Juniors: Just Do It!

Students -- and parents -- are constantly asking us what colleges want to see students doing outside of the classroom. Volunteer work, student government, a sport, a club? Here's the answer: There is no resume of activities that will guarantee admission to college. You can be involved in soccer, band, debate, robotics, hold a part-time job, have a consuming hobby like cooking or have family responsibilities like caring for younger siblings. But colleges do want to see you do something. If you are sitting on the couch playing video games all day, colleges will not regard that as a positive -- unless you're designing video games.

So this week's advice is: Just do it! Remember, colleges are looking at what you do outside the classroom to understand who you are, but also to understand what you will contribute to the community once you’re on campus. And at this point in your high school career, you may also want to take the initiative and consider a leadership position in whatever activity most interests you.


For more on extracurricular activities, check out Chapter 6, “Extracurricular Activities,” in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step where you’ll find a broad discussion of what colleges are looking for when they look at students’ activities outside the classroom, including what they mean when they talk about depth versus breadth, passion, leadership and hooks.

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