The Importance of Extra Curricular / Volunteer Activities for the College-bound Athlete

By Melynda Nash

Juggling sports, academics and community service can lead to quite a hectic schedule for high school students; however, for the college-bound student these days, it is a must.  According to Topunivserities.com, it does not matter what a student chooses as his or her volunteer work or extra-curricular activities, rather they look for how dedicated a student is to their chosen service or club.  93% of universities look at how passionate a student is about what they do.  35% of universities take into consideration the position of responsibilities a student has within their service or club.  I found that the majority of these universities tend to be in the Ivy League.  How you communicate is another skill strongly taken into consideration by universities (93%), so being able to share your passion in writing about what you do is very important.

In surveying several top universities, the following sums up what most schools desire in a student:

University of Texas: Students should be involved in general (community) and school activities. They look for any kind of volunteer work or involvement in the community.  You do not need to hold an office in a school club, but you should be involved in one.

University of Nebraska: Any kind of involvement in the community is accepted. Students are required to write a personal statement and this is where a student can talk about their involvement in the community.

Harvard University: Students should be involved in what is important to them. They need to show a passion for what they do. Any type of volunteer work is acceptable, but it should be something they have a passion for.  Harvard looks for how involved a potential student is in school clubs. Holding an office is preferable. They want to see what kind of leader a student is.

Universities prefer you be consistently involved in one or two issues that you really care about rather than be “somewhat involved” in many issues. “Admissions officers want well-rounded applicants who take their studies seriously, are engaged in a cause or two they are passionate about and are involved in extracurricular activities,” says James Elbaor, head of special projects at DoSomething.org.

Students should start exploring volunteer and school club opportunities toward the end of their freshman year, but it is never too late to become involved!

For ideas about the causes to become involved with go to https://www.dosomething.org/us .