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The Importance of Extracurriculars in College Admissions

Parents already do their best to keep their children busy, whether it be to soothe parents’ anxiety of “what are the kids up to?”, boost academic performance, or make their children more well-rounded. However, what is the true value of extracurricular activities and summer programs to colleges?

What you should know:

On an individual level, students may sign up for extracurricular activities and summer programs to pursue their own interests, meet more people with similar passions, or to boost their resumes. On a larger scale, college admissions officers value students who do these activities, as they demonstrate drive and passion in a person.

With this in mind, it should not be surprising that how involved a student is in an extracurricular activity and the degree of the extracurricular activity in question are also important as well. The most impressive extracurriculars on a resume are usually those on a national or even international level, like earning a National Merit Scholarship, winning international competitions, or attending selective summer programs like the Stanford National Forensic Institute. Other accomplishments, such as achievements in smaller competitions, starting and successfully running clubs and organizations, especially volunteer ones, being elected to student government, and winning local inter-school competitions, while perhaps not on the same scale, are still relatively valuable, while other positions, like club leadership or team captaincy are also still important in terms of showing a student’s commitment to a specific cause.

What to do:

As international students, it is imperative that students are proactive in researching competitions, programs, and achievements. Additionally, it is important that students are engaged in the organizations and other activities that they join. This is not to say that students should only join clubs that they can become a leader in. Realistically, students will only have time to be the captain or leader of one to two clubs or teams at most, and will likely be only members for any other club that they can be a part of. Furthermore, not getting a leadership position isn’t the end of everything; as mentioned before, students can also pursue other extracurricular activities that may be more prestigious and lend more weight in their resumes. In the end, the selection and extent of activities a student may put on their resumes depends on a student’s perseverance, interests, and personality.


Interested in the best strategy for your child in applying for college applications? Dragon Prep offers consulting services to help guide your child’s pre-college process. For more information, call or WhatsApp 9835 8011 or visit


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