QUESTION

No time for Extracurricular Activities – Is that a problem?

ANSWER

It can be, yes. It depends on where your child wants to go to school and what their expectations are for students applying. The role of extracurricular activities is to show that your child is invested in the world around them and not just wrapped up in school work. It also helps the schools your child is applying to see their personality and what makes them tick outside of the classroom. They also give your child a well-deserved brain break from all the school-based pressure.

If your child is interested in attending some of the more competitive universities, having no extracurricular activities can be damaging to their application. That’s because the more competitive universities are looking for students who will contribute something to the college community. No extra-curricular activities could signal that your child isn’t able to do that.

You mentioned there not being any time for extracurricular activities and I want to bring up two alternatives for you to consider.

If your child has a job, that is considered an extra-curricular activity. When most people think of extra-curricular activities, they think of volunteering with cancer patients and after school clubs, but holding down a job while going to school is a huge responsibility. This is something that will set your child apart from their classmates in terms of maturity, which is a good thing for college applications.

Playing sports also count as extra-curricular activities. Since it’s not volunteering, most people disregard it or forget to include it. There’s a lot of time and dedication that goes into successfully playing in a sport. Would it help if your child were also able to balance a club or two? Yes. But if there’s genuinely no time, because he/she is playing multiple sports, many admissions committees will understand.

Extra-curricular activities don’t have to be year round commitments. This ties in with the misconception about what extra-curricular activities actually are. Your child building houses with Habitat for Humanity or going on a mission trip over the summer counts as an extra-curricular activity. Participating in groups affiliated with your place of worship also count. So do volunteering at one day events like Relay for Life.

So, if your child has an after-school job and they can’t squeeze in extra-curriculars around that, it’s not a huge concern. If your child doesn’t have a job and is just focusing on schoolwork, that could be a drawback for schools looking their over application. I really encourage you and your child to find the time to get some extra-curricular activities in.

LINK

If you’re considering helping your child get involved with extra-curriculars, this article offers some helpful advice on how to pick the right ones for his/her long-term goals. This article will also help you and your child pick extra-curriculars that will make his/her college applications stand out.

We offer College Consulting services, which means we will look over your child’s academic profile, extra-curriculars, and ideal schools for them to attend. This can be really helpful if you’re not sure where to start with extra-curriculars or if you’re uncertain about whether or not your child is “doing enough” to be a solid candidate come application time.