that you have significant involvement in a few activities than that you have many – but make sure to give yourself all the credit you deserve!
  • Share your list with family, friends or teachers – it’s always a good idea to make sure a second (or third!) set of eyes reads your descriptions. Others may have different impressions than you expect and/or have ideas to give your statements an impact that you haven’t thought about.

All of the time, energy, and work you’ve dedicated to high school activities deserve descriptions that make an impact. Contact us to set up a free 30 minute session with one of our former admissions officers to learn more as you tackle your college application.