Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples – Introduction
As you work through your college applications, you may come across a version of the extracurricular activities essay. Many college application requirements include an extracurricular supplemental essay. So, don’t be surprised if you need to write an extracurricular supplemental essay for schools on your list. As you brainstorm and draft, it can be helpful to read some extracurricular activities essay examples.
In this guide, we’ve included several extracurricular activities essay examples to show you the ropes. By the end, you’ll see how to successfully complete the extracurricular activities essay. Take a look at these examples before you start your college applications.
The extracurricular activities essay is exactly what it sounds like. You will use the extracurricular supplemental essay to write about the importance of one of your extracurricular activities. Later, we’ll look at several elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples.
In our extracurricular activities essay examples, we’ll look at prompts from the following schools:
- Stanford University
- Rice University
- Bryn Mawr College
- Northwestern University
- Vanderbilt University
University of Florida
- Princeton University
We’ll talk about what you can learn from each of our extracurricular activities essay examples. We will also explain how they contribute to each student’s application narrative. Before we jump into our extracurricular activities essay examples, let’s explore what counts as an extracurricular activity.
What is an extracurricular activity?
An extracurricular activity, or after-school activity , is something that you participate in outside of your regular classes. Extracurricular activities are important because they give you a chance to explore your interests outside the classroom. In fact, recent research suggests that being involved in extracurricular activities can even help a student’s engagement in school.
When you submit college applications, you’ll include a list of the extracurricular activities you have participated in during high school. Being involved in multiple extracurricular activities can bolster your candidate profile and make you stand out in the admissions process.
Extracurricular activities matter
If you plan to send college applications to top-tier schools, you’ll want to boost your participation in extracurricular activities early in your high school career. Colleges want to see that you have passions in and out of the classroom.
In other words, extracurricular activities can show admissions officers what you care about. Extracurricular activities can also help you learn more about what you enjoy, which can translate into potential extracurricular activities for college.
What are some examples of extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities can be clubs, organizations, sports, jobs, or anything in between. As you’ll see in our elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples, extracurriculars will vary from student to student. There are four main categories of extracurricular activities:
- Community activities
Each category has its own strengths and benefits you’ll want to show in your essay. Our extracurricular activities essay examples highlight activities from each category. As such, you’ll be able to see an activity similar to yours represented.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories before we dig into our extracurricular activity essay examples.
Extracurricular Activity Categories
School-sponsored extracurricular activities include clubs, organizations or programs that are hosted by your school. These might be sports teams, special interest clubs like technical theatre, or arts programs like band and orchestra.
Another popular type of extracurricular activity is community activities. Community activities include volunteer work and community service.
Getting involved in your local community is a great way to show the admissions committee how you give back.
These kinds of activities can also be a great topic for your extracurricular activities essay. They can include hobbies, learning new skills, or taking online courses in your favorite subject.
Independent activities help showcase your passions and interests. These types of extracurricular activities would be perfect to explore in an extracurricular supplemental essay, especially since they fit less neatly into the activities list on the Common App.
Many high school students have work experiences they can highlight in their college applications. Work experiences could include part-time jobs, internships, or shadowing opportunities.
Talking about your work experiences in your extracurricular supplemental essay can be a great way to show off your time management and professional skills to admissions officers.
Depth over breadth
However, you don’t have to participate in dozens of extracurricular activities to stand out in the college application process. It’s more important to develop depth than breadth in your extracurriculars to showcase your commitment and dedication.
In other words, it’s much more impressive for you to have a handful of extracurricular activities on your resume that you are deeply committed to than a long list of clubs and organizations that you don’t care about.
The best extracurricular activities for you will be the ones that match your interests and goals. Don’t just join every club at your school to fill out your resume. Instead, seek out extracurricular activities where you can explore your interests, learn new things, and grow over time.
Writing about Extracurricular Activities for College
Now that we’ve explored some extracurricular activity options that will be perfect for your extracurricular activities essay, let’s discuss how to write about your extracurricular activities on your college applications.
Most schools use a holistic process to review college applications. This means that they will evaluate you based on your entire candidate profile . This includes test scores , GPA , essays , and extracurricular activities.
Because more students are applying to colleges than ever before, you’ll want to do everything you can to stand out in your college applications. Writing about your extracurricular activities for college can help show the admissions committee who you are, what’s important to you, and what makes you a unique applicant.
Focus on the narrative
Use the extracurricular activities essay to tell a story about your experience. You can describe what it felt like, what it looked like, or how it helped you learn more about your own interests and goals.
When you are writing about your extracurricular activities for college, you’ll want to provide specific details about the type, length, and responsibilities of your involvements. If you’re unsure where to start, try making a list of all the extracurricular activities you have participated in since freshman year. Write down the role you had in this activity, how much time you spent doing it, and what you learned because of this involvement.
For more tips on how to write about extracurricular activities for college, check out this article . In it, you’ll find 39 essay tips from admissions experts on how to write a great college essay, including how to write about extracurricular activities for college.
What are some examples of extracurricular activities essay prompts?
Before we review our extracurricular activities essay examples (along with the reasons why these are college essays that worked), let’s look at the extracurricular activities essay prompts from Stanford, Rice, Bryn Mawr, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, UF, and Princeton.
Although the general idea is the same, each college will have a slightly different version of the extracurricular activities essay prompt. You’ll see the differences in our extracurricular activities essay examples below.
If you plan to apply to Stanford University, you should know that one of the Stanford supplemental essay prompts is as follows:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
This extracurricular activities essay prompt is intentionally broad. You’ll need to select just one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences to describe in this Stanford supplemental essay.
This Stanford supplemental essay prompt is your opportunity to showcase one of your many involvements. It also gives you a chance to elaborate on why it is important to you. If possible, select an extracurricular activity or work experience that you have not already discussed at length anywhere else in your Stanford application.
This essay prompt on extracurriculars from Rice University is fairly straight forward. You can see the exact wording below:
The extracurricular activities essay prompt or Rice is the same as the one for the Stanford application. Like we mentioned above, you’ll want to highlight an activity that is not mentioned elsewhere in your application.
There are three Bryn Mawr supplemental essays that are required for admission. The first of the Bryn Mawr supplemental essays is about your extracurricular activities:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below.
This prompt is the same as the ones for the Stanford application and Rice application. Our suggestions for those essays also apply for the first prompt of the Bryn Mawr supplemental essays.
Here is the Northwestern essay prompt:
If you are applying to Vanderbilt, you should know that the Vanderbilt application requires that you answer this extracurricular activities essay prompt:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
Both the Northwestern essay prompt and the Vanderbilt application prompt are the same as the ones for Stanford, Rice, and Bryn Mawr.
The UF application includes the following extracurricular activities essay prompt as part of the required University of Florida essays:
During high school, what is the most enriching long-term or ongoing activity in which you have participated outside of the classroom? Tell us about it – Why is it enriching to you? What have you gained or learned by participating in it? How do you plan to continue this type of activity in the future?
Unlike the prompts for the Stanford, Rice, Bryn Mawr, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern applications, this extracurricular activities essay prompt asks you to answer direct questions about your experience.
You’ll want to choose an activity that is the most significant, long-term activity that you have participated in during high school. Then, you’ll want to explain why it was enriching, what you learned in this activity, and how you plan to continue with this type of activity in college and beyond.
You’ll see how to answer these questions in our extracurricular activities essay examples.
The Princeton extracurricular activities essay prompt is as follows:
Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you.
This prompt is similar to the ones above, but it does make an important distinction. You’ll want to choose an activity that was meaningful to you, which means you will need to spend part of your essay describing why you found this experience particularly impactful. We’ll take a look at how to do this in our extracurricular activities essay examples.
Which schools require an extracurricular activities essay?
In addition to the extracurricular activities essay prompts we highlighted above, many colleges include an extracurricular activities essay as part of their college application requirements.
Each of these schools’ college applications require you to write an extracurricular activities essay:
- Georgetown University
- University of California schools
- Howard University
- Amherst College
- Purdue University
Even though we won’t look at extracurricular activities essay examples for these colleges, the extracurricular activities essay examples we do highlight can help give you inspiration as you work on your college applications.
Now, it’s time to examine some extracurricular activities essay examples. Our elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples include Stanford essays examples, Rice supplemental essays examples, Bryn Mawr supplemental essays, Northwestern essay examples, Vanderbilt essay examples, UF supplemental essay examples, and Princeton essay examples.
Following each of the extracurricular activities essay examples, we’ll provide an analysis on why these are college essays that worked.
First, let’s kick off our extracurricular activities essay examples with the Stanford essays examples.
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples: Stanford University
Here’s the first of our elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples:
Stanford Essay Examples
In February of 2016 my neighbor texted me and asked me to tutor her third grader in math. My first thought was “Third grade math?! This will be easy.” I was wrong. The girl I tutored is dyslexic and had ADHD, so working with her challenged me in a new way. I had to devise ways of teaching where she could understand it but also remain focused for long enough to accomplish it. I had to practice my patience in a way I never have before, and I have become a better person because of it. By the end of our work together, she was excited to play the math games I made up and she was so proud every time she understood a question or a concept. I am so thankful for that opportunity.
Why this essay worked
This sample of the Stanford essays examples works for several reasons. First, the author describes how the activity challenged them to come up with new ideas as a math tutor. This shows the admissions officer how thoughtful and creative this person can be in different situations.
In this essay (one of our Stanford essays examples), the author shows how they developed key skills, like patience, through this extracurricular activity. Highlighting new skills that you have learned through your extracurricular activities is a way to stand out from the crowd.
