Acing the Activities List

Learn how to craft a succinct and memorable activities list.

Date 10/20/2021
Duration 1:04:02

Webinar Transcription

2021-10-20 Acing the Activities List

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Acing the activities list. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi, uh, my name is Kayla Hart. I attended Baylor university graduated in 2009. I was a triple major in management, international business and Spanish. Um, so it is nice to have all of you, um, on this webinar tonight. Uh, and we’ll just be kind of going through, you know, Acing the activities list, uh, you know, in what does that mean?

So let’s go ahead and get started. Um, So we’re going to start off with a quick poll. So where are you in the application process? Haven’t started [00:01:00] researching schools working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky or applying early, uh, almost done. Uh, so while we wait for the responses, uh, what made you choose a triple region?

Yeah, no, that’s a great question. Um, so I originally started off as just a management major. Um, but then like I had already came in, I had, um, did really well on my AP Spanish exam and I had studied Spanish, like since elementary school. Um, and so when I tested out, I tested into like junior year of Spanish, uh, my freshman year.

Um, and so then from that point on only had a few credits. You know, get them get the minor, which are sorry, I get like half a major. Um, so I was just like, cool. You know, so I just let that kind of take up some elective, like elective courses or whatever hours. Um, and then from that point on, you know, I just kind of added international business because it [00:02:00] was only like an additional 12 hours, so, or four classes.

So, um, so yeah, I mean that just all kind of like mathematically magically worked out that way. That is, I wish I had that level. I’m doing my Spanish homework right now, but, um, so it is looking like, uh, 11% of students haven’t started, uh, 37% are researching. School is 29% are working on their essays. 16% are getting their application materials together and 8% are almost done and you can control the slides for the rest.

Awesome. Uh, all right, well, first question, you know, what if the activities list, um, so if you do not know, um, it is a list of 10. All right. So you can only go up to 10, uh, of your most important extracurriculars throughout all of your high school years, and yes, it should be only your high school year. So [00:03:00] nothing from middle school, uh, should be noted.

Um, now it could be a continuation from your middle school years into your high school years. Uh, but if it’s something that you solely did in middle school, it should not be noted on your activities list. Um, it concisely listed with most significant details, right? So, um, the main detail here, just to start off with, it’s just that it’s concise.

Okay. Uh, and as we get into the next couple of slides, uh you’ll know what I mean by when I say concise, cause there’s only so many characters that you have to describe each activity. Um, so, you know, you must list the following. You know, there’s going to be an activity type dropdown menu. Well, you can kind of like select whether the activity is a sport, whether the activities volunteer, um, music, vocal music instrumental.

Um, so there’s an entire dropdown menu of like close to maybe 60 different categories that you can choose from, uh, to label what type of activity, um, position leadership description. So you have 50 max [00:04:00] characters, um, you know, maximum characters to list, you know, what was your role within that activity? Um, you know, organization name.

Um, so, you know, you have up to 100, um, characters, um, to list what organization, um, or, you know, so if you volunteer to your listing habitat for humanity, that’s where that would go in that organization name box, and then activity description, right. Um, listing pretty much what she did in that activity. Um, and you’ll have 150 maximum characters for that.

Um, and then you’ll mark an answer to the following. So, uh, participation grade levels, you know, how many years did you participate in that particular activity? Um, and now that they’ve included postgraduate year, which that wasn’t always an option. So now you have that, uh, for those of you who choose to take a gap year, uh, timing, um, during school years.

Um, so during school break [00:05:00] or all year, so those

we’ll be your choice, whether you intend to participate in a similar or act Y okay. So quick note here, um, you should not be checking that a box for every single activity that you list. So really try to limit it. Maybe if you list 10 activities, maybe only list. Limited to five of those that you wish to carry on in college, because the truth of the matter is especially the more rigorous of college that you attend.

Uh, the less time you’ll probably have, um, um, Chile, you know, be super active at all 10 activities like you were in high school. Um, college is an entirely different new world, um, and estimation is key, right? So don’t, don’t be like, you know, normally like stressed, like all in your head, trying [00:06:00] to calculate how many hours spent per week or, you know, weeks spend per year.

It is okay to guesstimate. Okay. So, um, if, you know, if you don’t have an exact number, just try to be within, you know, um, you know, maybe a one to three hour range of that. So if you do an activity and you’re, uh, let’s say realistically, without even having to calculate, you can kind of think that it’s maybe close to 10 hours.

If you say somewhere between like eight and like 12. That’s still fine. Okay. Um, so I would say plus, or minus two, um, and then as, yeah, so estimation is key. All right.

Um, so yeah. Why is the activities list an important part of your application? Um, so first of all, something you should know is that it counts as nearly 30%, uh, the entire focus of your application, uh, to an admissions officer. [00:07:00] Uh, right close to a third. Um, so what you do with your time, your energy throughout your high school years matters a lot.

Um, it shows how you manage your time and efforts during high school years. Um, you know, shows your personal values, um, in a way that can’t be captured in some of the essays even that you’re writing, right. Especially the supplemental essays. Um, you know, so if you have a lot of leadership roles, let’s say in different activities across, um, uh, a certain number of activities really shows that you value leadership, right.

It really shows that you value being proactive shows that you value taking initiative. Right. Um, and so that’s sometimes things are that can’t be captured as easily, or as frankly, um, throughout some of your essays that you’ll be writing, um, can highlight core principles. So going back to leadership, but other things such as commitment, you know, and passions, um, all of those things matter to you.

