Stellar Extracurricular Activities To Boost Your Application
Extracurricular activities are an integral part of applications to colleges abroad, be it the United States or the United Kingdom. These are living-proofs of who you are as a person, your personality, and your strengths. Be it an undergraduate, a master’s or a doctoral application, extracurricular activities hold an important position in one’s college application.
In this blog, you will come to know the importance of extracurricular activities while applying to college. Moreover, there are a few precautions one should take while taking up extracurricular activities and mentioning them in his or her application. You will be familiarised with this as well.
You will also get a lot of ideas for extracurricular activities that you can take up to boost your college applications.
Let’s discuss a few benefits of pursuing a PhD from the USA, the below points will be helpful for students to know whether they’re making the right choice if it’s on your list.
What are Extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities are the activities that one does outside of their academics, either as a hobby, passtime, profession, etc.
Extracurricular activities in resume for freshers become even more important since they have not had any professional job experience. The extracurricular activities in resume for freshers demonstrate all the soft skills as well as technical skills that are wanted by colleges and companies.
What is the importance of extracurricular activities?
You must be aware of the numerous college application essays one must write while applying to colleges in the US, UK and other countries. While these essays are a reflection of your personality, moral character and strengths, these extra co curricular activities are proof that you have been doing all the things throughout your academic career so far which you have mentioned in your essays.
Such extra co curricular activities also show that an applicant is ready to take initiative in engaging in activities apart from academics and can handle all the responsibilities that come with these activities along with the academic pressure.
Moreover, colleges in the US, UK and countries abroad do not want college students who are merely good in academics. These colleges want a well-rounded batch of incoming students who bring different talents, strengths, specialisations and experiences to their vibrant campus and make it even more rich in diversity.
Undoubtedly, stellar extracurricular activities in CV can enhance and boost an applicant’s application for admission. It is integral for an applicant to have at least a few extracurricular activities in resume.
Stellar Extracurricular Activities Examples
Now that you have understood the importance of extracurricular activities, let us look at some extracurricular activities examples that you can take up to boost your college application. We will also discuss the skills that each extracurricular activity demonstrates in your resume and what it tells about you as a person.
All schools have sports activities throughout the year. You can be a part of the school team or your house team for any particular sport and participate in tournaments like inter school and inter house cricket tournaments, football tournaments, basketball tournaments, etc. You can also participate extensively in Annual Sports Day Events.
You can also participate in national and international level competitions and tournaments. This fetches you the highest brownie points.
Demonstrating participation in sports related extracurricular activities in CV shows that you have the ability to take on intense pressure situations like those encountered in sports competitions. Sportsman spirit is an added brownie point to any individual’s personality in general. Showing sportsmanship during failure is highly appreciated and the will to win is also applauded.
In addition to that, if you participate in team sports, it shows your ability to work in a team to achieve a common goal and win for the whole team. It also teaches you to handle differences so that the team stays united. You can bring in these qualities learned from sports in every sphere of life, including your college classroom.
As a bonus, if you become the captain of the sports team, it demonstrates your leadership skills and the ability to take charge in stressful situations and be able to hold accountability and responsibility.
Public Speaking / Model United Nations
There are multiple public speaking competitions one can participate in. These include debate contests, elocution competitions, poetry competitions, etc. You can also work as an MC, anchor, or host for various events taking place at your school and outside your school.
Model United Nations is another prestigious and highly sought after extra co-curricular activities that is received well by college admission committees. There are various Model United Competitions being conducted in India for high school and college students with amazing prizes.
You can participate on an individual level to represent your school in such content. Being a winner in Model United Nations or any Public Speaking competitions and having a winning streak in a few of them can go a long way in enhancing your resume and giving a boost to your application.
Public speaking competitions demonstrate great verbal and communication skills, a talent highly sought after in any individual. In a college classroom, as in any sphere of life, communication among peers is integral. Having this social skill can be beneficial to the entire group as you will be able to present your ideas in a better way and communicate them as precisely as possible.
Also, having the knowledge as to how to talk and respond in a professional setting is crucial, and a proven good track record in public speaking competitions is a proof of this skill.
Model United Nations is very competitive in nature. The reason being not only one has to be a good speaker, but should also have an excellent amount of knowledge about geopolitics. Being able to harness the abundance of information and use it as and when required to defend your stance or prove your point during the debate while maintaining the decorum of the competition is very important. Being able to do so shows the ability to hold professional conversations efficiently in college and workplace settings.
Cultural Extra Co Curricular Activities
Colleges in the US, UK and other countries are always looking for diversity in their classrooms. Be it cultural diversity or diversity of experiences, views and opinions, they are always looking forward to it.
Pursuing a cultural activity like any classical dance form, for example, Kathak, Bharatnatiyam, or a classical music and/or instrument can largely boost your application.
Such activities not only show your unique talent, they are also a means through which you will add to the cultural diversity of your college and bring in your culture and share it with others, and similarly be able to learn amazing information about other cultures through your classmates.
