Well, listeners, the end is in sight. Today is Step 12 out of the 14 steps we want your son or daughter to take this summer to make his or her search for colleges more effective. Just to repeat, these steps are based on our workbook How To Explore Your College Options: A Workbook for High School Students (there is one with your name on it waiting at Amazon).
Step 12 asks your son or daughter to investigate what the colleges on his or her LLCO (that’s his or her Long List of College Options) have to offer outside of the classroom--extracurricular activities, community service activities, fraternities and sororities, and intercollegiate and intramural sports. These activities that help enrich students’ lives outside of the classroom can make the difference between a great college experience and a just-okay college experience for lots of kids. Tell your son or daughter to go to each college’s website to answer Questions 35 through 39 on activities and sports.
1. Extracurricular Activities Let’s start with extracurricular activities--something that a lot of you will soon know a lot about since you will be facing questions about high school extracurricular activities on college applications. This is what we said to students in the workbook:
Many of you participated in extracurricular activities in high school. Some of you did that because you really enjoyed the activities, and some of you did that because you thought it would help you get into a good college. Whatever your reasons were in high school, extracurricular activities in college will increase your network of friends, give you something worthwhile to do in your free time, give your mind a break from academics, and possibly lead to a career or to a hobby that could last a lifetime. College is truly more than academics.
When we did our virtual college tour [feel free to review Episode 27 through Episode 53 of USACollegeChat], it was astounding to us just how many activities are available on most college campuses, and it seemed clear that a student could start a club for almost any purpose that interested him or her if such a club did not already exist. It was not uncommon to find that large universities had literally hundreds and hundreds of student activities and clubs--truly, something for everyone. There is everything you had in high school, plus so much more--theater groups, music groups, newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, student government organizations, agricultural organizations, engineering associations, honor societies, and so on...
Don’t underestimate the importance of activities--either now in high school or later in college. Keep in mind that some college applications ask you to write an essay about your most important high school activity and that many college applications ask you whether you plan to continue with your various activities once you get to college. It’s a good idea to say “yes.”
Question 35 on our College Profile Worksheet asks students to jot down how many extracurricular activities each college on their LLCO offers and to list some that they are interested in.
2. Community Service Activities Question 36 on our College Profile Worksheet asks students the same question about community service activities. In the workbook, we wrote this to students (and see the workbook for some great examples):
Many of you participated in community service activities in high school. Some of you did that because you really enjoyed the activities, some of you did that because your high school required it, and some of you did that because you thought it would help you get into a good college. Whatever your reasons were in high school, community service activities in college will increase your network of friends, give you something worthwhile to do in your free time, give your mind a break from academics, and possibly lead to a caree