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High school students who are absolutely sure they’re college-bound often find themselves not-so-sure about what extracurricular activities to pursue. What will look best on their college application? This is supposedly important because it helps college admission officers understand your personality in a way that grades and test scores cannot define.

Do you have to play a sport to get into a good college? If you’re after a law degree, should you make sure you’ve spent a few high school years on the debate team? Whether you’re planning to get a college degree or pursue a career in the trades after a much shorter and less expensive certification or community college degree…there’s something you need to know about extracurricular activities. It doesn’t really matter.

Insight

Later in life, you’ll have a resume. Future employers will look at it and get an idea of your capabilities and potential. If it matters at all to a college or trade school, an admissions official might look at your extracurricular activities in the same way – but just to get a better idea of who you are.

Extracurricular activities communicate aspects of your personality which show where you want to grow. They can help demonstrate potential in three key areas:

  1. Passion: Choose extracurricular activities because they reflect what you care about. It helps people understand what truly interests you because you’ll have dedicated a significant amount of your free time to them.
  2. Leadership: No matter what extracurricular activity you choose, you’ll show you’ve got leadership capabilities when you volunteer or are elected to head projects, or even be a team captain. Not everyone wants to lead, so this is one way you can show you’ve got the chops for it.
  3. Impact: It’s one thing to join a group associated with an extracurricular activity. It’s another thing to change it for the better. Admissions officers from any post-secondary institution are looking for evidence that you understand the importance of improving the world around you.

It’s Okay If You’re Not Sure

No one gets penalized if they don’t have a history of extracurricular activities which give insight into future goals and aspirations. It really does come down to finding something that resonates with you. Is a future plumber wasting his or her time joining the drama club? Perhaps not.

The time spent will help you deepen the interpersonal skills you’ll need to successfully work with customers, so you can empathize with them and offer solutions in their homes or offices.

Select what you’ll do after classes because you find it enjoyable and challenging. It’ll be the right choice. Learn more about choices for careers in the trades here.