One of my colleagues spoke with a parent the other day who mentioned that her child was reluctantly continuing with a particular activity because someone told him colleges want to see consistency in activities. I'd like to share my thoughts on extracurricular activities.
We want students who will contribute in our community during their time at UVA. There are many ways and venues in which to make a contribution - through work in the classroom, research, at a job, in student organizations (we call them CIOs here), in the residence hall, around Charlottesville, etc. The simple question that is in the back of my mind as I read a student's file is "will this student contribute in some way?"
1. We don't value certain activities over others.
There are over 900 student organizations at UVA. All of those CIOs make UVA the interesting, innovative, and fun place that it is. Whether you are involved in the most popular club at your school or the most obscure one, we'll be happy that you are making a difference in some facet of your school community.
2. We don't expect you to fill out the entire Common App activity chart.
Most students aren't significantly involved in enough activities to fill every line of the activity chart. This isn't about who has the longest list, it's about understanding where a student spends their time outside of the classroom. The length of your list is not a factor in our review.
3. You don't have to show consistency.
If you are one of the lucky students who found an activity you love early on and have maintained involvement in it throughout high school, that's wonderful! If your interests have evolved over time, you are totally normal! You're a teenager and you are allowed to change your mind about your activities. Please don't apologize if your activities haven't been long-term.
It's fine if your activity list shortens a little bit in junior and/or senior year. As academic responsibilities increase, it makes sense to reshuffled your priorities and let one or two activities fall by the wayside. If you don't have to do this in high school, you'll certainly have to do it in college. Most first-years sign up for a few too many CIOs and realize about a month into school that they have to cut back!
The tl;dr: If you have something to put down in the activity section, we'll be happy.
|Jack's activity list: looking cute and greeting visitors|