3 years ago
Admissions Advice

More Extracurriculars compared to Few Extracurriculars but with Leadership roles?

When applying to college, would colleges value more extracurricular activities on a transcript or only having a select few extracurricular activities but in those activities someone is active and holds leadership positions. Basically, do colleges value quality or quantity when it comes to viewing a student's activities on a transcript?


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Quality over quantity is the game. Though, if you can, try to aim for both. But doing that depends on your major and your current skills.

Take me for example. I'm a future English major. I'm aiming to get both by doing local writing contests (where I basically can always win) and a few national/ state level writing contests. Colleges want not only depth but width. And the more extra-circulars you have, the more choices you have when it comes to filling out the extra-circular portion of the Common Application. Now, this works for me because I am a workaholic who hates the thought of not working and has great time management skills. But this may not work for you.

If you are freshmen, I recommend choosing a few (about two at the most) activities to follow throughout your entire high school career and learning time management. Make an Excel sheet with a list of activities you would like to do with deadlines. I did this at the beginning of my junior year and I wish I had done it sooner. I also recommend trying to learn bullet journaling. It's been immensely helpful for me and expands upon the traditional student planner. I'll link some links to a few books that taught me a lot and let you go from there. If you are a sophomore, I recommend what I said again.

If you are a Junior or even a Senior, DON'T FOLLOW THIS. Join clubs where you compete and are positive you can get to at least state. These won't be leadership positions, but competitions are the quickest way to gain a bit of prestige in your activities profile. I also recommend you try to put together a community service project such as a book drive. When you are this late in the game with a weak activity list, the name of the game is now trying to improve this or another area of your application. If you can, I recommend just trying to improve your SAT/ACT scores. If your GPA is low, there is no chance you can raise it beyond a few points (if you are in the 2.5+ range, the best you can do in the next two years is a 3.0) so the SAT has the most benefits for now.


A great introduction to bullet journaling. It's short, simple, and sweet.


I read this book near the end of my sophomore year and it was alright. I like the message of it. The main message of the book (if you aren't interested in reading it) is that students shouldn't bog down their schedule with extracurriculars like Academic Team (aka stuff anyone can do). Newport suggests unloading your schedule quite a bit and focusing on your own projects/ initiatives. Again, I like the idea of it. But if you are a low-income student like me who doesn't have access to a lot of opportunities, this may not entirely work out for it.

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