Showcasing personal growth, like the author did above, also shows the admissions team you are willing to change and better yourself when faced with challenges.
How To Write The Rice Supplemental Essays
Now, let’s turn to Rice supplemental essays examples. Below, you’ll see another version of the elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples.
Rice Supplemental Essay Examples
With an interest in business, it is hard to pass up the chance to become a part of the business club at my school. This competition-based club allows members to learn detailed ways to start and manage a business. Although my curiosity urged me to participate, the thought of writing 30 pages with a fast-approaching deadline seemed daunting. Prior to this program, I had very little knowledge on the basic principles of business management, however, through research and a bit of persistence, I learned countless fundamentals of business. Although I was awarded a medal and recognized as a State Finalist in the International Business Plan category, the most valuable thing I earned was the drive of an entrepreneur which taught me that even the most difficult of tasks can be accomplished if they are done with continued determination.
Getting straight to the point
This is one of our Rice supplemental essays examples. In it, the author mentions their academic interest right away. This helps the reader understand the forthcoming connection between the extracurricular activity and this person’s interests.
If you’re working with a tight word limit, like the one in the Rice supplemental essays examples, you’ll want to be concise with your details. The Rice supplemental essays examples only give you so many words to work with, so you have to make the most of them. In this essay, the author summarizes the purpose of their extracurricular activity quickly. This provides the reader with more context about their involvement without taking up too much space.
This is an example of college essays that worked because the author shows what they learned as a result of their involvement in this activity. This highlights the author’s potential success in a college setting.
How To Write The Bryn Mawr Supplemental Essays
Like the two extracurricular activities essay examples above, the Bryn Mawr supplemental essay is another version of the elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples.
Bryn Mawr Essay Example
After watching my grandfather suffer from heart ailments, it was particularly meaningful to have the opportunity to conduct echocardiography research with a pediatric cardiologist. During my summer internship at a Health and Science University, I designed and built heart models to mimic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) disease and investigate strain comparisons in a 2D and 3D model.
Continuously designing and analyzing my own experiments has not only taught me the value of diligence, patience and replication in the laboratory setting, but it has also instilled in me the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that will enable me to tackle difficult, and sometimes unknown, problems with sound reasoning and confidence as I serve the underrepresented to eliminate health disparities.
This response is one of the college essays that worked for several reasons. The author of this essay explains the personal significance of this extracurricular activity. This gives the reader more information about who this person is and why this activity is meaningful to them.
Additionally, the author uses their response to explain what they did during their internship as well as the values and skills they learned from this activity. They even go the extra mile to describe how they will use these values and skills to reach their goals in the future.
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples: Northwestern University
The following essay is another of our elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples.
Northwestern Essay Example
After having been a Girl Scout for over 10 years, I can confirm that the most common questions I get asked are, “When are you selling the cookies,” or “Can I get [insert favorite cookie here]”. However, Girl Scouts means so much more to me than simply selling cookies for a few months.
Being a part of Girl Scouts has entailed, as the Girl Scout Law indicates, “being a sister to every Girl Scout”. When I first joined the organization as a Brownie, I didn’t think I would interact with the older girls at all. However, I soon began to admire my older Girl Scout sisters and looked up to them the more time I spent with them. As an Ambassador now, I try to show the same level of leadership by mentoring and working with younger girls, building a strong relationship with them and helping them on their journey to the higher ranks (as well as through life).
As a Girl Scout, I have also learned to enthusiastically help my community. Whether it be through providing assistance at food pantries, cleaning up litter, donating to the homeless, or singing carols in retirement homes, Girls Scouts has taught me the importance of helping others in need around me and improving the state of the world.
So, yes, being a Girl Scout does mean selling cookies. But, more importantly, Girl Scouts has meant growing into a confident young woman, being a mentor, and providing service to better the world.
Focus on depth of involvement
This sample comes from one of our Northwestern essay examples. In it, the author mentions the length of their involvement in the Girl Scouts and their progression from a junior member to a senior member.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important to have extracurricular activities on your list that show depth, especially in your Northwestern application. In other words, the longer you participate in an activity, the more significant it is to your college applications.
This is another example of college essays that worked because the author can describe how they eventually moved into a leadership role and what that new role entails. If you are a leader in your organization, be sure to mention it on your Northwestern application and in your essay.
Finally, the author concludes with a description of who they are and what this activity has taught them. We saw similar versions of this conclusion in the extracurricular activities essay examples above, which goes to show that these are college essays that worked.
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples: Vanderbilt University
Next, let’s look at Vanderbilt essay examples. This essay is one of the longer samples of our extracurricular activities essay examples. Please note that the name of the program described has been removed for anonymity.
Vanderbilt Essay Examples
I silently sat in the passenger seat of my mother’s car with a churning feeling in my stomach. My legs bounced wildly, and my body was tense. My anxiety came from the fact I would be starting my first day at a pre-college program to which I was recently accepted.
When my mother dropped me off at the building where my first class would be held, I nervously walked in, surprised to be greeted by the smiling faces of my peers. Looking around, I saw faces of all shades. This amazed me, having been surrounded by people who looked like me for most of my life. As I engaged in conversation with students already present, I increasingly became more comfortable.
Though class began with typical icebreakers, we quickly transitioned into math topics, beginning with algebra and progressing into trigonometry and summations. When the professor concluded the lecture, I was shocked to find that the class had passed by so quickly. Similar sentiments arose after completing my critical thinking class in the afternoon. When my mother picked me up after that class, I enthusiastically spilled my experiences from the day.
The following six weeks of that summer (and ensuing summers) comprised of me being introduced to new perspectives. Being surrounded by peers that were different in lifestyle and socioeconomic status made me more open-minded to unfamiliar concepts and interpretations.
The brother and sisterhood I formed with my peers made me way less dependent on my twin sister and increased my confidence in my beliefs and individuality.
Additionally, being taught by university professors in rigorous subject matter instilled in me a newfound passion in exploring challenging topics. This program has assisted in developing me into a more well-rounded, cultured individual not only through exposure to a research program at the university hospital, but through enrichment activities during the school year (watching plays, attending politic and STEM-based talks, and experiencing cultural shows). Though I was initially apprehensive in applying to this program, I now look back at the program as life-altering and am thankful for the experience. Three years ago, I was just a “twin” who did well in school, however today I am an individual with my own unique views, eager to learn the endless knowledge the world has to offer me.
Unlike the extracurricular activities essay examples above, this essay puts you right in the middle of the story. This can be an effective way to grab your reader’s attention as they review your Vanderbilt application.
Additionally, this is a great example of college essays that worked because the author describes self-growth because of their involvement. In this sample from our Vanderbilt essay examples, the writer explains the new skills they learned and details the type of experiences they had while in this extracurricular activity.
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples: University of Florida
Now, let’s look at UF supplemental essay examples. This essay is a little different from our previous extracurricular activities essay examples.
This is a slightly elevated take on the elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples prompt. It asks you to do more than just explain your involvement in an extracurricular activity.
UF Supplemental Essay Examples
“Thaka-dhimi thaka- janu! Strike your foot higher! Sit more! Discipline yourself!”
To most, these phrases and commands would have sounded like gibberish. But to me, it meant beauty and grace. It meant dedication and determination. It invoked a sense of community and contentment. It meant Bharatantyam.
From the ripe age of 5 years old, I’ve had the opportunity to learn an Indian Classical Dance form, Bharatanatyam, from my mother. I took this opportunity seriously in tenth grade. Once I chose to commit fully to Bharatantyam, it was life changing.
Bharatantyam has transformed me for the good as a person. Countless hours spent in practice disciplined me. Preparing mentally for a more sophisticated piece or dance item allowed me to expand my brain’s depth. From a physical standpoint, one can see that Bharatantyam is a beautiful dance that harmonizes your brain and body.
Viewing Bharatanatyam from a scientific standpoint is what made it so much more enriching. Watching a video from my mother’s guru, I began to understand the neurological benefits of both dancing and watching Bharatantyam. Viewing that clip gave me a revolutionary idea: treating neurological diseases for senior citizens through Bharatanatyam.
I began to perform at senior assisted living facilities around my city. Many of the seniors I performed for weren’t able to even stay awake for it. While at times discouraging, small moments of joy kept me going. Every smile I received from my audience and every conversation I had with the seniors were the reasons why I kept dancing.
Now, I plan to expand this activity more at UF. Creating a non-profit in which dancers have paid performances and donate that money to neurological research institutes is how I believe I should start. With UF’s resources, I easily see this idea becoming reality.
Extracurricular activities essay prompt
With this extracurricular activities essay examples prompt, you must answer all three parts of the University of Florida essays question to complete your UF application.
Like the extracurricular activities essay examples for Vanderbilt, this sample from our UF supplemental essay examples puts you right in the middle of the story. It starts off with a quote, grabbing the reader’s attention. This sample of the University of Florida essays also shows you the length of involvement this author had in the activity while highlighting aspects of their unique culture.
This is one of our college essays that worked because this response details the author’s experience, growth, and future goals. On top of that, this sample from our UF supplemental essay examples further strengthens the writer’s UF application by connecting their experience to how they hope to continue this activity at UF.
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples: Princeton University
This sample from the Princeton essay examples is the last of our college essays that worked.
