When applying to an overseas school, extra-curricular activity is an important element of the evaluation. This is especially so for US admission officers, who look to see a diverse range of extra-curricular activities in addition to excellent academic results. So an applicant engaged in what kind of activities could make an impression on the admission officer among a vast sea of applicants? Does it have to be fantastic ones?
What’s your genuine interest?
The US admission officers place great emphasis on the hours that the student spends on extra-curricular activities. They believe long hour means true commitment and it also shows the kid is strong-minded to follow through his enthusiasm. In this way, it means the activity that starts during or right before the application could be hardly convincible.
Generally speaking, activities that last 1-2 years, or longer in the case of piano or drawing, prove to be better options. So if you want to interest the admission officer, you need to be into your interest long enough for the very first start.
What shows your ability?
Now that you’ve found your genuine interests, you need to show your leadership, teamwork spirit and other abilities through these activities as well. So don’t make this only about yourself.
For example, if you like fencing, don’t just tell the admission officer you’ve been learning fencing. It might be difficult to show your fencing level by winning a national championship or displaying the skills to the officer, but our BE experts advise to form a fencing club yourself, where you may organize fencing activities for members. And the admission officer would be delighted to see the photos or videos of these activities.
Claire, who got admitted to the Culture and Communication program of New York University, is a good example in this case. She loves doing some writings during her extra-curricular hours. So BE consultant found an internship for her. It’s about writing articles for a WeChat account, which reflected Claire’s learning ability and teamwork spirit that finally won appreciation of the admission officer.
To turn your hobbies or interests an advantage that wins the admission officer’s heart at the interview, you need to show more to them.
What can be presented
So now you’ve got a long-time hobby with some achievements, how do you present them to the admission officers? US admission officers love to see things that can be touched or felt. So show something real and concrete to them.
For instance, we have this twin brothers. The older brother is interested in carpentry and the younger is interested in programming. Our advisor at BE suggested that the younger brother have a deep learning of how to create a web page, so that the wood crafts made by the older brother could be displayed on it for sale, and the sales money can be donated to the charity organization.
And Alex, who has been admitted to Fay School, is also keen on programming. Under the encouragement and help of BE advisor, he developed an APP that can be installed on both IOS and Android system, which helped a lot at the interview.
Compared to an isolated volunteer activity or donation to disastrous areas, a project with a complete chain could attract more attention.
Extra-curricular activity is an important plus in overseas study application, but it is strongly recommended not to start extra-curricular activities only for the sake of application. The US admission officers hope to see a substantial and complete project and what sort of roles the applicant plays in it. Therefore, it’s better to start preparation as early as possible.
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