Is community service the only kind of extracurricular that adcoms like? What about sports, art, other stuff?
We get this question ALLL the time: What kinds of extracurriculars do adcoms like?
Are you a classically trained violinist and perform in a community orchestra? Great. Do you play in a badminton league? Perfect. Painter extraordinaire? Bird-watching enthusiast? Teach (or participate in) a writing workshop? Lead a Bible study group? Amateur photographer who exhibits work at local art fairs? Spend every Saturday working on your curve ball? Collect antique stamps?
Everything counts. Everything. Sports, artistic pursuits, hobbies, everything. It doesn’t even have to be unique—it just has to be important to you and you have to love it and have some kind of success with it (even if you’re not the best at it, it’s great to show some kind of growth or change.) Extracurriculars aren’t important in and of themselves; the reason they are so crucial is because they show the adcom WHO you are. Schools accept people, not profiles. You need to be more than a strong test score.
Who ARE you?
What do you do?
What do you love?
What can YOU bring to the community at that school?
What legacy will you leave?
So, no, your extracurriculars don’t need to be philanthropic. You don’t have to open up a leprosy hospital or save the otters or open up a hospital for otters with leprosy (what the…?) We had a client last year who was a stand-up comedian. And another who started a traveling ultimate Frisbee team. They LOVE those things, and that love came through in their apps, and the adcoms loved that they loved those things. And everyone lived happily ever after.
Just keep in mind, whatever ECs you do, it doesn’t matter WHAT it is. What counts is how you devote yourself to that activity, how successful you have been, and how passionate you are. Think depth, not breadth, and you’re good.
And if you have time, consider saving the otters, because they’re really cute.
–Jon Frank, Admissionado Founder