Are you wondering what types of activities you should do to impress colleges?

There is no one activity that colleges are going to think is better than any other activity. Colleges are looking more at the endgame result of what your activities produce more than they are the specific area of interest that your particular activity covers. This blog mostly focuses on very competitive schools with less than a 25% admissions rate and ranked in the top 50 schools on a nationally recognized list. Here are four things colleges are looking for in activities that make you a stand out candidate.

1. Leadership

Leadership can take multiple forms and can be a specific role that you take within an activity you’re involved in. It can also be the idea of taking initiative and being entrepreneurial and making something happen. If you’re coming up with ideas and trying to have an impact on the world around you, that’s what leadership is. There’s a misconception that leadership is simply getting voted by your peers into a position of leadership. Leadership is an attribute that evidences itself in the way that you act and the results that you produce.

2. Excellence

Excellence is simply being really good at whatever you do. One way to show excellence is through traditional extracurricular activities that most high schools offer such as sports, music or academics. Another way to show excellence is through non-traditional ways – being excellent at something that is original or unique. Think outside the box to find ways to showcase your excellence. If you’re good at drawing or writing, find competitions to enter to show your excellence.

3. Commitment

Colleges care about activities that you have committed yourself to and that means spending a good amount of time doing them. A lot of times if you want to be excellent at something you have to devote the time into it. If you’re struggling to find the time to commit to an activity due to regular school work, you can always try to amp up your activities over the summer.

4. Wow factor

Part of the prerequisite for being a wow activity often has to do with the idea of it being something that not every high school student is doing. Wow examples may include qualifying for top competitions or rising to the top of something that is unconventional. Pursuing something that would be impressive even for an adult can also be a wow factor. Try to think of ways that you can be creative and push the envelope and that you can do something that a normal teenager wouldn’t do. If you can do that, you’re going to really stand out to colleges.

Colleges care about these things for very selective admissions and just because you don’t have all this stuff doesn’t mean that you won’t get in to a top college. These traits can be a bonus for your application and help push it forward.