When Listing Extracurricular Activities, No Need to Fill All BlanksBy JACQUES STEINBERG
As some high school seniors have already discovered, this year’s Common Application has up to a dozen spaces available for applicants to list their activities outside the classroom, including time spent working. For some go-getters, that’s probably not enough space — but for many others, it may be too much.
Which raises an obvious question: should an applicant stretch to fill those 12 lines?
The answer, say deans of admissions and the creators of the application itself, is a resounding “No.”
In my regular column for The Times’s Education Life supplement, which will be published this weekend, I have attempted to disentangle the section of the Common Application devoted to extracurricular activities. It includes a request to applicants that they “briefly elaborate on one” activity or work experience in four lines or less — a question that can be as important, if not more so, than the list itself.
Here’s how Monica C. Inzer, the dean of admissions at Hamilton College in New York and a member of the Common Application board, put it:
We’d rather see depth than a longer list. I think students think we want well-rounded kids. We do. But we really want a well-rounded class. That could be lots of people who have individual strengths. Distinction in one area is good, and better than doing a lot of little things.You can read a preview of the full article here. Meanwhile, this is probably as good an occasion as any to start a comment thread on the subject of extracurricular activities. Please use the box below to let us know your thoughts.