Editor’s Note: It’s never too early to start planning for your career. The right university is (potentially) a great place to start. Elizabeth Hill authored this article about how to strengthen your application with extracurricular activities. While not all of these activities can be used in your whole career, many of them can.
Extra specialty courses in project management, for instance are very useful, no matter where you are in your career. Online courses from CodeAcademy, TreeHouse, Lynda and more are available at all skill levels. While learning the trombone may not help you get that third interview, your volunteer experience could push you over the top. Working in city or state organizations (governmental or otherwise) are also a fantastic way to network.
High school can be pretty stressful as you know that the work you do on a daily basis can directly impact the rest of your life. It’s all about getting those important grades to make it into the college of your choice, so a lot of effort is needed in order to stand out from the crowd. The only problem with this is that there are many other students who have similar grades – people who put in the same amount of hard work as you. That means you may want to do even more to make your application stronger.
Many school guidance departments will advise you to take up an extracurricular activity to support your college application; obviously the earlier you start, the more you can demonstrate to the admissions department at the college you apply to. So if you want to do something positive for your future by focusing on the present, here are a few ideas that can strengthen your application:
Take an online course
Learning extra skills is always a solid option, so why don’t you opt for taking a course online? The benefit of this is that you can fit the course modules into your own schedule, perfect when you have another million and one things to get done before the end of the semester. Something such as project management or software development can really set your application apart; to look for IT courses click here.
Do some volunteering
If your school doesn’t already make it compulsory to do a certain number of hours of voluntary work, perhaps it is something you should look into. There is such a wide range of things you could get involved in, and you could make a real difference to your local area by taking part. Just a few ideas include sorting items at the food bank, checking on elderly neighbors, and fundraising.
Join a sports team
A sure fire way to demonstrate that you work well in a team is to join one. Individual sports such as long distance running can show that you have ambition and power, but you will be expected to work with your future classmates when you join college. A team sport such as baseball, football or hockey could be ideal, but make sure you find something that appeals to your interests too.
Learn to play an instrument
Well-rounded applicants may also have an interest in music; something that could contribute to a positive environment for first-year students at college. Your university may also have a club or society that needs new recruits and you will be more in demand if they compete for the honour to be the best.
Make the student council
If your school has a student council, it could be a very good move to be elected onto it. Competition will likely be fierce as there will be other students who recognise the value of the council, but if you create a good campaign you might just be in with a shot. A position on the council will demonstrate that you have leadership skills, as well as the passion to make things happen.