How to Tackle College Admissions?

Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

July 16, 2019 at 1:00 PM

College Admissions Extracurriculars

What Activities Should I Pursue to get into a Good College?

All colleges want to see that you have passion for something and that you pursue your interests to the best of your ability. So it is probably important to, well, have passions and interests. Stop worrying about whether college admission officers will be impressed by the things you’re interested in and just go for it. The college application reflects on your best personality, not your perception of the admission officers’ best personality. You like video games? Great. Nothing gets you more excited than the new limited edition sneakers that are about to be released? Okay. Your voice enters ranges not audible by humans when you see puppies? Cool. It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about, as long as you’re passionate about something. Regardless of how quirky your passion is, it is your own. So, show that in your applications with pride!

What are you doing about it?

Okay, now you’ve got a passion. That is still not enough — you have pursue your passion. You’re a painter? Blog about it, give your painting for a showcase, conduct painting lessons. You love cooking? Maybe there is a food festival coming soon or host your own community cooking show. You <3 puppies? Find a local animal rights charity or dog rescue and start volunteering (but do it passionately, don’t treat it like a chore). No matter what your passions are, find out what you love the most about your passion and pursue it in that path.

How are you pursuing it?

I am not saying that you should ONLY do things related to your narrow range of interests. You should focus on being involved in your school and your community (and not just to get into college, but because you enjoy it). Lots of students sample a little bit of everything, their resumes list positions in 15 different clubs each year to the point where you have to wonder if maybe they have a time traveling device to get to all those meetings. Well, they definitely don’t yet. Colleges can see that, and they know that you did this to pad your resume to impress them (and so, of course, they aren’t impressed). Find a few clubs, organizations, charities, teams, or groups that you enjoy being a part of and stick with those activities throughout high school.

Why it matters?

The reason you shouldn’t spread yourself out is so that you can spend time developing your interests and skills. It is not just about how broad your exposure and knowledge are, but also about how deep they are. How can you become the editor of your school newspaper if you are only in the newspaper club for a semester? How dedicated to quiz bowl can you be if you only participated for a year? Find the activities that truly interest you and pursue those activities for multiple years. Of course you can go through a trial and error process. If you are not sure what clubs you enjoy, try the ones you are interested in for a couple weeks when you start high school. Once you figure out your interests focus your time on that. The main focus of this process is for you to figure out your interests that you would enjoy for the rest of your life. Do this for yourself and not the college applications!

When it comes to your college applications, your essay is the best place for you to put your totally awesome, unique, interesting personality on display. After you participate in activities that you enjoyed every minute of, you’ll find it so much easier to reflect and write about them in your essays. So, do things that you enjoy rather than what you think the college wants because you are the best at being yourself!

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Posted by Sanjana Viswanathan

Sanjana scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT/SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Fun Fact: I slipped and fell in my college campus 3 times within a day. (I really lack motor skills)