June 4, 2017

How to Choose Extracurriculars

If you want to go to a top school, your extracurriculars need to show a focus that sets you apart from all the other applicants with straight As and 1500 SAT scores.

If your main extracurriculars reflect random choices, busy-work, or short-term commitments, what does that say about who you are as a person?

Do your current extracurriculars - and your current life - provide experiences that set you apart as an exceptional individual? Have you been truly challenged? Have you made choices that helped you grow up? That's what you want to write your application essays about.

You poor thing!
If you're a freshman or sophomore, this is a perfect chance to look at the U.C. essay prompts below while you still have time to choose activities that reflect your true interests. How would you answer each of these questions in 350 words or less? What life experiences would you use to as evidence support your answers?

1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.

2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

6.  Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

I don't want to beat a dead horse here, so I'll let Super Tutor Brooke Hanson do it for me:


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