Princeton Essay Examples
Serving as a Student Government leader at my college has taught me the power of student voice and collaborative leadership. During my Junior year, I began attending Senate Meetings and was elected as a Senator a few months later. I began proposing solutions to problems my college faces, from lack of STEM programming to low voter turnout rates to poor multicultural outreach programs. I created student committees to tackle these problems, the most recent being a committee working to bring a series of local STEM professionals for our artist-in-residence series. I was appointed as a student voice to faculty committees, such as the Diversity and Equity Committee. I use this position to bring student concerns I hear from SG directly to the college board to catalyze changes in our college, such as the introduction of STEM cohort groups or providing resources for students of color.
The last of our extracurricular activities essay examples mentions the activity right away. It also mentions what the activity taught the author. Like the extracurricular activities essay examples above, this response adds specific details. Moreover, the author describes the impact of their leadership role.
In addition to describing the experience itself, this essay highlights how the author implemented solutions to the problems they recognized within their community, another key skill that will be important in college.
How To Write A Great Extracurricular Activities Essay
In our extracurricular activities essay examples, you saw different ways to write a great extracurricular activities essay. Now let’s talk about how you can use these extracurricular activities essay examples to help you write your own.
When you write your own extracurricular activities essay, be sure to refer to the extracurricular activities essay examples above. Each of the extracurricular activities essay examples highlights a different aspect of each applicant’s candidate profile—from backgrounds to passions to academic interests and goals.
Read every prompt carefully
Remember, some colleges might have different ways of approaching the extracurricular activities essay, which will be evident in the essay prompt. Like some of the extracurricular activities essay examples above, you might be working with a shorter or longer word limit. You also may have specific questions you need to address when elaborating on your extracurriculars.
There’s no specific formula on how to write a great extracurricular activities essay. However, here are a few tips to help you write a strong response that will stand out from the crowd.
Additional Tips for Writing Extracurricular Activities Essays
Choosing which activities to write about and how to present them is key to writing a successful extracurricular activities essay. Reading some elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples can help you learn how to structure your own essays. You’ll likely need to write about your extracurriculars to complete your college application requirements. So, use this as a chance to show the admissions committee what matters to you.
In this guide, we’ve reviewed extracurricular activities essay examples from some of the top colleges in the nation. We hope this helps you as you write your own extracurricular activities essay.
Three tips to help you write your extracurricular activities essays:
1. demonstrate your passion . .
Like we saw in the extracurricular activities essay examples, this is your opportunity to show what’s important to you. Use your essays to demonstrate your passion.
2. Show your dedication.
Many of our extracurricular activities essay examples discussed how long the author was involved in the activity. Show your dedication to your hobby, club, or organization through your essay responses.
3. Match your extracurricular activities essay examples to a school’s mission or values.
There are plenty of applicants who can fill out all the college application requirements. However, to truly stand out, you’ll want to show the admissions office why you are a great fit for their university. Match your extracurricular activities essay examples to a college’s mission or values to prove that you are committed to attending that university.
Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Extracurricular Activities
If you need help figuring out how to get involved, watch our webinar for tips on how to join new extracurricular activities in high school. For more ideas on which extracurricular activities might be right for you, check out our article on 38 high school extracurricular ideas for college applicants.
38 High School Extracurricular Ideas for College Applicants
Wondering how to showcase your extracurricular activities in your college applications? Check out our guide for more information on how to approach extracurricular activities in the college admissions process.
How to Showcase Extracurricular Activities In Your College Applications
Finally, check out our panel for additional tips on how to craft your activity and extracurriculars list for college.
Crafting Your Activity and Extracurriculars List
Extracurricular Activities Essay Examples – Final Thoughts
We hope that our guide on extracurricular activities essay examples (and college essays that worked) help you prepare your own extracurricular activities essay. If an extracurricular activities essay is part of your college application requirements, be sure to refer back to our extracurricular activities essay examples for guidance.
As you likely noticed from our extracurricular activities essay examples, college essays that worked tend to highlight students’ passion. This is even more true when it comes to extracurriculars. Don’t feel daunted by the extracurricular supplemental essay requirement. Instead, use it as a chance to highlight how you engage deeply with the world around you.
Not all prompts are the same
Remember, the prompt to your extracurricular activities essay might look different than the ones we highlighted in our extracurricular activities essay examples above. Even if your prompt is different from our ‘elaborate on an extracurricular activity essay examples’, you can still use them to brainstorm ideas for your own extracurricular activities essay.
Do you need help with other college application requirements? CollegeAdvisor.com can help. Register today to get one-on-one support as you begin your college application process.
This article was written by Claire Babbs . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile. We will help you increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
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Scholarship application tips
Dr. Susan Thurman, former NSHSS Scholarship Director, provides essential tips for students applying for scholarships. Her advice covers the three key components of most applications: resume, essay, and recommendation letters. A crucial reminder for both scholarship and college applications is to meticulously proofread all documents.
Preparing Scholarship Essays
Abide by the essay’s guidelines. If an essay has a maximum of 500 words, writing 1,000 words will not give you an edge over other applicants.
Stick to the topic
Don’t try to force an essay you have previously written into a topic that doesn’t match.
Reading your essay aloud helps you determine how your essay will read to its reviewers.
Seek 2nd and 3rd opinions
Share your essay with your parent or guardian. Then, run it by a friend or a mentor for a more objective opinion without familial bias.
Quality over quantity
Focus on depth, not breadth. Immerse yourself in 1-2 clubs or organizations, rather than joining multiple superficially.
Include plenty of details; don’t generalize.
Stand out from the crowd! Don't bore the scholarship committee. Be unique, use quotes, references, and be yourself.
Preparing your resume
Be sure your contact information is up to date, with address, telephone, email and current school.
Begin with academics: GPA, academic awards, Dean’s list, math bowl champion, etc.
Include volunteer activities. Don't forget to list dates of service activities.
Music, sports, clubs/organizations, hobbies, academic camps, employment, internships, etc.
Make it memorable! Be yourself, use quotes, references, and stand out from the crowd. References available upon request, with permission obtained beforehand.
Keep in mind
Highlight high school achievements. Exclude pre-high school activities unless they're exceptional (e.g., National Geography Bee win, early charity founding).
Leadership is about actions, not titles. It's not just holding club officer positions or being a team captain. True leaders demonstrate their abilities through their actions.
How to ask for recommendation letters
- Find an educator with whom you can discuss your extracurricular activities, college aspirations, other classes, etc.
- Provide your recommender with all of the information they will need to prepare and submit your recommendation.
- Read the application requirements carefully – an application may have a limit of one recommendation, may allow more than one, or may require more than one.
- Make sure to give your educator friendly reminders weeks before your scholarship deadline.
- Give thanks! Surprise them with a hand-written thank you card (not an email or social media post!).
- Maintain communication.
- Ask for a recommendation at the last minute.
- List someone as a recommender or reference without their knowledge.
- Skimp on the information they need to prepare and submit the recommendation.
- Take it personally if the educator is not able to prepare a recommendation for you.
What are your chances of acceptance?
Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.
Your chancing factors
How to Write the Harvard Extracurricular Activities Essay
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Elias Miller in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Purpose of the prompt, example answer, showing vs. telling.
In this post, we look at Harvard University ’s supplemental essay focusing on extracurricular activities. For more information, check out this article on how to get into Harvard .
Harvard’s second supplemental essay prompt reads, “Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.”
This prompt enables you to focus deeply on one of your extracurriculars to showcase your involvement. With a 150-word limit, your response will be brief, but it should say something profound about you. Choose an activity that is important to you, but avoid discussing something that you’ve already talked about in detail elsewhere in your application. Try to weave in a personal anecdote, but avoid using gimmicks or unnecessary fluff in your response.
Let’s look at an example answer to this prompt.
As I crashed into the final chord, I broke into a satisfied grin. I had just played the epic third movement of the “Moonlight Sonata,” a longtime dream of mine. Only four months ago, I had considered this feat impossible. The movement is long and its tempo impossibly fast. It features the most fragile and intricate melodies I had ever encountered. With the end of the school year last June, I was free to determine my own musical path: either finally learn the piece or let it defeat me for the third consecutive summer. During the following months, I spent countless hours practicing until the notes burned a permanent place in my memory, creating a soundtrack for my dreams. Despite my success, I know I haven’t mastered the piece. I am now eager to take the next step and add in layers of nuance to make my performances even more expressive.
This response is incredibly well done. It’s well-written, not overly flowery, and free of grammatical errors, and it gets the point across. The writer leads us in with a bit of a hook, beginning their response in media res , in the heat of the action. We accompany the writer as they finish their performance of this difficult piece, then we go on a journey with the writer as they talk about their grit, determination, and perseverance to overcome struggles and learn this score.
Another positive aspect of this response is that the writer doesn’t declare that they’re now a piano genius. Instead, the applicant’s takeaway from this experience is that they have so much more to learn. Playing all the notes of a piece is just the first step in a long journey toward musical maturity and eventual mastery.
The writer doesn’t say, “I’m very determined,” or “I’m very mature,” or “I care a lot about piano.” They don’t have to because they’ve shown these things through writing about this experience. From their journey of learning this piece, we can glean for ourselves how committed, determined, and mature the applicant is. Showing rather than telling is critical in college essay writing.
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12 Winning Scholarship Essay Examples for Aspiring Students
18 min read
Published on: Mar 14, 2019
Last updated on: Nov 1, 2023
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Scholarships can be the key to your dreams of higher education, but the process often begins with one crucial step - the scholarship essay.
A scholarship essay is not just another requirement. It is your chance to stand out from the competition and convince the selection committee that you are the perfect candidate deserving of their support.
