11 days ago
Admissions Advice

How can I strengthen my Extracurriculars for college applications?

Hello there! I’m a junior right now and I have an idea of what I’m passionate about. I love Psychology (especially the self help aspect of it), Activism, Music, and Literature currently. I’ve listed my current EC’s below and I would like to ask, based on my current passions what are some ways I can strengthen my Extracurriculars? Thank you so much :))


1) Black Student Union Club Member

2) African Student Association Club Member and Dance Team

3) Adult Church Choir (since 7th grade)

4) Theatre (Lead Role in Fall Play)

5) English Honors Society

6) Art Honors Society

7) Hobbies: Reading, Dancing, Journaling and Singing


1) Guitar Lessons

2) Singing Lessons

3) Volunteering with a vulnerable group of people (Elderly, Children, Mental Facilities)

4) Research with a Psychologist

5) Activism of some kind with Women’s Rights

5) Create a Mental Health Awareness Club (Senior Year)

6) Sign up for Youth Activists of America


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2 answers

11 days ago

Hi, thank you for asking your question! You are definitely doing a lot of incredible things right now! Congratulations. For most selective schools, the top 40 schools in the US, there is a preference for having extracurriculars that align with your intended college major. So for example, if you were interested in psychology, you would participate in psychology-related activities. Further more, you want to do these activities at a high level-- mainly on the Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels (which I will explain in a bit).

Additionally, the 1) Uniqueness of the activity; 2) Awards/accomplishments you have gained from the activity; and 3) Time commitment (hrs/wks, wks/yr) of the activity, ALL make the extracurriculars seem impressive.

In terms of Tiering of activities, CollegeVine likes to classify activities into categories:

Tier 1

Encompasses substantial accomplishments, usually with state- or national-level success or leadership. Such as: Recognition by professional organizations; Screen a film at a major film festival; Work for a congressperson; Published by The New York Times

Or can be self-driven projects with substantial results: Create an original Soundcloud composition with 25,000+ streams; Start a charity that raises $50,000 

Tier 2

Usually the highest level of accomplishment for activities within your school or region. Such as: Win a regional art competition; Make a varsity team; Hold school-level leadership in a club

Or can can be out-of-school activities that tend to involve substantial time commitments with strong accomplishments. Such as: start a business with >$10k in revenue; write for a second-tier but legitimate internet publication like Refinery29.

Tier 3

Clubs and competitions, or out-of-school activities, where you make a substantial effort and demonstrate initiative but do not have many formal accomplishments

Tier 4

Membership in a club or basic participation in an activity. Such as: Member of a junior varsity sports team; Painting for fun; Acting as an extra in a school play

Hope this helps!

11 days ago

I myself am applying to colleges, so I am no admissions counselor, but I have always been told by counselors that holding leadership positions is the best way to strengthen extracurriculars.

Its great to be in lots of clubs, but even better when you can prove that you are truly committed to those clubs by holding a leadership position.

Also, another way to strengthen extracurriculars is to do some out of the box things-- and remember that sometimes its quality over quantity.

So many people are in clubs like National Honor Society, Beta club, etc., but not as many people are in clubs where there is a rigorous application process. Its also a great idea to volunteer at places that are not fluff organizations (I call places fluff organizations where I see all my peers volunteering at for some easy volunteering, but they aren't really doing much) where you have a consistent volunteer schedule.

The more you are committed to clubs, the more you get out of them in real life and in your college apps.

Again, I am no admissions counselor but this is the advice I have been given from many people :)


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