A Guide to Extracurriculars - What's Necessary and What Isn't

Ashley Chen

9/28/20232 min read

High school can be stressful. Even middle school at times. The threat of college applications is constantly looming over students, and as each year passes, the acceptance rate of colleges keeps on getting lower. The plethora of talented kids get larger every year, and every year, kids need to take on more extracurriculars to make them “stand out”. As a current high school student myself, I know I’ve heard many suggestions for standing out in college applications. But there is only so much that a high schooler can do while maintaining grades and mental health.

So, to answer the burning question, what can actually make you “stand out” on college applications?

What is necessary?

There are a few things that are necessary for extracurriculars. First, you need to find something that you are interested in and that you are good at. This will help you stay motivated and involved in the activity. Second, you need to be willing to commit to the activity. This means being reliable and showing up to meetings and events. Finally, you need to be a good team player. This means being willing to help others and working towards the common goal of the activity.

What isn't necessary?

There are a few things that are not necessary for extracurriculars. First, you don't need to be the best at the activity. In fact, many colleges are looking for students who are passionate about something, even if they are not the best at it. Second, you don't need to be involved in a lot of extracurriculars. Colleges are more interested in quality over quantity. Finally, you don't need to be involved in extracurriculars that are directly related to your intended major. Colleges want to see that you are well-rounded and have interests outside of academics.

How to choose extracurriculars?

When choosing extracurriculars, it is important to consider your interests, your skills, and your availability. You should also think about what you want to get out of the activity. Do you want to learn new skills? Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to make a difference in your community? Keep in mind, that extracurriculars don’t have to be this grand, big activity. It could be a passion project, as long as you’re willing to commit, and you have a genuine interest in the subject.

How to get involved in extracurriculars?

There are a few ways to get involved in extracurriculars. You can talk to your teachers or counselor about what activities are available at your school. You can also look for extracurriculars online or in your local community. Using platforms like LinkedIn, Slack, or other networking media is also a good way to start cold outreach for opportunities.

How to stay involved in extracurriculars?

Once you have found an extracurricular that you are interested in, it is important to stay involved. This means showing up to meetings and events, participating in activities, and helping out your team or group. If this is a self-started extracurricular, make sure to create task lists and deadlines to avoid long-term procrastination.

How to make the most of extracurriculars?

There are a few things you can do to make the most of your extracurriculars. First, take on leadership roles. This will show colleges that you are a leader and that you are willing to take initiative. Second, set goals for yourself and track your progress. This will help you stay motivated and see your improvement. Finally, reflect on your experiences and share your learnings with others. This will help you grow as a person and make a difference in the world.