If you are a good writer, you can write content for publishers. Getting articles, essays, poems and research papers published in reputed journals is a big achievement and shines on the resume.
You can also work as a freelance content writer for clients using websites such as LinkedIn, Fiver etc. Approaching clients for providing freelance services requires dedication and hard work, and if you are able to crack the code, you will get another star in your list of extracurricular activities in resume.
One can also write a book, no matter the length of the book. For high school or college students, it might be convenient to write for an audience of younger age. You can write fiction, non-fiction, informational and other kinds of books. If you find a publisher, you have a stellar extracurricular to boost your application and talk about it in your essays.
However, even if you do not find a publisher, you can still publish your book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, i.e., KDP. The book will be printed on demand of a buyer and makes the process of selling your book in the market streamlined. However, it will lack the publicity and marketing that is done for a book when published by a publication house. Nevertheless, Amazon KDP is a great option to get your book into the market if you cannot find a publishing house.
Having a publication shows exceptional writing skills. Also, pitching your writing work to get published is not a piece of cake and requires constant efforts. This shows dedication and hardwork in applicant.
Also, having good writing skills helps in all spheres of life, from doing efficiently in class when it comes to writing essays for your courses to being excellent in written communication at the workplace.
Internships / Research / Freelancing
As a student, you can apply for summer or winter internships and can also intern after school or college hours at any firm or organisation of your choice.
You can also research under university professors in your area of interest. This is in addition to your academic requirements.
If you have any tangible skill, like video editing, content writing, photography, filmming, etc., you can provide freelance services for the same. You will also start getting paid once you have done substantial work. You can also tutor younger children in the subjects you are the strongest in.
Reaching out to firms, organisations and professors for internship and research opportunities requires a lot of effort. This includes cold-emailing professionally until you receive a reply, and all the while doing it strategically.
Approaching freelance clients and getting work also requires persistent efforts. One needs to pitch for oneself and earn the trust of a client to get work.
And after getting the internship, the research opportunity or the freelance project, one needs to deliver the best possible results as well. The discipline that comes along with it can be applied by you in all spheres of life.
This also shows your dedication and effort to do something outside of school or college work and grow and put to use a tangible skill of yours. This shows in your application what you will be bringing to the table.
Impacting the lives of other people in your community is the best form of social service one can provide. It can be helping the elderly, the children and people in need, or taking efforts and initiatives to help save the environment.
Social work is very well appreciated by colleges in any part of the world. There are NGOs and other organisations working towards numerous noble causes. You can participate in helping the needy, animal protection, plantation drives, cleanliness campaigns and many more activities.
If you find that there is not substantial work happening in your locality or area, you can also take the initiative of starting your own NGO to help a noble cause.
Volunteering shows great moral character. The willingness to help those in need without expecting anything in return is an invaluable virtue. Colleges across the globe support a sense of community and appreciate students helping bring a change in the society.
Every school has a Student Council body consisting of the Head Boy and Head Girl (President), Deputy/Vice Head Boy and Girl (Vice President), Sports Captains, Cultural Secretaries etc.
You can compete for one of these positions. For example, if you are excellent in sports, you can become the Sports Captain of your school or your house.
Being a part of the Student Council shows excellent leadership skills. This also shows that the applicant is capable of taking up responsibilities. He or she will be able to effectively handle classroom discussions and whenever required, lead them as well. The applicant is able to hold people together and help them stay focussed towards one common goal.
Online Courses and Certifications / College Level Courses
Taking up and completing online courses and certifications can be an added benefit to your list of extracurricular activities in CV. There are websites such as EdX, Coursera, Udemy, etc which offer a wide range of academic and non-academic courses and certifications.
You can learn a new skill and/or a new language, coding, enhance your knowledge on any topic and much more.
You can also take up college level courses on either these websites or from any university that allows high school and college students to attend certain courses on campus.
Completing courses and certifications online shows the initiative to take up difficult courses outside your regular school or college curriculum. This also demonstrates your knowledge on a variety of topics and subject matter.
Summer School / Exchange Programs
An applicant who has been to summer school or exchange program has a lot of unique experiences and learning to bring to the classroom. While summer schools and exchange programs are mostly paid and expensive, one can apply for scholarships and financial aid for attending these programs. For example, the Yale Young Global Scholars Program.
During such programs, an applicant gets exposed to a unique set of peers and a different cultural experience, helping the applicants become used to meeting people who do not share the same cultural or social background as theirs. This makes them even more open to meeting new people and adjusting with new surroundings. The stories and the learnings that these programs provide build an applicant’s personality in some way or the other.
Start-up / Entrepreneurship
If you have a business mind and a business plan to solve a problem in the real world, you can consider building a start-up, no matter how small, and try to earn money from it. Even if you do not make profits, if you are able to solve any problem, it will show your problem-solving and entrepreneurial abilities.
Entrepreneurship is difficult in itself and requires a lot of effort and dedication. To solve real-world problems quantitatively and qualitatively shows great business acumen, proof that if you go on the business path in your further college life, you will have a great set of skills to increase your chances of doing something big.