However, crafting a winning scholarship essay is not an easy task. You are in competition with hundreds of applicants, and you need to get a lot of things right to stand out.
But don’t worry; reading some winning samples can help you understand how to write better scholarship essays.
This blog presents 12 remarkable scholarship essay examples to inspire your success. These real-life essays, written by scholarship recipients, offer invaluable insights and strategies to help you secure funding for your education.
So read on!
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Financial Need Scholarship Essay Example for College
Students often apply for financial assistance scholarships for their college education. Such scholarships require you to provide compelling reasons as to why you deserve financial aid.
Here is an example that successfully caters to this question:
Why This Scholarship Essay Succeeded
This scholarship essay effectively conveys the applicant's financial need while also highlighting their determination and commitment to education. Here are some key elements that contributed to its success:
- Personal Story: The essay starts with a personal story about growing up in a single-parent household, providing context for the financial need. This makes the essay relatable and emotionally engaging.
- Specific Financial Challenges: The essay details the specific financial challenges the applicant faces, such as tuition, textbooks, and living expenses. Specificity adds credibility to the financial need.
- Explains the Significance of the Scholarship for Education: The essay explains how receiving the scholarship would positively impact the applicant's education, allowing them to focus more on studies and extracurricular activities.
Leadership Scholarship Essay Examples
When applying to programs for training young leaders, they often require you to write an essay. Here is a leadership scholarship essay sample:
Why This Scholarship Essay Worked
This leadership scholarship essay effectively showcases the applicant's leadership journey, growth, and suitability for the scholarship. Here are some key elements that contributed to its success:
- Personal Growth: The essay highlights the applicant's personal growth and development through their leadership experiences, demonstrating a clear understanding of what leadership entails.
- Specific Examples: The applicant provides specific examples of challenges faced and initiatives undertaken as a leader, adding credibility to their claims.
- Lessons Learned: The essay discusses the lessons learned, emphasizing qualities such as communication, teamwork, and empathy, which are essential for effective leadership.
- Alignment with Scholarship: The essay explains how the scholarship will support the applicant's continued leadership growth and commitment to making a positive impact.
Scholarship Essay Example for Engineering
Engineering schools have a strong vetting process to ensure that they only let in serious students. Writing a scholarship essay is their way of judging a student’s interests and capabilities.
Check out this catchy sample:
Why this Engineering Scholarship Essay Worked
Here are some key elements that contributed to the essay’s success:
- Passion and Dedication: The essay clearly communicates the applicant's deep passion for engineering, emphasizing their lifelong commitment to the field.
- Specific Examples: The applicant provides specific examples of their experiences in engineering, such as the cooling system project and the sustainable housing initiative, demonstrating their practical application of engineering skills.
- Financial Need: The essay briefly touches upon the financial challenges faced by the applicant, which adds context to their need for financial support.
- Impact and Contribution: The essay discusses how receiving the scholarship will enable the applicant to focus more on their studies and research projects, emphasizing their desire to contribute meaningfully to the field of engineering.
Nursing Scholarship Essay Example
Nursing institutions require hard-working and committed pupils. That’s why the scholarship essay is an essential part of their application process.
So, what does a good nursing scholarship essay look like? Here’s an example:
Why This Nursing Scholarship Essay Succeeded
This nursing scholarship essay effectively conveys the applicant's passion for nursing and their commitment to patient-centered care. Here are some key elements that contributed to its success:
- Passion for Nursing: The essay clearly communicates the applicant's passion for nursing, emphasizing personal experiences that ignited this passion.
- Continuous Learning: The essay highlights the applicant's commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth, which is essential in the nursing field.
- Community Engagement: The applicant showcases their involvement in community health initiatives and volunteering, demonstrating a dedication to improving healthcare beyond the clinical setting.
- Leadership Experience: The essay discusses leadership roles within the nursing program, emphasizing the applicant's understanding of nursing as a leadership role in healthcare.
- Impactful Clinical Experience: The inclusion of the palliative care unit experience adds a unique perspective. It also adds an emotionally resonant dimension to the essay, highlighting the applicant's dedication to patient-centered care.
Scholarship Essay About Yourself
Some scholarship essays require a more personal touch. Scholarship committees are interested to learn about your experiences and how you express them.
Here is an example of an essay focusing on the applicant’s life experiences.
This scholarship essay effectively highlights the applicant's personal experiences and qualities that make them a suitable candidate for the scholarship. Here are some key elements that contributed to its success:
- Values and Background: The essay begins by establishing the applicant's background and values, emphasizing the importance of education and family sacrifices.
- Academic Excellence: The applicant showcases their commitment to academic excellence, including being named valedictorian, which adds credibility to their dedication to learning.
- Passion and Career Goals: The essay highlights the applicant's interest in psychology and mental health, revealing their career aspirations and a deep sense of purpose.
- Courage to Grow: The essay concludes with a strong commitment to education and the desire to use it as a tool for positive change in their community.
Winning Scholarship Essay Examples
You have read five scholarship essay examples with a complete analysis of why they were successful. Here are some more excellent examples that stand out due to similar reasons.
Read these samples and ask yourself, can you figure out why these essays catch the readers’ attention?
Sample Scholarship Essays
Sometimes, scholarship essays require a limited word count. You should always read the instructions and requirements of an essay before writing.
Here are two scholarship essay samples with different word limits.
500-Words Scholarship Essay Example About Career Goals
250 Words Scholarship Essay Example
Scholarship Essay Examples for Different Academic Levels
These scholarship essay examples cater to various academic levels. They demonstrate how students at different stages of their education can craft successful essays.
Scholarship Essay Example For High School Students
Scholarship Essay Example For College Application
Masters Scholarship Essay Example For Students
Scholarship Essay Examples - Why You Deserve This
These examples focus on explaining why the applicants deserve the scholarship, emphasizing their qualifications, achievements, and aspirations.
Why I Deserve This Scholarship Essay Example
Why Should You Receive This Scholarship
There are many different prompts you can be assigned for your scholarship essay, so better be prepared. Check out this list of scholarship essay prompts to get a better idea!
Tips to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay
The following are some useful tips and suggestions for writing a successful scholarship essay:
- Understand the Prompt: Carefully read and understand the essay prompt. Ensure that your response directly addresses the specific questions or topics provided. Tailor your essay to the scholarship's requirements.
- Plan and Organize: Start with an essay outline . Identify key points you want to cover and the structure of your essay. A well-organized essay with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion is more engaging and easier to follow.
- Be Authentic: Be true to yourself and your experiences. Authenticity resonates with scholarship committees. Share your genuine motivations, goals, and challenges, as it makes your essay more relatable.
- Address Your Audience: Consider your audience, that is the scholarship selection committees. Tailor your essay to their expectations and values, emphasizing how you align with the scholarship's mission and goals.
- Highlight Achievements and Impact: Showcase your accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular, and discuss the impact they've had on your life and your community. Explain how the scholarship will enable you to achieve even more.
- Express Your Passion: Demonstrate your passion for your field of study or the cause the scholarship supports. Explain why you are deeply committed and how the scholarship will help you make a significant contribution.
- Follow Instructions: Pay close attention to any specific instructions or requirements provided by the scholarship organization. Failure to comply with guidelines can lead to disqualification.
- Revise and Rewrite: After an initial draft, take time to revise and rewrite your essay. Don't hesitate to make substantial changes if necessary to improve clarity, coherence, and impact.
- Seek Feedback: Have someone else, such as a teacher, mentor, or family member, review your essay. Fresh perspectives can identify areas for improvement.
These essay examples were a good way to start. You’ve read and learnt the qualities that made them successful. Now, it’s your time to apply what you’ve learnt to your own scholarship essays.
Remember, crafting a winning scholarship essay takes time and effort. Be authentic and convey your aspirations, achievements, and the impact you hope to make. With dedication and these valuable tips, you can create a compelling scholarship essay that helps you achieve your education goals.
In addition, we understand that writing a scholarship essay can be incredibly difficult due to the high stakes. But don’t let the stress takeover, let our professional scholarship essay writing service handle it.
Our expert writers have written hundreds of successful scholarship essays with a high rate of success. Trust our write my essay website to craft a stand-out scholarship essay and achieve your academic goals!
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Describe an extracurricular activity you participated in for school and how it impacted you. by MaKayla
MaKaylaof Orem's entry into Varsity Tutor's December 2013 scholarship contest
Describe an extracurricular activity you participated in for school and how it impacted you. by MaKayla - December 2013 Scholarship Essay
In life I have experienced many extracurricular activities that impacted me, but the one that impacted me the most was running track in junior high up until high school. Running is my life and it has changed my life in many ways. It was something that I could always fall back on and I will forever love running the rest of my life. The reasons why it has impacted my life in so many ways was because of team work, being a leader and a coach, and going through all the trials it put me through.
In track many of my races were just me competing against other schools. In junior high I didn't believe that track was a team sport unless you ran in the relays and wanted your school to win tournaments. I was wrong completely. In high school I learned that even your weakest link can be your biggest help. When you go to practice and you are doing all of your intervals you don't have the other girls to race against every day. It is your team that is their to push you. Without having your team to run against you wouldn't increase your personal records hardly as much. I went through days were I couldn't run with my team because I was injured and even though the girls pushed me they were also mental support as well. I didn't have them their telling me I could do that one last four-hundred meeter interval. So when I was tired it was easier to give up. They were their for me and I was their for them.