You know, admissions officers who are, who will be reading through your [00:08:00] application, you know, uh, they want to see those types of students with those types of values at their college. Um, and I can safely say that every college would really like to see that in every candidate. Right. Um, and all of you are going to vary in different levels across those different, um, those different value points, um, and also demonstrates your ability to pinpoint your greatest strengths and achievements.

Right? So if you are, you know, as we’ll kind of go through the presentation, you know, being able to list your activities in order of significance, um, being able to pinpoint, you know, where your true passions lie, when you’re looking at how many hours you’re naturally committing to a particular activity and, um, and, and how engaged you are within that activity, um, really should bring you some self-awareness so that when people ask you, you know, What of your high school year has been like, or like, you know, what are you doing with your time, right.

Uh, you should be able to more readily, more [00:09:00] confidently say, yeah, these are, these are ways that I’m plugging myself into the world right now. Um, this is kind of what I’m devoting my time to you. This is what I care about most. And it should just be that visible, um, to someone who knows you and even more so to someone who doesn’t,

what counts as an activity. So many things. All right. Um, so here is a, uh, a list that I’ve kind of put together. Um, but it really can, uh, be a combination of all of these, um, you know, uh, arts or music, student clubs, family responsibilities. So let me kind of go into this one in particular, uh, family responsibilities should be something that significantly takes up time, uh, that you devote to a family member who might be sick or, uh, you know, um, might be, you know, handicapped in some sort of way.

Um, but someone that you’re really having to [00:10:00] assist through a life problem, um, with a significant amount of time, when we say family responsibilities, we’re not saying washing dishes, uh, Every, you know, for one hour per week or something like that, it should be something that really, um, has a story behind it.

Um, you know, hobbies course, you can add your hobbies. So, you know, not everything has to be like an official student club or have an official organization, official title to it. Um, you know, there’s some things that you just do for self recreation that can be, you know, that can totally work here, um, within the activities list, especially the, those kids, those students, um, it could be yourself that I’m talking to right now directly that, you know, um, love to teach yourself things, you know, love to teach yourself how to play the guitar lead, to teach yourself how to computer code or, uh, you know, something really interesting and fun.

Um, really be able to express that, you know, I had one student list, their activity, [00:11:00] um, and weightlifting. He was very adamant about weightlifting and would, um, commit about 200.

Our number is something that should totally be, um, you know, highlighted in his common app activities list, right? It shows commitment, dedication to a particular goal, consistency. So many things that can be highlighted. In the same way that more official sounding quote unquote activities could. Um, so there’s work, there’s volunteering, there’s job shadowing.

Uh, so for those of you who don’t know what I mean, when I say that, it’s just, you know, if you know someone in your, you know, a family friend or who might be a doctor or a physician, or, you know, zoologists, it doesn’t matter what their career is. Uh, but you go in and just simply follow them around really for the day, you know, see what kind of meetings they’re having, who are they kind of meeting with?

Uh, what do they [00:12:00] do, right? Uh, it was kind of like a career tryout in a sense or a career, you know, a taste course, um, tester course for just a day or a week or a month. Um, and, and even if it’s a really short amount of time, it could really say a lot still about how passionate you are and trying to find out what fits you and what that.

Um, you know, there’s summer camps, um, and, and those can really range across so many activities or anything that you did in the summer. Um, if it’s some type of official setting or, or, you know, tied to particular organization, that’s totally fine to mention. Um, but it could be anything from like a fun summer camp where you’re just like horseback riding, um, and maybe creative writing, uh, you know, maybe creative writing sessions that you’re just kind of having, um, More leisurely, uh, to something that’s like really structured, um, like, you know, like a university summer camp, or just like high school, summer [00:13:00] campus, maybe about like computer robotics or, um, something like that.

So it could be as structured or unstructured, but could still count as a summer camp, um, church, community engagement. So a lot of, a lot of students tend to get, you know, a lot of community service hours through their religious organization of some sort, um, or church, um, or their local community. Um, you know, um, kind of creating, you know, local campaigns to participate in or raise, you know, kind of creating local fundraisers and those sorts of things, all of that would fit into that category.

I put academic courses, noncredit, uh, and I say noncredit here, especially if the academic courses are university level, uh, because there is a section in the common app for you to list university courses, uh, that you have actually received credit for. Um, so I would say, go for use the activities list to list those that are non-credit, that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to [00:14:00] list in the credit university courses, section, um, conference.

So, you know, academic conferences, uh, would, would work here, um, research opportunities. If you had like a senior capstone project or something like that, that would be totally fine for you to mention. And you should, you should definitely actually mention it. Um, whereas research is a very strong component that every single university would like to see in a high school student, um, honor societies.

Um, so those of you who are national honor society, who’s who in America, a list goes on. I’m so many honors society, um, organizations, all of those could be listed as an activity. And I say global trips with a purpose. Okay. So, um, if you went to Nicaragua with your family and you were just out there, you know, You know, surfing and just kind of relaxing that wouldn’t really count as something that you should have here on your activities list.

Uh, but if you went there and it was like [00:15:00] for some type of mission, maybe with the organization or, you know, volunteering, uh, language, um, you know, structured cultural immersion, that sort of thing, that all can, um, work as a global trip that’s you’re listing here is an activity.

All right. On the common app, how many activities can students list again? 10. All right. No more than 10. You have up into 10, um, to list. Now I do stay with exceptions only because you want to think quality versus quantity here. Okay. Um, and quality matters more. So, you know, if you have 10 activities, but you participated in all of them on a surface level basis, uh, you just kind of showed up to meetings, you know, uh, You know, you, you didn’t really engage much, uh, didn’t mean, you know, w not really many events or, uh, anything was really [00:16:00] planned within that organization or club.

