...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

How do you create the ultimate activities list?

ultimate activities list - original


Sports, clubs, academic competitions, music, work, social activism?  Colleges care about how you spend your time outside of class. Here are 3 steps to the Ultimate Activities List.

Write down ALL the activities you have been involved in during high school.  As your get this information down, include:

  • Name of the organization or activity you were involved in. Don’t use abbreviations. The reader may not know what ASB or DECA is.
  • A description of the activity or organization. What is the focus of the activity or organization.
  • All activities. Don’t forget about other groups or organizations you belong to outside of school. Youth groups, club or recreational sports, work, performing arts, talents (such as music) or hobbies count too.
  • Grade level(s) participated in. Include whether you did an activity 1 year or all 4 years.
  • Occasional activities. Doing a food drive once a year counts. Include those once or twice activities.

Add the DETAILS.  Be sure to go back and include this information on your activity list:

  • How many hours per week you participated in the activity or organization. Be real – don’t be stingy on your hours but overestimate your commitment.
  • How many weeks per year you participated in the activity or organization. Count 1 week for activities you did once.
  • Your level of involvement. Especially include any leadership role you may have held.  Show your growing level of involvement too. If you moved from participant to team leader; or held an office.

Now PRIORITIZE. The Common App only allows for 10 activities. Give priority to the following items on your activity list.

  • Activities that demonstrate your passion.  Colleges want to understand who you are – how you spend your time outside of school give colleges a better sense of what makes you, you!  
  • Activities with lots of hours.  Hours count. Make sure the activities you spend the most time are listed at the top.
  • Activities with leadership – even if it’s not a named position like “president”. Leadership roles – both formal and informal – demonstrate your commitment, work ethic, and enthusiasm. Highlight them!

Take Action

By organizing now you will stand out on your college applications.  Use Guidepath to update or start your activity list in Surveys. Make copies of your Ultimate Activity List to send to the teachers and others you have asked to be a recommender.