As I had their support there for me, at practice and during races, I became the leader I am today. As they helped me be that great runner I was on varsity I wanted to show my respect to them by helping them out as much as they did myself. I would go and push them every day at practice, constantly tell them they were doing great, and to keep pushing because the rewards after would feel amazing. I was asked to be a captain and I was so blessed. I knew that this position was going to help me so much to become that successful leader I wanted to be. It also meant that I had to keep up my endurance and do the best I could everyday to be the role model to my girls. Near the end of my high school track experience my coach decided that he wasn't going to participate in a lot of the junior varsity meets unless varsity was there. I decided that it was my job as a captain to step up and go and coach the girls that were running. Every girl needs a coach to help her out during a race because it is actually very strategic. So, I was that coach. I took work off for all of their meets and made it work for my schedule. It was hard at times but I was the girl they looked up to and I wanted to do it.
Other then the trials of moving my schedule around to work with the junior varsity girls, I had many other problems while running. I was injured multiple times and it was really hard for me. I pulled my groin twice and coming back from that it still hurts to workout but I ran through it. I also injured my I.T. bands, which are by your knees. Being injured I knew how to help the other girls that got injured in the same way. They could come to me and as what to do if they were injured. That was awesome that they could come to me. The last major injury, that I had got during my junior year after the track season was over, was the hardest thing I have ever went through. I had to get surgery on my foot because I had frostbite between my toes on my left foot. I was out all summer and through my senior year of cross country. I wasn't sure if I could run track and it was heart breaking. I learned during this time that I need to make sure that I realize what are my blessings in my life and be grateful for them. when they are gone they are gone. When my foot finally was healed I got to run track my senior year and I was so blessed to be able to live my dream again.
In conclusion, I have learned that running has shaped me to be the women that I am today. It has taught me to work hard, overcome challenges, become a leader as well as a coach, and don't take things for granted. I will be forever thankful for the things I got to accomplish through track. I am an amazing women today and I am so happy to have the opportunities I received through running.
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What Are Extracurricular Activities and Why Do They Matter?
“What kind of extracurricular activities have you been involved in?” It’s a question you’ll surely be asked during the college admissions process. Your answer can have a big impact on getting accepted to certain colleges and universities, and even being awarded merit-based scholarships. Keep reading to learn what extracurriculars are and why they matter!
What exactly are extracurricular activities?
Extracurriculars are how high school students productively spend their time outside of the classroom. Some students play sports or join school clubs, while others perform community service or work part-time jobs. Before we dive into the importance of extracurriculars, let’s cover the basics.
What qualifies as an extracurricular activity?
On paper, high school students are some of the busiest people on the planet. It can be overwhelming for students to balance school, homework, and their personal life while also finding the time to fit in extracurricular activities.
The good news is that almost anything you are productively involved in outside of the classroom can be considered an extracurricular activity. According to the Common App, extracurricular activities “include arts, athletics, clubs, employment, personal commitments, and other pursuits.”
Below are some examples of popular extracurriculars:
Playing on one of your school sports teams is one of the most effective ways to show involvement. However, extramural sports and community leagues are also available for students looking to play sports not offered at their local high school.
Community service or volunteer work can be performed locally, on a national scale, or even abroad. Wherever community service occurs, there are a variety of ways to get involved. This includes animal rescue, church outreach, mentoring or tutoring, and charity work.
The list here is endless, but engineering, film, poetry, writing, physics, journalism, and math are just a few examples of school clubs. Remember, if there’s no clubs at your high school that suit your interests, you can even start a club of your own! There are also clubs available outside of school that are already formed such as a book club or a sports club.
Taking on a part-time job or internship during your high school career can speak volumes about your character.
Hobbies / Special Interest
These are groups that your school or local community supports. Some examples are Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Horticulture Club, Equestrian Club, and Entrepreneurship Club.
Personal commitments can include caring for a younger sibling or elderly relative to significant family responsibilities. While these may not fit into a traditional box like playing a sport or joining a club, they are important and should be shared as an activity.
Some activities, such as research, are at the intersection between extracurricular involvement and academics. These types of activities are a great way for students to emphasize their academic interests and get a taste for more focused scholarship in a particular discipline. For instance, membership in an Honor Society at your school can highlight your academic ability and act as an extracurricular activity as well.
As you can tell, there are endless opportunities for high school students to productively spend their time outside of the classroom. And remember, time outside of the classroom includes time spent during school breaks or while on summer vacation! So if you were a summer camp counselor on your summer vacation, definitely include that as an extracurricular activity.
Why do extracurricular activities matter?
We all know that colleges and universities seek academically gifted students who have proven they can excel in the classroom. Of course, grades and test scores are a great way to get noticed by admissions officers. At almost every college, grades and test scores are going to be the primary factor for making admissions decisions. However, colleges and universities also care about how students spend their time outside of academics.
Along with essays, a student’s demonstrated interest , counselor and teacher recommendations , and class rank , extracurricular activities are among the most important admission factors.
As such, it’s critical for high school students to be strategic about their extracurricular involvement. Extracurricular activities are an excellent way for students to demonstrate who they are beyond their grades and test scores.
Admissions committees aren’t as concerned about the actual activity as much as what the activity says about the student’s character. When it comes to evaluating applicants, colleges and universities look for three specific qualities often demonstrated through extracurriculars: passion, leadership, and impact.
Admissions officers usually notice passion in the amount of time students have dedicated to an activity and how they are involved in it. For instance, a student who has spent four years playing high school baseball, two of which as team captain, likely has more passion for this activity than a student who attended weekly yearbook club meetings for half a semester.
Obviously, being the president of a school club or the captain of a sports team is a clear way to demonstrate leadership. But for students who don’t attain an official title, there are more subtle ways to prove yourself as a leader. For instance, if your art club doesn’t have enough money to buy new supplies, consider organizing a fundraiser to demonstrate your commitment and initiative.
Colleges and universities not only want to see that you’ve participated, but that you’ve had an impact as well. Taking the initiative to improve extracurricular activities for the better demonstrates that you have the ability to make a significant investment in something over time.
The bottom line is that admissions committees want to know what extracurriculars say about a student’s character. In order to demonstrate their interests, students should get involved in activities they genuinely care about
See also : Free summer programs for high school students
Do all colleges and universities evaluate extracurricular activities the same way?
The short answer is no. The extent to which extracurricular activities affect the strength of your application depends on the school. Differences in class sizes, student populations, and admissions requirements affect how much emphasis is on extracurricular activities by admissions committees.
Here’s a breakdown of how different types of schools evaluate extracurricular activities:
Large, less competitive public universities
Large public universities with higher acceptance rates usually do not place a tremendous amount of weight on extracurricular activities. These schools, especially large state schools, receive tens of thousands of applications each year. They are unable to devote a lot of time and attention to evaluating every single applicant.
Keep in mind that many larger less selective public universities rely more heavily on GPA and standardized test scores when evaluating applicants. However, extracurricular activities do have a significant impact at large public universities when it comes to the merit scholarship selection process.
Large, competitive public universities
Internationally-renowned public universities like University of Michigan and UNC Chapel Hill generally are very selective in their admissions process. Admitted students are involved in extracurricular activities and typically hold leadership roles in at least some of them. While extracurriculars play a considerable role in the application process for large, competitive public schools, it’s to a lesser degree than smaller private schools.
Less competitive private colleges
Private schools typically do not receive tens of thousands of applications like the majority of public universities. This means they have time to take a holistic approach when evaluating applications. Admissions committees examine not only an applicant’s grades and scores, but also essays, extracurricular activities, and recommendations in great detail.
Students applying to less competitive private schools do not necessarily need outstanding extracurriculars for admittance. However, they should know that their activities are nearly as important as their grades and test scores.
Competitive private universities
Extracurricular activities matter a great deal for students applying to competitive private schools like Harvard , Princeton , and Stanford . These schools receive a high volume of applicants – nearly all of which are arguably qualified for a spot. Therefore, admissions officers rely on “soft” admissions criteria such as extracurricular activities and essays to differentiate students from each other.
How to tell how a college considers extracurricular activities in the admissions process
Nearly every American college will report something called the Common Data Set which is an initiative that aims to “improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student’s transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.”
One of the great things about the Common Data Set is that colleges report how they weigh various admission criteria. Here we can see the admissions factors in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Common Data Set :
We see that extracurricular activities are considered one of the “Very Important” factors that the university admissions office uses when evaluating applicants.
Finding the Common Data Set for every college can be a bit tricky, so we suggest just type in “[Name of Specific College] Common Data Set” into your favorite search engine.
Also read: What’s the difference between private and public university
How should students approach extracurricular activities?
Every student finds their own path when it comes to exploring their interests and involvement in extracurricular activities. The following suggestions may be helpful for students who aren’t sure where to start.
The first year of high school is a great time to explore different activities and find out what is worth pursuing. It’s a good idea to try four to six different activities and determine which ones you find the most enjoyable. However, remember to maintain your grades and keep academics your first priority!
By your sophomore year, you should narrow your activities to a select few that you are genuinely enjoying. Remember that the key is to prioritize depth over breadth. In other words, devote your time to two or three activities that you can become deeply involved in. This is better than spreading yourself so thin that you’re having little impact in any of your activities.
Junior and senior year
By this point in your high school career, you’ve hopefully found at least one or two extracurricular activities that you’re passionate about. Now is the time to focus more on leadership and impact by considering how you can change these activities for the better.
Remember to not take on too much…
Throughout your time in high school, remember to avoid putting too much on your plate. High school can be a stressful time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to step back and drop a few activities. Extracurriculars are an important part of your applications, but at the end of the day, your mental health is most valuable.
