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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
Among the many questions that pop up often when writing a college application is, “Which of the extracurricular activities in your application is the most meaningful one to you, and what is the reason behind this?” While it would seem like this is a straightforward question in comparison to some other more open-ended type of prompts, you will be shocked to find that it has a potential to grieve you. This is possible, especially, for those who have no idea about the activity that they would like to write on and how to go about the actual writing process. Thankfully, we have broken down what is required of you in a step-wise process that will get your writing motor running instantaneously!
The most crucial aspect that you should consider when you’re faced with prompt essays such as this is narrowing down to the extracurricular activity that you would like to write about. Most schools usually phrase their prompts quite differently, but you should note that these kinds of hints have some common aspects to them. Most of them require you to make descriptions about the extracurricular activities that were of most significance to you or even the ones that you take pride in utmost, and the reasons as to why you found them so impactful.
It is important to note that in this prompt, you are not explicitly asked to talk about those extracurricular activities which rewarded you with the highest accolade numbers or the ones that you held the most elevated leadership positions. The rest of these areas in your application are where you should extol some of your accomplishments. However, even while doing so, you should always bear in mind that personal statements are meant to be “personal” in every nature of the word.
If a prompt requires you to talk about some of your accomplishments, it would be prudent for you to speak about these achievements regarding the manner in which they have motivated and shaped you, instead of how they have decorated your resume.
In light of this, whenever you are in the process of choosing the extracurricular activity to write about, ensure that you have thought deeply concerning those activities that have had the most significant impact on your development and growth. In addition to this, you should also search for the extracurricular activities that reflect best your personal and career-related ambitions.
Whenever you take to writing about extracurricular activities that you are frankly passionate about, you not only make the writing process easier but also ultimately deliver your essay much stronger.
In case you have found any programs, clubs or any other organizations, getting to write about them could be one of the best set of ingredients for coming up with exceptional essays. They not only demonstrate leadership skills and ambition, but they also speak of your passion and willpower to pursue the things that you believe in. On top of this, they paint you as a person who is willing to move out of your way to gain some experience in a particular field. Showing such a degree of passion and interest in a certain subject suggests to colleges that the same dedication and drive will be reflected in the program of your choice if you get admitted.
After all, it is common knowledge that colleges are ever in search for students that can bring passion, dedication, and energy to their respective academic departments. In case you’ve never been a founder of an organization or anything along that wavelength, extracurricular activities that you have served in leadership roles could be equally effective. This is mainly because your abilities as a leader as well as passion and motivation are hard to give a cold shoulder.
If there are extracurricular activities that you participated in which are related to some of the personal aspects in your life, expounding on the manner in which your participation assisted in shaping you can provide unique vantage points to view your personality.
When going about the essay writing process, always ensure that you have the prompt in mind. The worst mistake that anyone can make is changing your paper into another extracurricular activity description, as you would in the activities section. Instead of purely focusing on these extracurricular activities, you should use it as a platform where you can speak to a greater extent about your own experiences and ambitions. Contrary to your other personal statements that were open-ended, essays that you should write to respond to this prompt are not supposed to rely heavily on rhetorical devices and figurative language. Typically, they are fairly restricted in the number of words (usually about 100 to 300), meaning that it is best for you to go straight to the point.
The restrictions in some words, especially, for supplementary essays such as these, are crafted to encourage both directness and brevity in use of language. Regarding this, you should not squander the few words that you’ve been granted on analogies and metaphors. While balancing your extracurricular description with the explanation of the reasons as to why you find it vital to you, the most recommended ratio is 1:2.
For instance, if you have a word limit of 300, you should try and spend about 100 words to describe the extracurricular. The remaining 200 signs should be set aside for linking all your accomplishments in an extracurricular activity to your aspirations and personal goals. Again, this places some spotlight on you and not an extracurricular activity and ensures that you are showcasing yourself effectively to the college’s admissions committee.
Beyond the above stated specific recommendations, most of these guidelines for coming up with other types of personal statements are still at play. Some of them include: always being aware of spelling conventions and grammar, ensuring that you have good sentence structures, creativity with your choice of words and avoiding the use of passive voice among others.
Always bear in mind that essays are not only opportunities for members of college admissions committees to acquire more knowledge concerning various applicants: they are also meant to be a way of evaluating the applicants’ writing skills as well as their ability to respond to that prompts at hand both directly and clearly. We shall say this yet again: always ensure that you have addressed the prompt clearly and accurately!
When extracurricular essays are written commendably, they can prove to be yet one more way in which you can use to present some form of the personal side in your applications, hence allowing the members of admissions committees to gain a better understanding of you. The ability to choose best extracurricular activity is crucial. If you succeed in drawing direct links between your professional, personal or even academic development and the activity at hand, your essay is bound to stand out from the vast array of other essays that are likely to be boasting about things like achieving honors at speech tournaments.
You have a whole application to tell colleges about some of the things that you have accomplished. The aim of personal essays is usually to bring the applicant responsible for these applications into the spotlight. What are the activities that you have an unquenchable passion for? In what manner has this passion showed its fruits during your high school tenure? Once you can answer this question, you will be on track to coming up with an exceptional essay about your most significant extracurricular.