Guidance on Co-curricular Activities, Community Services

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Guidance on Co-curricular Activities, Community Services, and more

At GTU we ensure that students make maximum use of each opportunity to highlight their achievements and skill set to the universities. After all, universities will prefer students who bring certain qualities with themselves which can add value to the class. We have researched extensively through universities' admissions pages and successful students' extracurricular activities who made it to top universities in the US and have come up with our "to-do list" while crafting activity lists.

1. Subtle brag - it's important to let people know of your stand out qualities like leadership, teamwork, empathy, passion, and so on but at the same time ensuring it doesn't come across as too loud or irritating to admissions officers.

2. No activity is irrelevant - while thinking of activities done by you ensure that you include all the activities done in the last 4-5 years. Take help of friends, family members and if required even school counsellors. You never know who might just make you realize of achievement you could not even think of before.

3. Collate and sort - you might be overwhelmed after listing down all the activities since 8th or 9th grade, so sit down & categorise each activity in some order it could be under the same category or yearly or level of importance and so on.

4. Authenticity - I am sure you must have come across several articles where you are just warned to be authentic. Universities are clever enough to make out if you are trying to outsmart them by writing things that probably doesn't bring the real You. Be honest, simple and just put down things that represent your personality in the truest way.

5. Avoid repetitions - understand people who are going to read your activity sheet would be also reading several application related. They are already overburdened with 100s of applications waiting for their glimpse. So you should be including unique activities and avoid repetitions, so as to provide maximum impact and ensure they read all your activities with the same enthusiasm with which they started.

6. Quantify your achievements - the person assessing your application should be able to quantify your activities. So while writing your activities, mention numbers and be specific with regards to your activity. Make it easier for them to read and understand your level of achievement.

Common App Activities Category -
  • Academic - you don't add superlative performance in a particular subject or grade here but rather it requires you to add education pursuits for instance participation in Olympiads or any other unofficial scholarly pursuits.
  • Art - any form of creative persuasion or interest could be categorized under this category. You might be good in painting, sculpture making and so on, even if it is at a beginning level should be included.
  • Athletics: Club - any sports which you play at a club level may be at school club or as a part of clubs outside in your neighbourhood
  • Athletics: JV/Varsity
  • Career-Oriented - any brief engagements like an internship, shadowing a professional, or learning specific knowledge would fall under this category.
  • Community Service (Volunteer) - you might have served the community in some way like helping elderly people in an old age home or imparting classes for free to students from weaker sections of society.
  • Computer/Technology - any program like online courses or events related to technology like attending a computer science workshop, participating in science or technology exhibitions and seminars on new technology will be a part of this category.
  • Cultural - activities related to the cultural fair at school or community halls.
  • Dance - participation in dance-related activities at a school, district or national level or even as a hobby should be here.
  • Debate/Speech - if you like debating and have debated in competitions or MUNs so write about it under this category.
  • Environmental - you might have written about or as a part of your school visit spread awareness about the environment.
  • Family Responsibilities - helping your parents or siblings may be taking care of your grandparents, or tutoring your siblings to ace their academic exams should be surely included in this category.
  • Foreign Exchange - student exchange programs.
  • Journalism/Publication - articles published in school journals, local magazines or writing blogs.
  • Junior R.O.T.C - it is for a very specific program; Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, a Federal Program sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • LGBT - again this represents very specific program and if you have been or are associated with this program, you can include it.
  • Music: Instrumental - knowledge of any musical instrument through professional classes. Important is that you should have spent time in acing your skill.
  • Music: Vocal - you could be a trained classical or jazz vocalist and have performed on multiple occasions.
  • Student Government/Politics - active in schools politics, like Women's March, student council Vice President, Prefect and so on.
  • Research - any research primary or secondary for instance research for your project participation or as a part of your IB extended essay.
  • Robotics - your robotics competition could be in computer/technology as well but it will be impactful if you include it in robotics.
  • Work (Paid) - you might have earned some bucks through an internship.
  • Science/Math - science or math Olympiads can also be in academics but putting in science/math will make it a very specific activity.
  • Other - don't worry if you can't find any category for a specific activity, this section is specifically created to save your energy.
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