Um, I would say then it’s much better to list five high level quality, high engagement activities than it is to list 10 surface level activities where you’re just showing up. You’re just a member you’re just kind of floating. Um, so quality over quantity here, um, and avoid fillers. So what I mean is, you know, um, don’t just list activities that, you know, you know, you only went to a meeting like three times that year, and in each time that you met, you know, you weren’t really.

Talking about anything, but, you know, weren’t really planning anything or events really happening. Um, your description about that activity is going to be quite lackluster because of what you actually did in that, in that activity. And it’s going to show, right. Um, and I would say it is better to not [00:17:00] list it than to list it.

Um, especially if it’s, I would say even more stuff is partnered up with a lot of other activities that kind of had that same lackluster description. Um, you could do without it.

All right. So we’re going to do a second pause. So what grade are you in this year? 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or others. So this could be, if you’re a parent or transfer student or somewhere else in your life, um, what were some activities you did in high school? Um, sure. Yeah. I was president of student council, uh, my junior and senior year.

I was, um, vice president of the Spanish club go figure. Um, I was, uh, I did dance for, um, competitively, um, [00:18:00] nation international wise, um, in, in different categories, like lyrical, jazz tap ballet. Um, but like, oh yeah, I played, I did track and field love. It was a great way to distress during high school years.

Uh, 100, 200 meters, 400 meters. Yeah. Sprint or all the way. Yeah. I don’t do a high endurance very long. Uh, yeah. So those were some, I would say those are kind of like some of the main activities, a lot of volunteering hours. Cause my school, um, required like 80 hours of community service per year. So it was a really high, intense, um, service oriented school.

But, um, and with that, you know, I did a, you know, kind of one off events here and there then just kind of had also organizations that I would, uh, join. Um, so I did a lot of habitat for humanity work when I was in high school, uh, building a lot of houses, [00:19:00] painting, you know, none of the hands-on stuff now that I can remember how to do now that I’d actually could have my own life, but Hey, go figure it.

Uh, um, so yeah, those are some of the activities. Wow busy. So it’s looking like, uh, okay, so we have zero eighth graders as expected. Um, one ninth grade, um, 6% are 10th graders, 39%. Our 11th graders, 48% are 12th graders and 6% are other songs to make transfers are parents. Okay. Awesome. Um, all right, so, um, getting back to it.

So how can students choose, you know, which activities or how can you choose which activities you should put it on your activities list? If you have more than 10, and I say simply put the most significant right. Um, kind of going back to the point that I was just making about, you know, which ones show the most [00:20:00] dedication, most commitment across all of your years.

Um, so think time. Years months, weeks, days, where are you committing the most time? Um, leadership, you know, are you president. And are you on, even if you don’t have an official title, um, are you D are you still a member of the organization? Do you sit as a chair of a particular committee? Um, you know, what different ways are you, do you still have.

A significant role in our, you know, in your revered or respected, um, for your contribution, um, in a significant way, um, to that activity, uh, or do you have any self-started initiatives? You know, I have a student right now who, um, created her own fundraiser, uh, and, you know, raise money for, um, civilians in Yemen.

Um, and so it could even be a self started initiative is not always something that you have to group up with others, but again, that still shows leadership. [00:21:00] Right. Um, and initiative on her own part. Um, in effort, you know, any official recognition received. Did you, you know, did you receive any awards, uh, were you elected or selected, um, or awarded a particular title or position, um, you know, significant goals and accomplishments.

Uh, on an individual or a team based so basis. So it doesn’t always have to be something that you accomplish on your own. If you’re part of a committee and Euro, you know, you brainstorm an idea and you bring that idea to life. Um, so let’s say that you are on the prom committee, right? And you are working alongside a number of other students.

You know, you think of everything from the event, logistics to dress code, to everything, right? Every single element of prom. Um, you know, you can mention that as an accomplishment, you could still totally own that, even though it wasn’t just your, you know, your ideas and your energy alone. Um, so [00:22:00] just something to kind of keep in mind as we go through the rest of this presentation time leadership effort.

So that will kind of help you determine, uh, which activities should be considered the most.

Uh, how can you group multiple activities together? Uh, just think same likeness, right? Same nature, same likeness. So one, um, one example that I have here is like same activity across different schools and external clubs. If all, especially if all holding the same weight, what I mean here is like, um, I have a student right now, who’s in an external swim club outside of her school, but then she also swims for the official high school team.

Uh, and then she does recreational swimming. Um, and so all of that put together across the different years, um, totally works. Or even if you switched swim teams, let’s say you, uh, moved to a new high school. Within your high school years [00:23:00] and you, so you were swinging for one team, right? Uh, and then you started swimming for another, once you moved to another school, um, all of that could be grouped together, right?

Because it’s all the same likeness, it’s all swimming. Right. And you could just simply mark the years that you participated. So either 9, 10, 11, 12, um, you could just say, you know, competed in these particular events, freestyle, brushstroke, that sort of thing. Um, you know, award, you know, placed first in ninth, you know, you can, and you can make it year.

You can make it school year specific in your description. Right. So place first, um, in, in ninth grade, You know, um, you know, place for then, you know, or whatever it is. Um, but you can mention those details by grade year in your description, um, to, to differentiate what you are achieving each year. Um, or another example here, it could be like several summer activities, but relatively same being more focused.

What I [00:24:00] mean by that is a lot of the times what I noticed is that students end up, especially when they know their passion, they’re very certain what they love to do and where their academic interests really strongly lie. They ended up doing kind of the same subject or close enough to it each summer. So they’ll do like a, you know, uh, maybe a computer coding class, their ninth grade, summer, and then maybe like a full-on robotics course there, or 10th grade summer, and then something else that’s like very stem or computer science-based their 11th grade serve her.

