Top universities value well – rounded individuals who demonstrate leadership skills fused with teamwork, striking a good balance between their academic and extracurricular activities. They are interested in students who can contribute to their campus life along with being academically sharp. While selecting which activity to be involved in, you should consider the time commitment required, along with credible experience to make them stand out. Another consideration should be whether you are in a leadership role or part of a team and if you can effectively balance the activity with your schoolwork. Your activity of choice should demonstrate what you are passionate about as well as your willingness to commit 10+ hours a week pursuing it for at least a year or two. You should be wary of spreading yourself too thin and being involved in too many activities, thus not contributing to any significantly.
The second consideration is the credibility of the experience. Your chosen activity should be well recognized at the national or international level or at least the provincial level. It is important to devote time and work hard on this activity to rank at the provincial level, or at least in the 90th percentile. The ranking itself will make you the third aspect is leadership, coupled with teamwork. If you are involved in leadership roles or activities that involve teamwork, try to start them in the summer. Summer vacations allow students to devote more time to their activity of choice and thus make a significant contribution. I often advise students applying to business programs to start their own business, even if it’s a small unprofitable one. Universities value students who take initiative and are willing to take risks. Other activities that students could be involved in include fundraising for charity, or volunteer with university professors to help with research. However, you might need contacts or cold call professors to get a position. Also, you can volunteer at recognized organizations like World Vision or the UN. The UN too offers a volunteer program for high school students. “
Lastly, students should balance their extracurricular activities with their schoolwork. It is essential to dedicate time blocks for schoolwork to ensure you keep up. You should estimate the amount of time needed to devote to a subject per week to achieve an A grade and be willing to put in the required effort. Also, don’t lag behind and work hard daily to identify problems early on. I have seen students who failed to manage their time and thus ended up abandoning their extracurricular activities or perform poorly in school. The challenge to be a well-rounded student is time management.
The post is originally written by Queen Elizabeth Academy – Tutoring Mississauga.