Learn more: Do colleges use weighted or unweighted GPA
Should students join extracurriculars just to impress colleges?
Remember, extracurricular activities do not exist for the sole purpose of standing out on college applications. Sure, during an admissions interview it’s valuable to be able to talk about how you joined your high school’s robotics club and tripled its membership during your time as president. Keep in mind that extracurriculars are also a crucial part of becoming a well-rounded young adult.
There’s a lot of pressure on high school students to be at the top of their game. That is why it’s important for extracurricular activities to be a joy instead of an obligation. Just be sure to follow your passions, and the rest tends to fall into place.
Remember, colleges are looking for passion, leadership, and involvement when it comes to extracurricular activities. Therefore, joining one last minute for your college application might not be your best bet. Extracurricular activities are just one part of your application, so don’t panic.
Also read: How to respond to the Additional Information section of the Common App
What if my high school doesn’t offer a lot of activities?
Every high school offers different opportunities. If you are attending a high school that offers few clubs, sports, or creative opportunities, do not worry! Admissions officers will always evaluate students in the context of their high school. This means that they will not count it against an applicant if their school doesn’t offer a wide variety of options for students.
With that said, students still have opportunities for self-directed involvement such as independent activities, volunteering, or personal projects. At the end of the day, college admissions officers want to see that students have spent their out-of-school time in meaningful and constructive ways.
Next steps: How to complete the Common App activities section
- Extracurriculars are how high school students productively spend their time outside of the classroom, and can include clubs, hobbies, sports, volunteering, working at a job, and more
- Colleges and universities look for three specific qualities demonstrated through extracurriculars: passion, leadership, and impact
- Private colleges and universities place more emphasis on extracurricular activities
- During freshman and sophomore year, explore your interests, and then focus on a few activities that you can demonstrate leadership in
- If your school does not have much to offer in the way of extracurricular activities, take advantage of the situation and either start a club or find other ways to meaningfully utilize your free time!
Frequently asked questions about extracurricular activities
How do i pick an extracurricular activity, should i stay in the same extracurricular activity in college, will extracurricular activities affect my academic performance, scholarships360 recommended.
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Scholarship Essay Writing
Scholarship Essay Prompts
Most Popular Scholarship Essay Prompts & Questions
12 min read
Published on: May 16, 2023
Last updated on: Jul 20, 2023
People also read
Scholarship Essay - A Complete Writing Guide
Winning Scholarship Essay Examples for Students: Tips Included
Scholarship Essay Format - A Complete Guide
Share this article
Are you dreaming of a scholarship that could help you achieve your academic goals? The good news is that you're not alone, and we're here to make the process a little less intimidating.
Don't know where to start? No worries! We've got you covered with this guide on how to tackle the most common scholarship essay prompts. By the end, you'll be able to confidently share your unique story, stand out from the crowd, and win the scholarship of your dreams.
So, let's dive into the world of scholarship essays and show the judges why you deserve that financial support!
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Popular Colleges Scholarship Prompts We Cover
In this article, we provide you with the best and most commonly used essay prompts for the following colleges.
- College scholarship essay prompts
- Robertson scholarship essay prompts
- Park scholarship essay prompts
- Vanderbilt scholarship essay prompts
- Easy scholarship essay prompts
- UCLA alumni scholarship essay prompts
- Gilman scholarship essay prompts
- Johnson scholarship essay prompts
Feel free to choose any and start writing your scholarship essay or personal statement and show the admission committee why you indeed deserve the financial aid. Make sure to follow the proper scholarship essay format when you are answering these questions.
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Current Scholarship Essay Prompts- 2023
- Discuss a current global issue and explain how you would propose a solution to address it.
- Describe a personal experience that influenced your decision to pursue a particular field of study.
- How have you overcome a significant challenge in your life, and how has it impacted your personal growth?
- Share a time when you demonstrated leadership and the impact it had on those around you.
- Discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in today's society and how you have contributed to promoting these values.
- Describe your career aspirations and how you plan to achieve them.
- Discuss a book, movie, or other piece of media that has had a significant impact on your life and explain why.
- Share a time when you had to work with someone with a different perspective or background, and how you navigated those differences.
- Discuss a community service project you have participated in and the impact it had on the community.
- Explain the importance of financial literacy and how you plan to manage your finances in the future.
List of Best College Scholarship Essay Prompts
Here are the most common scholarship essay question examples that you can find on most college applications in the US.
- Tell us about yourself.
- How will this scholarship help you?
- Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
- How will you make a difference in our world?
- Describe a volunteer experience?
- Why do you need this scholarship?
- Describe a challenge you have overcome.
- Who do you admire the most?
- Why do you deserve this scholarship?
- Briefly describe your short- and long-term goals.
- What are your academic and future goals?
- Tell us about a time when you had failed in something.
- What makes you unique?
- Does any quality or attribute distinguish you from others?
- What are your most important extracurricular activities?
- What is your biggest strength and weakness?
- What are your greatest accomplishments?
- What are your strongest personality traits?
- How has your education contributed to who you are today?
- What is your most prominent achievement, and how does it relate to your field of study?
Additional Scholarship Essay Prompts
- Describe a time when you had to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. What did you learn from the experience?
- How have your experiences with diversity and inclusivity shaped your perspective and goals?
- What motivates you to pursue your academic and career goals, and how do you stay focused on them?
- Describe a moment when you faced adversity and how you overcame it.
- How have your family, cultural background, or community influenced your values and beliefs?
- Discuss a book, movie, or event that has impacted your life and explain why.
- What is the most significant challenge facing your generation, and what solutions would you propose to address it?
- Describe a time when you collaborated with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience?
- What impact do you hope to make in your chosen field or industry, and how will this scholarship help you achieve that goal?
Describe a mentor or role model who has inspired you and explain why.
General Scholarship Essay Topics
Here are some more random scholarship essay topics that you can choose from
- A person who has a major influence on your life
- Things you have done outside of the classroom that has demonstrated your skills
- Have you struggled for something and succeeded?
- What leadership qualities do you have?
- Why do you want to be a ___?
- How do you define leadership?
- Describe the importance of a good teammate?
- What do you expect to gain from a college degree?
- What does success means to you?
- A book that has affected you deeply
The 16 Most Popular Scholarship Questions
We have compiled a list of the 16 most popular scholarship questions and how to effectively address them. Letâs take a look!
1. Career How will this scholarship help you achieve your career goals?
When addressing this prompt, discuss your future career aspirations and how the scholarship will support your academic and professional pursuits. Highlight any relevant experiences, skills, or certifications that will contribute to your success.
2. Catch-All Why do you deserve this scholarship?
This prompt allows you to discuss your overall qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the scholarship. Discuss your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, and future goals.
3. Challenges Discuss a personal or academic challenge you have overcome and how it has shaped you.
When addressing this prompt, be honest and open about a challenge you have faced and how you have overcome it. Highlight any lessons or skills you have gained from overcoming this challenge.
4. Champion Who is a person that has influenced you and why?
When addressing this prompt, discuss a person who has had a significant impact on your life and why. Highlight how their influence has shaped your personal or academic pursuits.
5. Change How will you make a positive impact in your community with the help of this scholarship?
When addressing this prompt, discuss your future community service goals and how the scholarship will support these efforts. Highlight any past community service experiences that demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact.
6. Character How have your personal values and beliefs influenced your academic pursuits?
When addressing this prompt, discuss your personal values and beliefs and how they have influenced your academic and career goals. Highlight any experiences or achievements that demonstrate your character and commitment to your values.
7. Classroom How will you contribute to the academic community at your future college or university?
When addressing this prompt, discuss how you plan to contribute to the academic community at your future college or university. Highlight any academic or leadership experiences that demonstrate your potential to make a positive impact.
8. College Why have you chosen this particular college or university and how will this scholarship support your academic goals there?
When addressing this prompt, discuss why you have chosen your particular college or university and how the scholarship will support your academic pursuits. Highlight any relevant experiences or goals that align with the college or university's mission or values.
9. Committee Composition What unique perspective do you bring to the scholarship selection committee?
When addressing this prompt, discuss your unique experiences, skills, or background that you believe will contribute to the scholarship selection committee. Highlight any achievements or experiences that demonstrate your potential to make a positive impact.
10. Community How have you contributed to your local community and how will this scholarship support your future community service efforts?
When addressing this prompt, discuss any past community service experiences and how they have made a positive impact. Highlight any future community service goals and how the scholarship will support these efforts.
11. Competition How have you demonstrated your competitive spirit and drive for success?
When addressing this prompt, discuss any academic or extracurricular achievements that demonstrate your competitive spirit and drive for success. Highlight any leadership roles or experiences that demonstrate your potential for future success.
12. Contribution How will you contribute to your field of study through research or other academic pursuits? When addressing this prompt, discuss any research or academic goals you have for your field of study. Highlight any past academic or research experiences that demonstrate your potential to make a positive impact.
13. Control How have you taken control of your academic or personal life and achieved success?
When addressing this prompt, discuss any personal or academic challenges you have faced and how you have taken control of your life to achieve success. Highlight any skills or lessons you have gained from these experiences.
14. Creative How have you used your creativity to solve a problem or make a positive impact?
When addressing this prompt, discuss any experiences or achievements where you have used your creativity to make a positive impact. Highlight any problem-solving skills or unique approaches you have taken to achieve success.
15. Credentials How do your academic credentials and achievements make you a strong candidate for this scholarship?
When addressing this prompt, discuss your academic achievements and credentials that make you a strong candidate for the scholarship. Highlight any honors, awards, or certifications that demonstrate your academic excellence.