Right. All of those have a common theme, um, in which you can kind of just kind of put them all together. Of just like stem summer camps. Um, and you know, and when in the organization name, you can say, you know, if it was at a university or at your hosted at your high school, you can list all of those because you have up until, uh, 100 characters to list a number of different organizations in that, in that section.

[00:25:00] Um, another examples honor societies. Um, so instead of, especially since honor societies, most people are not like, it’s not usually, um, activities that people are super active in. I totally would suggest that you group those together. So who’s who national honor society, if it’s a particular subject focus honors club that you’ve been invited to, um, you know, like the, you know, some inter, um, mathematics club or, you know, just something really kind of out there.

Um, I would say put group all of those honor societies and honors clubs. Um, and again, just mark the years, um, for that activity as one single box and ultimately again, yeah, just group, according to same likeness. So, you know, some of the activities again, which is kind of like swimming, you know, robotics, you know, honor societies, but all of those things, as long as it’s the same likeness, um, I would say you could group together [00:26:00] and what makes for a great activity description.

Sure. Brainstorming and planning is very important. And I say this because even though you might’ve done an activity, it could have been within the last year. If you do not take the time to sit back and think and brainstorm what all you did, there is a pretty good chance that you will forget something rather important to mention.

Okay, take the time to give yourself or give yourself time to recall everything that you did in that activity. Okay. Um, it will help you a lot. Um, and so, um, I would say again, details, you know, provide a specific range, you know, so, uh, don’t be so general with your wording. Um, you know, if you fundraised and you raised in a, a, you know, raise money for a nonprofit, actually state the amount and especially no matter how insignificant or significant you may think it is, it’s [00:27:00] still something that.

Did for someone for $10,000 or something like that, you should definitely mention that specifically, uh, within the description, um, you know, specific ranked, you know, I, I placed first, you know, I ranked two out of 103, uh, contestants in this particular competition. All of those, just make it so much more, um, colorful.

Right. And really gives us a vivid picture of like, oh, okay. This is what they’re bringing to the table. Oh, this is how great they are and this particular activity. Okay. I get it now. Um, so yeah, just get, and again, get straight to the good stuff don’t put off the most important detail or most, most significant, you know, award or something like that to the end of the description, put that at the front.

Right. Uh, give us the good stuff right away. [00:28:00] Right. Um, so you really always be trying to use your activities list or really get straight to the point, um, and, and list that list of really great stuff. The stuff that you, you know, would always have to kind of like humble brag about, um, to people. This is the time to shine.

This is the time to be bold. Put yourself out there and put it first. Okay. Um, use active and high level verbs. Don’t be redundant. A lot of people end up using the same verbs over and over and over and over, uh, you know, some of the more popular ones. Um, I’ll actually, those are civil groups and I’ll get to that in my next point.

But you know, like a good example I’m putting here is like teach, instruct, show demonstrate. Right? So if you do tutoring, this is a great one. A lot of students tend to tutor someone somewhere in something. Okay. Um, and if that’s the case, uh, you don’t need to use four different verbs to say the same thing.

Okay. Um, just give your target audience, you know, you taught fourth graders, uh, [00:29:00] in mathematics. Uh, you can say maybe just dash and then list some concepts, maybe some really important concepts that you taught them. Uh, but you don’t need to say taught fourth graders instructed in algebra, uh, demonstrated, you know what I mean?

Don’t re don’t repeat the same. Verb idea, um, over and over again. Um, and something else that I wanted to quickly add here. What’s that upgrade your verbs every now and again. Um, so let’s say that you help the small nonprofit, uh, you know, you help manage their social media campaign or their social media material online.

Um, instead of saying a really common verb, like manage, uh, maybe you go for. Compile right. Because you have to compile pictures, uh, blurbs, uh, that sort of thing, maybe instead of saying posts, you say publicize, right. If you have the character count for it. Okay. [00:30:00] Um, but wait, where you can upgrade verbs, upgrade them.

Okay. Um, avoid simple verbs. Oh God. Uh, yes. So do have let go. God. Oh, I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I see the same words over and over and over and over drives me insane. Um, and every now and again, because of character count, maybe you might have to throw one or two in here. Okay. One or two in your description and that’s totally fine.

Uh, but what I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be jam packed with a lot of those words and it shouldn’t be consistently, um, kind of being the lead verbs over and over throughout every single active. Okay. So try to, you know, try to show some variety in your language. It’s really w it’s really what I’m saying here across these two points, um, pay attention to spelling and grammar.

Yes. It still counts here. Uh, this is not the time to, because you have to have, you know, limited [00:31:00] character count. This is not the time to switch up because too, because C U Z or something like that to kind of save space, um, you still need to be grammatically correct. Your spelling still needs to be on point.

Um, you know, they’re, they’re still paying attention to small details like that make activity boxes. Um, this is something that I do with my students. Um, you know, I make activity boxes with, you know, their position title, um, you know, with the. Organization the description. Um, and when you do this, when you create a draft first, before adding it to the official common application boxes, um, you could detect this mistakes, right?

Because they, because Microsoft word has spelling and grammar check there. Um, it’s a better guide to make sure that you’re not leaving anything out that you’re not overlooking anything. And, and it happens to all of us. Right. Um, so I would say start, actually start the first step of creating a [00:32:00] draft in word first.

Um, and that way the, all the spell check tools and that sort of thing can catch any small mistakes that you’re overlooking. Um, and that way you can make sure it’s just a solid, perfect. Right. And then I would say use the same verb tense. Now you’ll see this varies. Okay. It’s really up to everyone’s different, you know, Personal bias style, et cetera.

