How to Instantly Impress on Your College Applications


Getting involved in activities is a great way to amp up your college application. Here, New York, NY tutor Lauren P. explains how to take it up a notch further…

You’ve likely heard before that demonstrating long-term commitment and leadership in a couple of extracurricular activities, instead of experimenting with something new every semester, can increase your chances of getting into college. Don’t wait around to be voted Vice President or Treasurer of an overcrowded school club. Prove your leadership skills by starting a club today.

Impress Colleges by Demonstrating Leadership

While scholars and athletes may have a greater chance of getting into some colleges, this is not all schools look for in candidates. Like it or not, the institution of higher education is about more than student learning. Colleges improve their ranking when they can boast prestigious alumni. You can demonstrate your ability to become one of these celebrated alumni through the extracurricular activities you include on your college applications. In addition to the activities you are already committed to, what better way is there to exhibit leadership than to write “Club President & Founder” on your application?

Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths

How do you decide what club to start? Found a club that makes the most of your skills and interests, while transforming your weaknesses into strengths. If you are too nervous to be in charge or speak in front of a group, organize your club to suit your leadership style. You could recruit a friend or classmate to be your spokesperson, for example, while you manage from behind the scenes. Read the club ideas below to help you brainstorm your own:

  • If you are a math wiz, start a peer tutoring initiative or a “college placement” club to challenge yourself and others to higher levels of math.
  • If you struggle academically, make it clear on your college application that your academic weaknesses actually fuel your leadership potential and passion to help others in the community. For example, you could start an early intervention club to tutor elementary students who may be falling through the cracks.
  • Are you an aspiring athlete? Coach a weekly sports camp for kids, start a charity kickball league with your peers, or offer volunteer fitness training to the elderly or even your own parents and teachers!
  • Did you forgo AP courses to pursue your love of art, film, or other elective classes? Use your college application to prove you are serious about these pursuits. Found a club dedicated to art, photography, gospel, film, chess, video game design, romance novels, etc. The sky is the limit!

Despite your class schedule, grades, or test scores, your college application can scream leadership potential with the right activities. Simply found a club that allows you (and your peers) to spend more time doing what you love!

Be a Contributing Member of Your Community

Every college wants students who contribute to the community. This is why most college applications ask for volunteer experience. Community service comes in many forms, so choose the type and cause you are passionate about. Come up with ideas based on the activities below:

  • Do you like cooking or baking? Bake away and recruit other chefs for a bake sale or potluck fundraiser for the Red Cross.
  • Are you an athlete? Organize a charitable sporting event with teachers vs. students or seniors vs. freshman to donate to a children’s hospital.
  • Are you a nature-lover? Host a volunteer outing to plant trees, clean up litter, or plant a community garden.
  • Are you a budding artist or politician? Design posters and catchy slogans to get people excited about donating change, clothes, food, etc. to help the homeless.

Once you decide on the cause you want to support, become a leader by committing to a specific number of activities or hours every week or month. If your school already has a community service club, start a separate club dedicated to your cause of choice. If your school won’t allow you to found a new club, become a leader in the existing club by organizing fundraisers, volunteer outings, and awareness campaigns.

Make Summer Vacation Count

Often there is an entire section of the college application dedicated to how you spent your summer. You do not want to leave this blank. This can be as simple as planning a volunteer day with friends or family. Pick up trash, host a fundraiser, or visit a local food pantry or animal shelter. Apply for a job, explore cultural excursions, and continue your club and community service activities over the summer. Filling your college application with extracurricular and summer activities that exhibit leadership and commitment is easy, and can absolutely increase your chances of getting into college. Get started today!

LaurenPLauren tutors in various subjects in New York, NY. She has her Master’s Degree in Education (with a concentration in students with learning disabilities), and is a certified NYC Special Education teacher. Learn more about Lauren here!



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