Which activities will boost a college application?

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Which activities will boost a college application?

So, you're filling out the application, and you get to the portion of activities, and you see that they are only giving you 4 little spaces with tiny little descriptions, to describe everything you’ve done in high school. What do you do? Well, whether they give you 4, or like the common app gives 12, you want to prioritize. Basically, you want to pick the activities that you’ve had the most time commitment and/or the things that are the most important to you. So, it’s okay, Moms, that you don’t list everything that your child has done since the third grade. It’s okay. They’re not looking for that. Instead, they’re looking for if you’ve done something over the course of 4 years of high school. Or let’s say that you’ve only done something once. You had a volunteer experience that was 10 hours, but it was really important, and it helped influence the student to go into something or to do more community service. Then, you want to put that one in there. It’s important to note, though, that most applications, in addition to that activities, also want you to write about one of those activities. When you do that, it’s important to pick the one, again, that’s the most important to you. So, let’s go back to my example. Even though you might have played water polo for 4 years, maybe that one experience in community service for 10 hours really impacted you. That’s the one that you probably want to write about, because you’re going to come across with passion and interest, and that’s what colleges are looking for.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

Watch Danny Ruderman's video on Which activities will boost a college application?...


Expert Bio

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Danny Ruderman

Independent College Counselor

Danny Ruderman is a nationally recognized college counselor whose mission is to help as many families as possible navigate the admissions process.  

The Fontana High School and Stanford grad is the author of The Ultimate College Acceptance System and creator of college counseling programs used by school districts across the U.S. and Fortune 500 companies. He is known for his huge forehead and helping students get into schools that really match their interests. His newest book, Top 100 Answers to Your College Admissions Questions will be released in March 2013.

Danny graduated with Honors from Stanford University and holds a BA in Human Biology with an emphasis in Education. He was named a Merit Teacher for his work at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles and worked as an educational therapist for K&M Associates in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors (WACAC). He has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Between the Lines on PBS, College Bound Magazine, The Bill Handel Show, and Powernomics. Danny is also a regular contributor to Money 101 on KFWB in Los Angeles.

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