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Does going to the gym count as an extracurricular activity for college applications?

Hey, I'm trying to figure out what I should include on my college applications. I spend a lot of time going to the gym and staying active. Would that be considered an extracurricular activity by colleges?

9 months ago

Hi there! You've asked a great question. Staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important habits that can indeed be considered as extracurricular activities on college applications.

However, it's important to show how your commitment to fitness and staying active has had a positive impact on your life and/or your community. Going to the gym on your own lacks the formality of traditional extracurriculars. It would be kind of like listing reading for fun or playing an instrument for fun on your application (which you totally could, but it's better to include more formal activities with specific accomplishments).

The way colleges evaluate extracurriculars is to group them into 4 tiers based on impressiveness/rarity. Tier 1 is for national-level achievements, and Tier 4 is for simply participating in something. You can learn more here: https://blog.collegevine.com/breaking-down-the-4-tiers-of-extracurricular-activities

Going to the gym on your own would be Tier 4 since it would be a participatory activity. It's totally fine to have Tier 4 activities, as they show your passions. And in this case, it shows your work ethic and dedication. You can formalize the activity as much as possible by describing your routine and any goals you hit, i.e. "Exercised 3x/week and built my running endurance from 0 to 10mi" or "Worked with a personal trainer weekly and lost 30 pounds over a year" or "Lifted weights 3x/week and improved my bench press from 45lb to 150lb in 2 years".

If you are able to connect your gym routine to formal clubs or events, that's where your activity might be a higher tier, especially if you took on a leadership role or your group won any awards.

For example, if you have participated in any fitness clubs, community sports teams or organized fitness events, these would be strong examples of formal extracurricular activities related to your gym routine. Starting a weightlifting club at school, for example, would be a Tier 3 extracurricular, or maybe even Tier 2, depending on how big/formal it is.

These team activities allow you to show how your passion for fitness has made an impact on others, and taught you teamwork.

If you need more help with ECs, I recommend you sign up for a free CollegeVine account, as our chancing engine can help you categorize your extracurriculars into tiers and show you how to improve your profile. Our AI advisor, Ivy, can also help you write your activity descriptions on your application to showcase your achievements. Sign up here: https://www.collegevine.com/

9 months ago

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