Um, but I say, be uniform. I love past tense. Even if you’re presently in that activity. I still love past tense. I just love to see the same tense throughout. It just makes it sound, it just flows all together. Um, and it just makes it sound more uniform across, um, then to have like present for the current year, which is we are senior year.

Uh, when you’re, you know, when you’re creating your application and then past tense for all of your, you know, freshmen, sophomore, junior activities, I’d rather honestly just to see them all past tense. I’ve asked many admissions officers about [00:33:00] these and if you know, some of the most elite colleges, um, and you know, they, you know, a lot of them agree with that same point and it’s not a major point.

There’s no ma you know, no points taken off deducted. If you do present tense for 12th grade and then past tense for all of the, you know, previous years, My rule is, you know, I always have all of my students be uniform, same verb tense, use past tense. Um, So next, what are some common mistakes? Yes. The students make an activity descriptions.

Uh, yeah, I kind of said this before, but making the reader wait until the end of the description for like the best things to mention about that activity, give it right away, you know, put the best thing first. Okay. Put the best thing first. Um, very general language. Yeah. So I attended competitions. Okay.

That’s great. Well, how many competitions did you attend across all of your four years? Uh, what [00:34:00] particular competitions are they major national competitions that I should know that you participated in? Uh, you learned a new language. Okay. Well, which new language, uh, did you focus on phonetics? Did you focus on, uh, you know, overall, you know, grammar and, you know, really be specific here?

Uh, you placed in a meet, you know, oh, you know, what were you awarded? Um, and for what event be specific, I. Third, uh, in the 100 meter, um, event, right? If you are doing track and field, let’s say as specific as possible, um, don’t rank activities in order. Yeah. So there’s a lot of students that don’t rank activities in order, but like, again, just always keep this rule of like first, best.

You know, you know, very best at very first. Right. Um, so the strongest activities, uh, the things that you would, you know, just naturally go on and on about that, you’ve given the most time [00:35:00] to that you’re the most engaged in, um, and especially those that you’ve been awarded or selected, or have some type of, you know, um, that shows some type of selectivity in some way, shape or form, put those at the top, um, over usage of passive verbs.

Yes. And this takes up in this easily, takes up character count. It’s really more so by main point here, you know, if you say selected as right. Uh, if you count those, um, that’s already 10 characters gone right out of 150. Um, so you don’t need to say selected as. You know, if you’re a president, most of the times people know that you had to be voted.

President selected president, you know, you can’t just self elect yourself as a position. Um, so you don’t always need to say what is, you know, kind of commonly known, leave those words out and continue on. Um, and then oversell or undersell overall participation in activity. Uh, so my examples here was like, [00:36:00] I helped.

And so it’s solving global poverty. Um, that’s really big. Right. Um, and so that that’s, that’s kind of overselling what you did, right. But let’s say you did the same activity, but you just said something really simple, like fed the homeless. Right. Kind of give us the medium in between those two. No, you probably did not help solve global poverty.

Right. Uh, but you know, feeding the homeless. You know, in, in what nature did you feed the homeless? Um, how many did you feed you? The numbers also significant, um, you know, and, and beyond just feeding them, you know, did you make, uh, you know, you can make particular connections in some way, shape or form. Like you can really still expand a bit there, um, without having to undersell the activity.

So you kind of create balance, um, in your descriptions as well. So don’t make them don’t, you know, don’t oversell, don’t under.[00:37:00]

All right. How could the activities list be used in conjunction with other parts of the application? Sure. So, um, the first thing is activity descriptions, you know, uh, they spark ideas for like your, some of your college supplemental essays. Um, some of the examples that I have. Uh, for instance, Princeton, um, this year has a briefly elaborate on a, on an extracurricular activity in 150 to 200 words.

Um, also if you’re working on the Purdue application, um, there are five, they give you up to five, um, activities that you can describe, um, it up to 250 words each per each activity. So some of these things can already the activities, this can already kind of get your mind going about what are some of the most significant, most significant details that I should be mentioning.

Um, you know, uh, and in what ways can I really start to elaborate, uh, when it comes to kind of the [00:38:00] bigger supplemental essays, some academic achievements can be placed in the honor section. So, um, You know, if you received less safe, you, a lot of, a lot of students tend to mention that they were student of the year selected student of the year by a teacher in a particular class.

So if you were a student of the year and your Spanish class and your junior year, right, that’s something that you can, um, put in the honor section because the honor section is more so, um, you know, for academic award. So you could save yourself space, um, in the activities list and simply just listed in the honor section another thing that I mentioned earlier, but university level courses that are awarded with credit, there is a university coursework section in the common application, um, that you can go ahead and list those courses there.

And again, save yourself room or save yourself space in the activities list to mention something else. Uh, and again, brainstorming of this activities list can hide. What’s most [00:39:00] important to you and can spark up a personal statement idea, right? Uh, when you’re working on your common personal statement, the first thing a lot of students say is I have no idea what to write about.

I don’t know what I’m passionate about, you know, but when you actually have to create an activities list and really be so detailed, you start to kind of see a, kind of a common theme that maybe you didn’t before about like, where are your passions truly lie? You know, how you really like to spend your time, uh, where are you committing yourself the most?

And something that I forgot to actually add here was resume. So a lot of you will be working on, um, a lot of college applications allow for you to submit a resume. Um, and that’s easily a place that you would need to, you know, again, highlight that, you know, your, your greatest strengths, you know, your greatest accomplishments in each activity.

