Pursue your passions whenever possible. There are countless students out there with excellent grades, excellent test scores, excellent athletics and extracurriculars — what makes you different from them? Have you written a book of poetry? Have you studied butterflies since you were little? Do you jump rope competitively? If so, don’t stop now — keep finding ways to do what you love. Differentiate yourself from all of the other stellar, cookie-cutter applicants. Colleges also want students who take initiative; whether it’s by signing up for courses that interest you at the local community college or starting your own volunteer program or small business, prove to the admissions officers that you’re a leader, not a follower. They want students who will take on active roles on their campuses!
If you aren’t sure what interests you yet, take advantage of opportunities to explore new fields. Think you might be interested in engineering? Sign up for a robotics camp. Inspired by recent environmental policy changes? Find an environmental law class or find an internship in politics. Worst case scenario, you might learn what you DON’T want to do, which is just as helpful — for instance, we see so many students dead set on becoming doctors who volunteer at a hospital and quickly discover they cannot handle the sight of blood. Sure, it might be disappointing, but better now than in your first year of Medical School!
Still not sure what you want to do? Peruse our list of recommended extracurriculars that we — and our students — have been impressed by.