Insight into College Admissions: Extracurricular Activities and Summer Programs

As competition to get into elite colleges such as MIT and Harvard becomes stiffer year after year, the most successful students strategically plan their Extracurricular Activities starting early in their high school years.  Learn how elite colleges judge Extracurricular Activities

Six Key Factors in Extracurricular Activities

#1 Selectivity More selective activities are more impressive than less selective ones: a summer program that has a competitive application process would be more impressive than one that is open to everyone.

#2 Uniqueness Unique activities stand out from the pack of common clubs and activities. Alternatively, the student can stand out by infusing a new mission or cause within a traditional club setting. Also high on the scale of uniqueness are research positions with college faculty and selective internships. 

#3 Prestige Prestigious competitions or prestigious summer programs that are impressive to admissions officers require planning (as early as sophomore year) and an application process that can be nearly as demanding as an elite college application. 

#4 Time Commitment This is one area where quantity does matter: the longer you have participated in an activity and the more time you spend on it, the better.

#5 Leadership Positions Leadership positions are valued, particularly at the highest level of a club which has a sizable membership and is recognized at the state or national level. Starting a club or activity is also particularly impressive.

#6 Awards and Impacts Beyond an award from a prestigious activity that is difficult to achieve, college admissions officers look for tangible accomplishments and impacts, particularly those with quantifiable metrics which add weight and context (i.e. raised $9,000, served 200 patients).

If approached with the proper strategy and execution, Extracurricular Activities can be a key element that unlocks admission into a first-choice college. But this process needs proper planning and preparation: the most recognized summer programs, such as MIT’s Research Science Institute, involve a lengthy process requiring multiple essays that need to be answered in the same manner as with an actual college application.  

Some application deadlines have already passed, but select others are still open until early spring. 

Whether the student is currently in 9th, 10th or 11th grade, FITREE LEARNING will bring its extensive knowledge base in matching academic interests with prestigious opportunities that can stand out.  

Sign up for a free consultation with FITREE LEARNING to start connecting with the right summer programs, research positions and internships which will provide a real edge in the college admissions process.