Um, so I would also say, you know, make, be sure that that. Or just be cognizant, um, that the resume is also something that you can use your activities list to build.[00:40:00]

What was my experience creating the activities list. I know I broke all the rules during this, but I would say that’s more so because I didn’t really, uh, you know, we didn’t really have, um, a, a solid college counselor in my high school. So a lot of this was just kind of self-taught and me just kind of having to jump in there and resources and things are just aren’t as avid.

Uh weren’t as avid back then as it is today, um, you know, with amazing services, like the one you’re watching. And so, um, I just kind of had to wing it on my own. Uh, so I probably, I’m pretty certain that I made a lot of common mistakes, some of this very same ones that I’m talking about, but, um, of course over time and being a college counselor for so many years, I’ve learned all the correct rules.

So maybe in my next life, I will do an absolutely perfectly. And my last advice would say, [00:41:00] you know, about writing an activities list would be the ABCs of the activities list. Um, uh, and so just, this is something I created so that you could just easily remember this, you know, be authentic, you know, be yourself.

Don’t just go, you know, don’t just list activities, but also don’t just participate in activities. Um, And you’re only doing it for show, you know, or you’re only doing it because you’re trying to calculate how colleges will see the value in it. And you know, if I do this, oh, okay, well like, well, like Yale would love that, you know, it’s, it’s it, they can see through these, these admission officers have been doing this for years and years and years.

This is a, this is a mathematically equated machine by this point in time. Um, and what I, and I say, all of that to say is they can spot phoniness in a second. They can spot when you’re not truly passionate about something. They can sense it a mile away throughout your activities list and all of your [00:42:00] supplemental essays.

That’s what all those writing components are for really is to really get through and see who you truly are. Um, and your true voice, your true passions are going to shine either way. So I say, be authentic, you know, if you really love environmental science and you know, all of your clubs and. You know, all of your activities, your volunteering, all of them have to do with some kind of environmental element.

Amazing. Right. And that’s going to show naturally because everything is kind of in alignment with women with one another, um, be bold, you know, again, this is going back to those points I was making about, you know, put your strongest activities first, you know, uh, this is not the time to be humble. Um, really put it out there, what you’ve achieved, you know, and you deserve it.

You know, you owe it to yourself to be able to showcase how you’ve dedicated your time and your energy throughout high school. So people put it out there, um, and be concise, right. Especially with the small [00:43:00] character count that you have for each activity list. Uh, you’re going to have to learn to, you know, what to prioritize and saying about each activity.

Um, and you’re going to have to learn how to, uh, you know, make it as short and. As it possibly needs to be, but still carry the point across about how much it weighs, uh, in your overall life and your overall high school existence. Um, yeah. So just remember those ABCs. Okay. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar.

I hope you found this information helpful, and remember, you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions. You submitted in the Q and a tab and read them aloud before our panelists gives you an answer as a heads-up. If your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure you join the webinar through the, um, custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.

If you joined through the webinar landing page, you don’t get all [00:44:00] the features of the big markers. So just make sure you join through your email. So, um, Oh, no. Uh, if anyone’s having issues with, um, like freezing or sound going out, try logging out and logging back in the webinar is being recorded though.

So you can view it later and you can also download the slides. Uh, okay. So we’ll get started. And I just want to add a note that the character is different from word counts. So character count literally means your activity section is going to be as long as a tweet. It is very short. Um, okay. So the first question, is it bad if all my activities, uh, are school organizations or do colleges want a mixture of school and outside organizations?

And it is totally fine. Um, if there are all school organizations, you know, some, you know, some students live in areas where there aren’t really a lot of. Um, local organizations nearby for them to participate in, or maybe just because of time restraints. [00:45:00] Um, it’s just easier to kind of delve more so into nothing but school organizations.

Um, and because you have other commitments, you know, elsewhere and that sort of thing. Uh, but it’s totally fine if it’s all school organizations there, there’s no, you know, more, um, more weight given to school versus external. Uh, okay. Um, is it bad if you don’t have any leadership positions every year throughout high school?

Um, I wouldn’t say it’s bad. Um, and you don’t always have to have the absolute leadership position again, it’s, it’s a, it’s a very competitive role, right? A lot of people are trying out for leadership roles. If you do have one, um, I think that’s great. Uh, but you can still make a difference. You can still be just as, just as effective without upward, you know, uh, without, uh, an exact title or.

Per se. Um, so if you’re, maybe if you’re [00:46:00] the chair of a particular committee, and even if you’re not that even if you’re a general member, uh, but you’re bringing initiatives to the group, the rest of the group, um, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re asking, you know, how can I, you know, can I kind of lead this initiative?

Can I create something new within the club? You kind of thinking outside, you know, outside the box in those ways still shows that you’re proactive still shows that you’re creative still shows that you have leadership potential. So, you know, don’t box yourself in and just thinking, oh, because I’m a member, you know, I don’t really bring any weight to what I’m doing, or I’m not really contributing as much as the official leaders, no, make a space for yourself, go to them and say, Hey guys, I have this amazing idea.

You know, I would love, you know, I would love to participate and pay for those of you who don’t have that space within a particular club stop. Um, go to go talk to your school principal, talk to a faculty member. Can you, um, you [00:47:00] know, would you be able to, um, kind of parole my student club or, uh, again, members helped me appetite this club initiative that I have, because I’m really passionate about it.

I’m sure other people are too. Let’s get it going. There’s a webinar that I did in may and in June, I believe, and I’m creating a passion project and it talks about starting a club. So if you want more information, you can go there. So the next, um, part is, um, what if you don’t have even close to 10 activities?

