Well-Rounded vs. Special Interests on College Applications

on July 10, 2017

The myth that college applicants are expected to participate in so many activities is just that: a myth.


Of course, that's not to say that admissions officers prefer applicants whose focus is singular — there is such a thing as being too narrow. Because striking this balance can be difficult, we've provided a few tips to consider as you think about how you want to portray yourself to colleges. 


Try New Things


If you haven’t found a hobby or subject you care about, branch out. Try different clubs and go to meetings for activities and organizations you haven't considered. For example, if you’ve been playing the same sport but don’t feel enthusiastic about it, try out for a school play. Go to choir auditions, attend an art class or sign up for an elective you don’t know about. By expanding your horizons and giving new extracurriculars a chance, you’ll eventually find something that sticks. 


Take a Leadership Position


If you have found a hobby or extracurricular that excites and engages you, spend more time learning about it and strengthen your skills. Volunteer for responsibilities or assume a leadership position. The more involved you are, the more your commitment and passion will show.


Even if the activity is primarily independent, such as horseback riding or painting, there are ways to take it to the next level. For example, enter competitions or get involved in organizations for people that share your passion.


Prioritize Academics


Even if you plan on pursuing an extracurricular professionally, it's important not to let hobbies or activities get in the way of academics. Colleges love students demonstrate passion, commitment and leadership while getting good grades. After all, colleges need to ensure that accepted students are able to succeed in classes. Academics are important regardless of the talents you possess.


Stand out


If you're a champion wrestler, award-winning violinist or president of your high school class, it will be easy to stand out. The majority of college applicants, however, will have to consider how they can make a lasting impression on admissions officers. The solution isn't to join 10 clubs or dedicate all your free time to one activity. Instead, think about how you can combine passions to show how unique you are.

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