16. Culture How have your cultural experiences and background influenced your academic pursuits and goals?
When addressing this prompt, discuss how your cultural experiences and background have shaped your academic pursuits and goals. Highlight any experiences or achievements that demonstrate your unique perspective and potential to make a positive impact in your field of study.
How to Address Scholarship Essay Prompts?
Below you can find some of the most common scholarship questions and tips to answer them. Keep in mind these guidelines while answering the scholarship essay topic of your choice.
Your answers should show that you have a plan for your future and are serious about it. The scholarship committee wants to see that their money is going to someone who has the necessary drive, so don't be shy with what you say.
There's a competition going on - one that you can't afford to lose when your future is at stake. You need to stand out, and the best way to do it is by addressing any weakness with an answer like âI currently have limited knowledge in this area, but I will be able to make up for my lack of experience through diligent study.â These scholarship committees look for applicants who show potential rather than people who already know everything about what they want from life.
It is very important to show the scholarship committee that you are passionate about your goals and ambitions. This will help them decide who they offer scholarships to, so it makes sense to take this question seriously.
While it is impossible to paint a complete image of your entire life in such a short time, you can give an overview of the information about your life that matters most with this scholarship.
To answer this question, show you have a serious plan for the future through education.
Maintaining a strong GPA throughout college is not enough; scholarship committees want more than just an educated student. They also want someone who will use their degree in ways that correspond with it. You'll have some tough competition when trying to prove yourself as a deserving candidate. So, make sure you are realistic about what types of goals and plans can realistically be achieved by going back to school or taking on another graduate program at one university.
This common scholarship essay question is a perfect way to share your thoughts about the importance of community service.
This prompt allows applicants to discuss what they have learned by doing this work and why more students should participate so that communities everywhere will improve.
Tips for Writing an Effective Scholarship Essay
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when writing your scholarship essay:
- Address the Prompt: One of the most important things you can do when writing your scholarship essay is to address the prompt directly. Make sure you understand what the prompt is asking you to write about, and focus your essay on that topic.
- Be Concise: Scholarship essays often have strict word limits, so it's important to be concise and to the point. Make sure every sentence in your essay serves a purpose and contributes to your overall argument.
- Focus on Personal Experiences: Scholarship committees want to get to know you as a person. Thats why it's important to share personal experiences and stories in your essay. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points for the scholarship.
- Edit and Proofread: Once you've written your essay, take the time to edit and proofread it carefully. Look for typos, grammatical errors and make sure your essay flows smoothly and is easy to read.
Other Scholarship Questions
Here are some scholarship essay prompts with answers in the form of PDF samples:
Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?
Describe a Challenge You Have Faced and How You Overcame It
Who Has Been The Biggest Influence in Your Life, and Why?
How Will You Use Your Education to Make a Positive Impact on Society?
Remember, it's not easy to predict every scholarship essay question. But trying out an AI essay generator can give you an advantage in your application
If you're still not sure where to start or if your essay needs some expert help, CollegeEssay.org is here for you.
We offer a top-notch essay writing service that can provide you with an impressive high school or college essay. Our service is the best and only option you need for all your scholarship essay needs.
Contact us today to receive expert guidance on how to succeed and win. Don't hesitate, connect with our scholarship essay writing service now!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a scholarship essay be.
Scholarship essays are usually about 500 words or one page long. If you can't find the information about the word or page limit for the essay, it's usually safe to stick to 500 words or one page.
Do scholarship essays need a title?
You can also include a title for your scholarship essay if you want, but this is usually unnecessary.
Is it okay to lie on a scholarship essay?
Scholarships are a great way to save money for college, but lying about your academic achievements could result in serious consequences.
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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.
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Scholarship Essay Topics
As an undergraduate student, you certainly know the difficulty earning scholarship points. However, with our bright scholarship essay topics, you will easily forget about your troubles. Now you can learn how to write a scholarship essay . You can also learn how to best follow the required scholarship essay format. So, if you are in dire straits of academic writing and don’t know how to start a scholarship essay, our topics will save you from troubles. We understand that few students are lucky to receive research grants or obtain scholarship from the university of their dreams. However, no one says that you cannot accomplish the same task! Time has come for you to become a real success. Use our 25 scholarship paper topics to improve your scholarship chances and pursue an excellent academic career.
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25 Unmatched Topics for a Scholarship Essay
- How did I become a dedicated and passionate student? What experiences have persuaded me that I have to continue my education?
- How I became a school policymaker and changed the atmosphere in my classroom, making it more favorable for learning (you can use this topic to build your scholarship essay prompts and later transform them into a top notch essay).
- How I graduated from college, while living beyond the poverty line.
- How I became a school entrepreneur and earned my first $1,000.
- How I decided to devote a year of my life to traveling and exposed myself to a diversity of unique cultures around the globe.
- How I left my comfort zone and started a new life at the edge of success.
- Why scholarships are unfair to students but why they still need them to become a success in life.
- Why modern students have considerable college debts and whether scholarship is the best solution to students’ financial problems.
- Growing up in a military family, I realized the value of discipline early in life. Now I am ready to use the learning provided by my family to succeed in my college studies.
- I have accumulated vast experiences, while being a foreign volunteer. However, I still believe that the whole life is ahead of me.
- I am certain that every person should have a dream, no matter how impossible it may seem. It is dreaming that motivates us to move forward and achieve the most ambitious goals (writing a scholarship essay can be a revelation for any applicant, who chooses this topic).
- Why I believe that my decision to go to college will help resolve some of the most pressing global issues (this is one of the most difficult scholarship essay topics on this list).
- Who were my role models and how did they influence my life?
- How struggling to find a full-time job has taught me to be particularly selective in my career and academic decisions.
- How being in foster care gave me a unique opportunity to live a full life.
- Why I decided to become a foreign volunteer and why I think most students are not suitable for this kind of activity.
- Why I believe my parents to be the key driver behind my academic and career successes.
- Why I am certain that being a military person is desirable and important for everyone (if you like this topic but don’t know where to start, ask Writer-Elite.com for help).
- Why I think I would never become a volunteer in my profession. The hidden dangers of volunteering and its global promise to future generations.
- How winning scholarship will empower me to fight financial and gender discrimination in our society.
- How being a nurse has changed my perceptions of the world.
- What in my opinion is the most important thing about diversity and why it benefits college students.
- Why do I want to become a nurse researcher? Why not mathematics or physics?
- How I found myself being actively involved in scientific research and why I can no longer imagine my life without it.
- How being a scientist can become an eye-opening experience and why everyone has equal chances to succeed in science disciplines.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, no extracurricular activities here's what you should do.
College Admissions , Extracurriculars
Extracurricular activities are one of the most important parts of your college application. After your test scores and grades, they are the best way for a college to get to know more about you and to understand what kind of student you might be on campus.
But what if you have no extracurricular activities? Is all hope lost?
Read on to find out why things might not be as bad as they seem and what you can do to make up for not having extracurriculars.
The extracurricular activity section on the Common Application is one of the most confusing for students because they don't know what does and doesn't count as an extracurricular activity . If you haven't been elected class president and aren't on a varsity team, how are you supposed to fill up those ten spaces?
What if you have no extracurriculars?
In this article, I'll show you:
- How to determine if you actually have any extracurricular activities
- The reasons many myths about extracurricular activities are false
- Strategies to compensate for a lack of extracurricular activities, at every grade level
- When it's okay not to have extracurricular activities
Do You Really Have No Extracurriculars?
The first step is to determine if you actually have zero extracurricular activities.
Most students actually have a few, but they just haven't realized it.
Extracurricular activities can be almost anything you've done outside of the classroom that doesn't count for school credit.
Ideally, these things will also be something you're interested in—even passionate about. The ideal is that over the course of your four years of high school, you will have explored different interests, developed them, and then decided to dedicate significant amounts of time to an activity.
College admissions officers like to see these kinds of activities because they say a lot about what makes you tick, and what kind of person you are when you're committed to something. You can also show certain "intangible" qualities through your activities, such as leadership and the ability to follow through on something.
Many students who think that they don't have any extracurricular activities actually do, but they don't think of their activities as "real" extracurriculars.
To see if you have an extracurricular (or two!), sit down and make a list of the following:
- How do you spend your time at school during lunch? Do you ever participate in groups at your high school, specific activities with your friends (like an intramural sport or a magic club), or interact with other students in a productive way, such as through tutoring?
- What do you do after school? Have you ever volunteered in the community or at your school? Do you have a job? Do you go straight home? If so, what do you do when you get there? Do you help look after your siblings or otherwise contribute to the house?
- What did you do last summer? Did you take any classes that weren't required for school? Did you join a club or play a non-school sport? Did you have a job?
- What is your favorite hobby? Do you like anything unconventional, like playing the bagpipes? Or do you have more popular interests, like knitting, skiing or other activities that you do in your free time?
Good news. If you can think of anything that you have spent a significant amount of time doing for a worthwhile reason, it can probably be counted as an extracurricular activity.
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Can Anything Be an Extracurricular Activity?
Unfortunately, not everything counts as an extracurricular.
For example, if you have really spent all of your free time sitting in front of the television after school, and spent your summer playing video games, hanging out at the mall, or lounging by your country club's pool, you can't list those as extracurricular activities.
But at the same time, the list of things that do count as extracurriculars is a lot longer than people may think.
Some students end up feeling discouraged because they buy into myths about what is and is not a valid activity.
