Choosing the Right Extracurriculars for College

HUB PHOTO/Riley Donahue
In this photo illustration, a student goes into the career center at Davis High, hoping to get help with his college application.
By Riley Donahue,
HUB Correspondent–

Students at Davis High and all over the country are pulling out all the stops to try to boost their chances of getting into their college of choice.

Many students are balancing lots of things at once, to have lots of impressive things to put on their application. Sophomore Jeff Stark is one of them; his aim is to get into a prestigious college.

“Anything that can get me into a better college,” Stark said, “things like student government, ASB, sports, test scores, GPA, clubs, and organizations. Anything that is of any consequence.”

Other students, such as sophomore Elli Meinert, are pursuing outside extracurricular activities to differentiate themselves from everyone else.

“I’ve been a ‘Nutcracker’ leader, which is a play that kids are in that I help put on,” Meinert said. “Also [I do] community service at my church.”

When students get older, many of them get jobs to help earn money, and to have something noteworthy to put on their college applications.

“[I have] my job at karate,” junior Ari Yeung said. “I also do extracurricular stuff like music and track, and I help out at Sunday school at my church.”

Yeung has also spent the fall volunteering as a campaign intern for Rep. John Garamendi.

Gregory Shilling-Goins, a junior and a commissioned artist, has a different approach to what he wants to put on his college application. As a man who lives for art, Shilling-Goins is taking AP Drawing and Painting to work on his artistic career, and to put together a portfolio of many different styles of art.

“I’m going to put together a portfolio for [my] college [application],” Shilling-Goins said. “because I definitely want to get into art.”

Some colleges such as UC Santa Barbara like the idea of students focusing on only one thing that they like, rather than a long list of meaningless things.

“We like to see a good balance of solid academics, good test scores, and extracurricular that accurately reflects a student’s interest, hobbies, and passions,” said Lisa Przekop, Associate Director of Admissions at UC Santa Barbara.

According to Przekop, colleges don’t necessarily like to see a really long list of activities the student has completed, but rather would like to see students who “spend their time in activities that are meaningful to them.”

“I’d rather see depth in a few activities rather than superficial participation in a long list of activities,” Przekop said.

It’s getting harder and harder for kids to separate themselves from the giant pack of students trying to get into the same colleges. In fact, according to studies conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 68.3 percent of 2011 high school graduates are enrolled in college this year, which is merely 2.1 million students out of the total 3.1 million.


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