No problem, uh, again, quality over quantity. Okay. Um, so if you only have four activities, right? Uh, but all of your time that you have all of your free time outside of school, or most of it, um, is committed across these four activities. Um, and you have a lot to say you’ve really just, um, really gone above and beyond in each of these activities.

That’s just as [00:48:00] much, again, as someone who would list 10 activities and they just don’t have much to say they, they’re not able to show a lot of contribution. They’re not alive. They’re not able to show a lot of time, commitment and dedication. Um, so again, don’t get stuck on the number you stuck on the quality.

Uh, so given that COVID-19 sorta threw everybody under the bus, um, so students are asking like, what can they do if, um, like their clubs or activities or sports got canceled because of COVID and how does that affect the application? And then another student had asked, um, like with that COVID impact section.

Oh, should you put stuff there, maybe if you were weren’t affected, like, okay. Um, that’s a loaded question I was alive. Um, so let me start with the first, um, w when it comes to COVID affecting your. Um, those are things that you should be listing in the special COVID essay, the [00:49:00] 250 words allotted in your common application.

Um, so, uh, it’ll be in the writing section, uh, the same section as your personal statement, there’s a space there for you to address how your life has been disrupted activities have been disrupted learning, uh, you know, you know, your, you know, your classroom style, et cetera. Um, so I would say, definitely mention it.

Now, when it comes to still participating in showing participation, even though those activities might not be running, this is the time for you then to be proactive. Okay. Uh, don’t wait for opportunities to, to come to you. This is something that you will be, there’s lots of volunteering online that you can do.

For instance, I have a history, major student and we were talking about what she could be doing. Um, and so now she’s a Smithsonian transcribing volunteer online, you know, and that strongly correlates with her being a history student. Um, there’s so many, you know, we reached out to nonprofits. Is there anything [00:50:00] for you, you know, send them a general inquiry.

Is there any way in which I can be helping you? I have skills in social media, uh, you know, awareness. I have skills in, um, You know, building websites, I have skills in such and such be proactive. Ask, put yourself out there and announce yourself to different spaces and different organizations that you could see yourself wanting to work with and being passionate about.

And I would say just proactively reach out, proactively reach out and you will be astounded. How many companies and how many, how much positive affirmation you will get back because who wouldn’t really take on a free volunteer who is really highly skilled and can really help them out. Um, so put yourself out there.

Um, and the backend of that question kind of, um, the students said that they like COVID did like COVID happened and stuff, but they were [00:51:00] still able to find a way to get their activities done. So should they just not use that section? Um, but they were still able to get there. I would still, I would still make a note of it in, in the COVID essay.

Um, you know, cause it ha it has to be certain things that it might’ve had to change up. Um, and you know, and whether it’s, maybe you don’t practice as much as, as in the normal school year or, or, you know, you, uh, you don’t meet as often or, you know, I’m sure the frequency of the activity maybe changed or the requirements of the activity, um, the general requirements and that sort of thing.

So it’s still worth mentioning in the COVID essay, a space. So one student, since you had mentioned adding research is good. How would you do research and get credit for it? Like back in? I think I read that question wrong, but if you had.[00:52:00]

You know, that’s, I would say this is a more school to school, um, policy sort of thing. Um, I’ve had everything from students having that as part of their curriculum, especially if you’re something of like part of the IB curriculum, there is an independent research component on it. So that would be something naturally that you would do anyways.

Uh, those of you who are not in a curriculum that requires that, and that would award something like that. I still say again, proactive proactivity is my number one rule for pretty much everything in life. Um, and does not hurt. The worst thing that you can hear is no right. Go to a teacher and say, you know, would you be able to, you know, monitor, um, you know, uh, independent research project.

I’m very interested in this particular Mich. Uh, but then our class and I would love to explore more on my own. Um, you know, I wouldn’t need necessarily even a grade for it. And maybe you could even talk about them putting that, you know, [00:53:00] you having that as a percentage of your grade. Uh, but even if you weren’t graded for it, um, just to show that you were, you know, so interested in something that you would just take so much time and put so much commitment and researching it, um, I think it’s still worth it.

Um, and so reach out to your teachers, if you have a specific topic and talk to them about it, cause most, most times more than not most teachers are actually willing to take you. And I just wanted to add something for any activities that are like your own project or like outside of school. You’re not sure how to like back it up or validate it.

You can always get, um, tell a letter of recommend a recommender to write about it so they can sort of back you up. You can write about it in your supplements or personal statement, more. That’s a good way to back it up. And then also, if they, uh, in your application, it says, submit additional materials like portfolios or resumes.

That’s a good place just to like, um, validated a little bit [00:54:00] more. Um, so we’re going to do a quick ad break. Uh, so once work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers sign up for a free consultation with us, um, by going to and clicking the green chat button in the bottom right of the screen from there, just write in consultation in life team member, we’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us.

Now, back to the Q. Okay. And if you see any questions in the chat that you want to answer, please do. Um, and the webinars is posted on the website by the way, um, uh, DVD. Um,

okay. Um, uh, what would you recommend if your activities list is maxed out with, um, activities that you love, but you still want to list conferences, panels that you have spoken at or thesis projects [00:55:00] that you have completed. Perfect. Um, so anything beyond anything that is significant and would really, um, change the way an admissions officer would review.

Your application, um, and, and the value that you can bring to their campus, I would say, add it into the additional information section of a common application. So once you’re completely filled within those 10 activities that you really love, and hopefully each of those activities then, um, are really substantial, um, beyond that, then any, you know, um, academic, you know, symposiums or, you know, w research conferences or anything like that, you can add all of those, uh, mentioned, you know, the ways in which you participated, um, in your additional information section on the common applicant.

