The college application can be intimidating. To help minimize this, a useful way to approach the application is by viewing it in separate sections. The typical college application has many different sections; one could be your transcripts, and maybe one for standardized testing scores. Another section is on your essays, another on your letters or recommendation. There are more for art/research portfolios, personal background information, and additional information, however this blog will focus on the extracurricular section. This is where you can share the activities, club, sports, jobs, volunteerism, and personal responsibilities you have outside of the classroom.
There is no doubt in our minds that you are learning a great deal from your teachers and peers within your classes. However, you also learn a lot from activities outside the classroom, where you have the chance to explore your interests and engage with others outside of an academic setting. This is also where admissions officers get to learn about you, your passions, and your interests, and your extracurriculars are an important context to have.
Any activity done outside of the classroom can be described as extracurricular, but there are some limits on what you should list in this section. Read below to see if it counts!
1. Jobs – Yes! Jobs give you a new perspective, a new set of skills, maybe some leadership or even instill a newfound interest. From working in a research lab to working as a cashier, any type of paid employment should be included.
2. Sports/ school clubs – Absolutely. How you took advantage-or even led-your school’s clubs, activities, and/or sports offerings are great to see. If you achieved leadership roles this is wonderful to include.
3. Instruments – Definitely. Even if you are just taking lessons, or simply practicing a few times a week via YouTube tutorials, let us know all about it!
4. Religious Service – Are you active in your religious community? Count it! Involvement in a religious community is a commitment and takes up time outside of your formal class hours.
5. Family Responsibilities – Count them in! If you are babysitting a sibling or providing care for an elder, let us know!
6. Volunteering? Absolutely! Working to positivity impact an organization or community are wonderful things to include
7. Internships/Research – If you were fortunate enough to secure and participate in some form or internship and/or research opportunity in or outside of your school, please tell us all about it!
8. Hobbies / Passion Projects: Are you a budding photographer? A future chef with a blogsite? A film and media director in the making? Let us know!
9. Avid TV fanatic – Do you love Hulu or Netflix? Are you religiously watching reruns of Scrubs while hoping for a reboot? While TV series do offer us a much-needed break, unfortunately series surfing is not an activity you should list on your application (Although, the podcast you’re hosting about your favorite series is something you should list!)
I hope this helps. If you are still unsure about whether you should list something or not, you can always ask your guidance counselor or even send the Tufts admissions team an e-mail. Remember that admissions officers want to learn all about how you spend your time outside of the classroom, so don’t leave anything out; if the application you are using runs out of space to enter in information about your extracurricular activities, be sure to enter them in an Additional Information section. Good luck!