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08/18/2020 at 02:50AM
Admissions Advice

Family responsibilities as activity

Should I include family responsibilities like taking care of younger siblings and helping cook as an extracurricular on my commonapp?


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5 answers

10/26/2020 at 04:16PM

This is actually a fairly common question for a lot of people. The simple answer is yes, you definitely can put down family responsibilities as an extracurricular on the commonapp. The more difficult question to answer is when is it worth putting family responsibilities as an EC and when is it not worth doing. Like @DebaterMAX mentioned, if the family responsibilities are just typical chores or something similar it's not going to be worth putting down on your application. Babysitting once a week for your parents, cleaning the house, paying for your own phone, none of that is worth putting on your application.

There is definitely a difference between expected family contributions and needing to go above and beyond to support yourself and your family. If you're babysitting every single night because your parents/guardian are out working night shifts and you're responsible for cooking, cleaning, putting the siblings to bed then that's worth putting down. If you needed to get a job to help support the family and you help pay for the bills that's obviously a significant contribution and should be included as an EC. The whole point of including family responsibility as an option is to give students who need to make significant time commitments a space to explain themselves. You really should only be including family responsibilities as an EC if the time commitment is great enough where you're unable to do other ECs. If you're unable to do sports, clubs, volunteer work, etc. because you have to dedicate the time to supporting your family then it's a good idea to include this on your application. If you do decide to put something on your app, make sure you do a good job with the description/explaining the circumstances on your application so it's extremely clear the time commitment involved and how it impacted your ability to do other possible ECs. Happy to clarify further or answer other questions if needed!

08/20/2020 at 11:47PM[edited]

Many colleges and universities do consider family responsibilities as very important. You would want to add that on the common app because colleges admire that you take the time out of your own tasks to be able to care for your family whenever they needed the help. I have gone to multiple college information sessions and they have said that family responsibilities can and should be put on your application for them to see.

08/18/2020 at 01:43PM[edited]

So family responsibilities can be an EC but normal chores such as doing dishes every night isn’t an EC. EC-like activities such as being a pseudo-babysitter for your siblings and you do it for approx 2.5 or more hours a week for most weeks. Significant family responsibility it can be put on CommonApp Coalition UC ApplyTexas as an EC.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!


08/18/2020 at 04:39AM

Depends. College app takes that into consideration and places family responsibilities as an option when it asks about activities and responsibilities. But be careful. If you cook once a week or babysit an hour a day don't put it. But if its more of a part-time job in the number of hours, go ahead.

08/18/2020 at 02:47PM

If I'm going to be honest, including family responsibilities would look weak compared to other extracurriculars you put on your commonapp. It would look like you are just trying to fill the space with as much as possible, and colleges don't like to see 5 quality ec's and then 5 others added as fillers. You could write about it in your essay -- talk about how it changed your perspective on your responsibilities and your future. Other than that, it wouldn't be of much use in applying. I hope this helps! :)


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