And also again, the going, sorry, going back to, uh, your resume as well. That is another, um, outstanding [00:56:00] place for you to mention, you know, everything that you’ve done in all your four high school years, especially since you have up to two pages, um, to do so. So those are two places that you can add anything beyond the 10 activities list that you still think is quite significant, but you weren’t able to fit into the activities list.

Uh, can one time activities as part of a school leadership club be listed? Um, will that look good? Um, this was, this was school authored leadership. Okay. Um, yeah, sorry, I didn’t catch the first part of that question. Uh, Ken, like one time activities that are like offered only like once a year be listed, is that.

Yeah. Once a year, activities can definitely be listed. Um, what I would say here, um, is, you know, you wouldn’t naturally have probably as much as she, uh, could say about something that you did it for a long, [00:57:00] longer, I would say really make sure that you’re putting in as much as you can, uh, really contributing and really kind of, you know, participating, uh, it’s active play as you possibly can.

That becomes to running that description. Again, it doesn’t go back to just sounded generic and lackluster because, you know, um, you know, even if you were in it for three months or something like that, a short period of time, um, still be able to say no matter how short of time I’m. You know, any one activity.

I am still always a stellar participant. I still always go above and beyond. And that’s really what you want to show across all of your activities, no matter how short, no matter how long has your ration, um, is that, you know, I bring the rain in everything that I do. So I’m just really try to, uh, you know, make sure that you’re, you know, you’re going beyond just kind of, you know, floating or just kind of being [00:58:00] there may, you know, have an active contract Leisha.

Um, okay. How exactly can I derive my personal statement? Uh, so or supplementary essay idea from my activities without signing, um, monotone is, uh, repetitive in my applicant. Um, certainly, um, I mean, you know, again, you only have 150 characters, which is about two sentences, two full sentences at the most in length.

Um, so your supplemental F say gives you up to 250 words, um, versus characters, uh, gives you so much more space to kind of go into, uh, you know, so much more detailed than you did before. Um, it allows you to talk about things that maybe. Micro-scale things like growth and development, you know, your weaknesses and strengths, all of those things, you wouldn’t be able to necessarily, [00:59:00] um, you know, showcase in your activities list, but you’re able to make more of a comprehensive conversation around your activities and how it impacted you, you know, as a person, uh, not just, you know, just not on a superficial level of like, this is what I achieved, but like this achievement taught me this, it taught me to be persistent.

Um, you know, I learned to communicate with my team members more so because of this particular project that we worked on, um, you know, that sort of thing, those sorts of things would take so much more words and character count, uh, for you to, um, for you to demonstrate than in the activities list. Um, okay.

Uh, if you see any questions, please do answer it. Um, mm. Uh,

okay. Um, for honors and awards, does it have to be only [01:00:00] academic awards or say any other award from outside of school can also be shared for the, um, for the honor section, um, in the calves, it is recommended that it is, it is a bigger emphasis on academic awards. Uh, but you know, a lot of admissions officers are flexible and you know, what different types of awards you can list there.

Um, and it kind of the more recent years. Um, so if you have anything, like I would say, you know, um, You know, national competitions, uh, you know, again, that could be slightly academic based, but it could also be non-academic. Um, anything that you’re kind of really receiving kind of, you know, S you know, state national recognition in, but it’s not necessarily academic.

I would still say you can listen the honor section, um, you know, something else that I’m thinking, um, about is like, you know, I had one student [01:01:00] that was highlighted by a news station, a news broadcast station, um, as like impact teen of the year. Uh, that’s not necessarily an academic award, uh, but it is an award nonetheless.

Um, and that could be still placed in the honor section. Uh, so the other part, um, if an activity is just a year of efforts, is that good to list or to avoid? Um, do we need to list activities which have been participated in all. Okay, great. The, the real answer to this is, so you’re saying a one-year versus all four years.

Um, hopefully it’s kind of, uh, kind of in the middle. I mean the most, let me, let me put it like this, the best answer is all four years. Right? Um, even if it’s just one particular activity out of 10 or one out of five, at least just have one activity, okay. That you’re able to show consistency. Um, [01:02:00] in, throughout all of your high school years, the rest of them can be here and there maybe two years, maybe one year, maybe three months, maybe one week then, you know what I mean?

It’s going to vary in time, all your different, your, all your activities, but at least have one or two solid. Activities that really can show, um, that you’re someone that, you know, sticks to something, uh, for a long period of time and, and the, and the longer that duration, uh, the stronger of a statement that makes, so I would say at least have one or two activities, uh, that, that you have been in for years, but then everything else can vary.

And I think that’s kind of the best way to go about it. Uh, if you had any, uh, general last, um, last thoughts or advice that you want to give about the activities list, uh, cause we’re wrapping up right now. Yeah, no problem. Um, you know, again, um, you know, don’t, don’t be humble here, you know, put, you know, again, [01:03:00] put the most significant details first, put the most order, the most significant activities, um, first as well.

Um, and again, if you know, just in case you don’t remember, I’m going to go back to those ABCs. Be bold, be concise. And that’s what I would say. Okay. Well that is the end of our webinar. Thank you everyone for coming and thank you to our panelists. Um, we really had a great time telling you about, uh, creating, um, your activities list.

And here’s the rest of our October series, which is our application deep dive, where we’ll talk about different aspects of the application as well as different application portals next month. Um, we will be doing more of what she should do if you will applied early. Now, what, um, we’ll have different topics on, um, revising, editing your essays and really, um, perfecting your, um, application materials, um, before you submit.

So thank you again to our panelists and thank you everyone for coming out [01:04:00] and good night, they might.