Extracurriculars have to be sponsored by your school.
Extracurricular activities can be almost anything you are productively dedicated to. It can be an activity in your school, in your community, a nationwide group, or something that you find online. The key is that you get actively involved and make an impact with your involvement.
Organizing a community festival and participating in a city orchestra do count as extracurricular activities!
I don't have any extracurriculars because I work or help out at home.
Colleges also consider these kinds of activities to be extracurriculars and want to hear about them. Colleges understand that not all students have the luxury—being time or money—to participate in traditional activities because they have to help out at home or get a job. These count as very valid ways of spending your time.
If this is the kind of activity you are involved in, you should try to think about how you have made an impact on your family and how these activities have impacted you. For example, you are likely a lot more responsible than the average high school student, and you probably have had to learn good time management skills.
Many jobs will also allow you to take on roles where you can showcase your leadership and creativity—so be on the outlook for those kinds of opportunities if work is going to be your main extracurricular!
Tutoring your younger siblings at home after school or working at the local hardware shop to help bring in money for your family do count as extracurricular activities.
Extracurriculars can't be academic.
There are many extracurriculars that are related to academic activities. If you have written for a literary publication, joined a competitive math team, or have worked with a local community college professor on a science experiment, these all count as extracurricular activities.
In fact, these sorts of activities are often highly regarded because they show a passion for an area of study. These are especially valuable activities if you are planning on pursuing something similar in college.
Doing your homework does not count as an extracurricular activity.
Writing for a literary publication and competing in a science competition do count as extracurricular activities.
I spend all my time gaming/blogging/shopping/on social media, so I don't have any extracurriculars.
Sometimes even things that traditionally shouted "lazy student" can be morphed into college-worthy extracurricular activities. Blogging and social media are both professional pursuits. If you can show that you are dedicated to digital communication and you have made an impact in the online community—for example, you have dedicated yourself to writing a tech help blog, or a YouTube channel about makeup—you can count it as an extracurricular.
In fact, someone at my college had few extracurriculars in high school apart from making what was, at the time, the most popular Harry Potter fan website. Over the course of four years in high school, what had started as a small website had grown to be a massively successful business where he connected people around the world over a shared passion.
Similarly, things like shopping can be leveraged into a fashion interest, and gamers now have tournaments and other communal outlets. If your interests seem similar to these sorts of things, try to see what you can do to take your passion beyond you sitting alone in a room and turn it into something that allows you to inspire or teach others.
Playing video games at home alone or with friends does not count as an extracurricular activity.
Starting a gaming club at school and organizing a gaming tournament for charity do count as an extracurricular activity.
My passion involves only me , so it doesn't count as an extracurricular.
While it's true that the most successful college applicants will usually have some sort of connection with the wider world—through volunteer work or participation in group activities— not all extracurriculars need to involve many people.
If you have dedicated a lot of time over the years to developing a talent, such as art or playing a musical instrument, this also counts as an extracurricular activity.
Taking singing classes does count as an extracurricular activity.
I'm getting paid , so it doesn't count.
As I've already stated, colleges are very interested to hear about the activities of students who have to work to help support themselves and their families. But other students who are not financially strapped also choose to get jobs.
Even if you don't need to work, it can be a good reflection of your personality if you choose to work in high school. Try to pursue something related to your future interests. Some students may also choose to do an internship over the summer, and this can be a great addition to your extracurricular list. If you go down this route, try to make sure that the job or internship you choose is something that is going to allow you to develop responsibility, teamwork, and leadership skills, and explore an area that you will be interested in pursuing either in college or professionally.
Of course, if you choose to work when you don't have to, it can take time away from other activities. Is it the right choice for you? Read out article on getting a job as a teenager to see.
Doing a paid summer internship with a tech company does count as an extracurricular activity.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that count as extracurriculars. But what if you really have nothing at all that counts as an extracurricular?
What If You Really Have No Extracurriculars?
The answer to this question largely depends on how far along you are in high school.
If You're a Freshman or a Sophomore…
You're in luck! You have a lot of time to develop your extracurricular list. If you are a freshman, I would recommend trying a lot of different activities to see what interests you most. By sophomore year, you ideally should have some sort of idea about what interests you, and you should start to narrow your focus to just those activities.
As you get older, it's important to start showing dedication to a few different activities that you are passionate about. It's even better if you can show leadership and growth in your activities.
If You're a Junior…
At this stage, you are running out of time.
Many college admissions officers will think that if someone who has previously had no activities start to join a bunch of activities in their junior year, that they are just doing it for college applications as opposed to doing it to develop a passion or to explore a real interest.
However, starting something in your junior year is still infinitely better than doing nothing at all.
Narrow your focus to one or two activities and get as involved as your schedule will allow.
Try to take on leadership responsibilities as soon as possible, and work hard to make a difference in whatever activity or organization you choose to join. Try to complete specific, quantifiable goals that show that you have left the organization better than you found it. For example, run a membership drive and take note of how many new members you can persuade to join a club, or organize a fundraiser and keep track of how much money you make.
Ideally, choose an activity that you will be able to continue into college. The Common App has a place for you to mark if you are interested in continuing your activities into college. If you can genuinely answer "yes" to this question, you will come across as more interested in your chosen activity and appear less like someone who just took up an activity to have something to put on your application. (Remember, you should never lie on your application, even about something as seemingly harmless about your intention to continue with an activity.)
In your college application (in the "Additional Information section" or in an essay, if appropriate), you may want to address why you started your activities late in your high school career, and what you managed to contribute and learn through the activities you started your junior year.
If You're a Senior…
Unfortunately, if you have spent your entire high school career genuinely doing no extracurriculars, you've hurt your chances of getting into many schools.
While college admissions officers realize that students can't do everything—and in fact, it's better if you don't try to do everything— your application will be much less competitive because you have chosen to do nothing.
At this point, I would recommend two things:
Firstly, focus on your test scores and application essays. Many less competitive schools will accept students based just off of grades and test scores. If you are already a senior, there's not much you can do about your grades (it's a bit late to turn a 2.0 into a 4.0)—but you can definitely impress with a top SAT or ACT score.
Similarly, sometimes students can really sway an admission committee's opinion with a fantastic essay that shows strong passion for something. Though you won't be able to back up this passion with an extracurricular, your essays are now the best way you have to express who you are as a person, what kind of college student you will become, and what your goals and interests are for the future.
Also keep in mind that grades still matter in senior year. Don't slack!
Secondly, start doing an extracurricular activity now. Choose one that you can be very involved in over the course of senior year and in which you can make a real impact (again, make this a quantifiable one where you can actually list what you have achieved). If you wait until the application deadline for most schools, this will give you 5 months of an activity. While that's not great, it's better than nothing, especially if you can show how you've made a difference and how it has changed you.
Continue doing the activity for the rest of your senior year. If you end up appealing a rejection in the spring, it will work in your favor to have continued the activity.
What Should You Not Do?
Don't lie on your application. If you've chosen to not do anything outside of the classroom, then you shouldn't try to fix that with dishonesty. If your colleges find out, they may decide to rescind any offers they made based on who you misrepresented yourself to be.
Instead, make sure that you present yourself as you are, and talk about your future goals and passions in your essays.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Of course, there are always some exceptions.
If you haven't developed any extracurricular activities because you experienced exceptional hardships throughout high school that prevented you from participating, you should make this very obvious on your application in the "Additional Information" section.
College admissions officers will appreciate your openness in discussing why you couldn't participate in what otherwise is a very important part of the high school experience.
Check out our list of extracurricular activities if you need inspiration for an activity to choose.
If you've realized that you do have extracurriculars, check out our guide for how to write about extracurriculars on your college application .
Getting ready to write those essays? Learn the basics of the personal statement .
If your extracurricular list is weak, focus on your test scores. Here's how to score perfectly on the SAT and ACT .
Struggling to write about extracurriculars on your college application? Check out our in-depth guide to crafting a compelling narrative about your extracurriculars. Read it for free now:
Mary Ann holds a BA in Classics and Russian from the University of Notre Dame, and an MA from University College London. She has years of tutoring experience and is also passionate about travel and learning languages.
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I believe that extracurricular activities are a crucial aspect of life. Life must be multidimensional and offer the individual a number of activities to enrich one’s life. I have several extracurricular activities. One of my favorites is a sport that I regularly engage in: table tennis. I find this form of the sport to be particularly interesting. I began playing it as a young child and have never stopped. While it does not appear to be as popular as regular tennis, I find it to be relaxing and enjoyable. There is, of course, also an element of competition to it. There are times when I have played competitively with it. Other times, however, I simply enjoy a nice, relaxing game of it with my family and my friends. I have a table tennis set in my house for me to practice and to play with my friends. Many of my friends also have developed a significant interest in it as well.
My summers have been quite busy. During 2012, I attended a two week sleep-away camp. The title was “Legacy: A Step Camp Experience.” It really was an experience! It gave me a greater understanding of who I am as a person and how I can use this to leave my mark on the world. I believe it will be one of the most formative experiences of my life. It emphasized diversity within New York society. We visited a number of different religious places of worship to understand how all of these influence society. I also went on vacation to India. In this experience, I did community service. I donated clothes to an orphanage, served meals and spent time with the children.
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In 2013, I attended a three week sleep-away camp; this focused on improving my leadership skills and fostering a greater sense of family. I learned that giving back is not optional; rather, it is our human responsibility. I spent the rest of the summer preparing for my SATs. I also completed several college applications. I believe this helped me to be better prepared for my junior year.
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