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Navigating the Common App: The Activities List

When completing the Common Application for college admissions, the Activities List is one essential section that allows you to showcase your extracurricular involvement. This section provides an opportunity to highlight your interests, achievements, and commitments outside the classroom. It’s basically the college admissions version of a resume. Let’s walk through this section step-by-step to help you fill out the Activities List, ensuring you effectively communicate your involvement and make a compelling case for your candidacy.

Understand the Purpose: This section aims to give admissions officers insight into your passions, leadership abilities, and level of engagement. It allows them to evaluate your ability to manage time, make meaningful contributions, and pursue your interests beyond academics.

Choose Meaningful Activities: Select activities that reflect your interests, values, and personal growth. Admissions officers appreciate the dedication in your activities, so highlight your involvement in clubs and organizations you have been part of for several years (if possible) and list leadership roles.

Explain your role, responsibilities, and achievements. Quantify your impact, such as the number of hours dedicated per week or outcomes. Use action-oriented language and vivid descriptions to convey the significance of each activity. I recommend writing seven to ten activities you have been involved in throughout high school, ranging from after-school jobs to clubs at school to summer programs.

Show Continuity and Growth: Demonstrate your commitment and growth by including activities you have been involved in for an extended period. Admissions officers appreciate seeing your dedication and progression over time. Showcase how your involvement has evolved, any additional responsibilities you have taken on, and the skills you have developed.

Be Authentic and Reflective: Infuse your personality into descriptions and be authentic. Admissions officers value genuine self-expression. Reflect on how each activity has influenced you, your passions, and your future aspirations.

The Activities List is a chance to demonstrate your passion and commitment to extracurricular pursuits. Approach this section with thoughtfulness and use it as a platform to present a well-rounded picture of yourself to admissions officers. For more resume tips, subscribe to Resume All Day and get your FREE copy of the Resume Do’s and Don’ts Guide.

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