What do I do?Answered
I am applying for a very selective award that asks for "Please briefly list your most important extracurricular commitments and provide details of any leadership positions you have held." How should I list these? Should I essentially use the 150 character limit to detail these?
If the award itself has no word/character limit, I don't think you have to adhere to the Common App character limit. Just list your activities with really brief descriptions of what you did and whether you held any position. As a guide, you can keep in mind the 150 character limit or you can just try to keep it down to the length of 1-2 simple sentences. Since they don't give any specific guidelines as to formatting, you can use your judgement to decide what looks the cleanest. Also, try not to include too many, especially if you don't spend too much time or care as much about some of them. Exclude filler activities or things that are less impressive where you spent less time or didn't contribute as much.
Here's an example (not my real EC's, just random examples haha) and my suggestion for formatting:
(1) Debate Club President - I lead my debate club as we train twice per week for Lincoln-Douglas debate tournaments. We won the XYZ Regional Tournament in 2019 and got 2nd place in the National XYZ Competition, which was held online last year.
(2) Neuroscience Blog - I created a blog where I talk about neuroscience in a way that anyone can understand. My posts have been used by high school teachers in my city to help their students learn about the brain.
(3) Varsity Lacrosse - I play lacrosse at the all-county level and am on track to become Varsity Captain next year. We won the XYZ Lacrosse Competition in 2018, the ABC Lacrosse Championships in 2019, and the QRST Lacrosse Tournament in 2020.
(4) Student Council - I am Treasurer of my school's student body government. I have fundraised over $4,000 for events and manage school funds and student budgets throughout the year.
Again, don't feel pressured to list down a lot. Even just 3 or 4 super solid extracurriculars would look much better than 3 pretty good ones plus 10 fluff activities. Just add your most impressive activities and accomplishments, and make sure to include the things you really love and enjoy and devote lots of time to. For the descriptions, you should definitely include what you did that makes this activity so great and you can also include how much time you spend on it if it seems pertinent. I hope this helped!
Think of filling this out like you would the Common App. Put the most important stuff (leadership positions, national awards and etc) up first then more foddery stuff (like competitions where you barely made it past county/ state) and school-level awards. Come out with the impressive stuff first, so that if they are just skimming the thing, they still see the breadth and involvement in activities.