Updated: Aug 4
The pandemic has disrupted sports and extracurricular activities, leaving many rising grade 12 students wondering “how will this affect my college applications?” Extracurriculars give an application uniqueness and flavor. But with so many limits on our ability to interact, how can students continue to stand out?
Our college admissions experts at AscendNow weigh in.
Mock trial and varsity tennis were never your only options and they certainly aren’t now! Use this time at home to work on a project you haven’t worked on before. Have you ever wanted to write and publish an essay? Start a free blog! Have a business or nonprofit venture idea? Use kickstarter to get it going. Use YouTube or social media to your advantage: make an artistic film or maybe an instructional vlog in something you’re good at. Make your own extracurricular! The key here is to show colleges that when school stopped, you didn’t.
Use your Existing Talents
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Are you a varsity athlete? Perhaps you can use your social media to connect with other players and compete together and trade tips. Mention the group you made on a college application and write about the experience. Are you an artist, unable to get into the studio? Look around for ways you have to strategize at home to create something; this is an opportunity to let colleges see that obstacles don’t hinder you from doing what you love.
Volunteer or Help a Nonprofit
Now more than ever the world needs unity. Spend that extra time you have on your plate helping local efforts, whether it’s hands on, like these kids did, or a fun campaign to raise money using your social media account. Document your experience and be prepared to talk about it in an interview.
Learn a New Hobby or Language: Use the Experience
Wanted to learn French but never had the time? The ukulele seemed fun but you’re always studying and running to soccer practice? Now’s the time! Focus on something that you like and have always wanted to try, even if it’s as specific as writing a film review or playing one song on a piano. Check out YouTube or a more developed e-learning program to see if there’s an intro class. Focus on how looking into a new hobby made you think differently. You may get material for a college essay, or maybe just some personal insight and self awareness. Both are great! And they put you in the frame of mind to stay connected to yourself and craft a wonderful, well rounded application.
Do You. You’ll be Fine.
Don’t feel the need to put pressure on yourself. Clicking this article means you are trying to be as proactive as possible. But sometimes, a little solitude and relaxation is just the thing some of us need. Different colleges want different things from their applicants, but you can’t know what kind of applicant you are without reflection and the knowledge of your own story.
Yale University reported to Niche that students “[should] demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what [they] spend [their] time doing.” Notice the language. Your attitude is more significant than whatever activity you choose to do. Doing something with intention is not only rewarding, but it demonstrates personal maturity.
Admissions officers are smart; they know when an applicant is doing something to impress them. Be sure to chase the right thing for the right reasons!