While your academic record and personal essay are key parts of your college application, it’s important to put just as much energy into highlighting your extracurriculars and obtaining strong letters of recommendation.
The extracurricular and activities portion of your application is an opportunity for you to show the admissions committee who you are outside of the classroom. On top of your extracurricular page, your letters of recommendation allow the admissions committee to see how others see you, your skills and your accomplishments.
Here are a few tips to ensure your supplemental application materials stand out:
This section of the application is truly a space where you can tell us about all the amazing things you’re participating in outside of the classroom. To start, create a list of everything you participate in at your high school. This could include clubs and organizations, sports teams and leadership roles.
After School Activities
Then consider after-school activities. Do you have an after school job? Are you on a sports team outside of your high school? Do you volunteer at a local organization? Are you an active member within your community of faith? All of these (and more!) are important to include in this section of the application.
Explain the Activity and Your Role
Now that you have a list of all the wonderful things you participate in, you’ll want to think of key points that explain the activity and highlight your role.
One of the most important parts of this explanation is detail. This is your opportunity to show the admissions committee how involved you are and what exactly you do at your job, on your sports team, or in your student club.
This is especially important if you have larger roles within these activities. Whether you’re captain of a team, secretary of a club or shift leader at your job, giving details about your specific roles and duties gives the committee a deeper understanding of who you are.
Here are a couple examples of detailed descriptions:
- Varsity Soccer Player: After a year of playing soccer on the junior varsity team, I made the varsity team and played for my last three years of high school. Once I became an upperclassman, I worked hard to ensure new varsity players felt welcomed on the team. I also helped organize pasta dinner parties the night before game days. I played goalie and was named team captain my senior year.
- Student Council Member: After being recommended by one of my teachers to join student council, I quickly became an active member. I attended after-school meetings and helped with all the events and programs we ran at school. During my junior year, I was elected secretary of the council. This meant that I was in charge of all meeting minutes as well as working with our advisor and president to set the agenda for each meeting.
Letters of Recommendation
Check for Specifics
Be sure to read carefully each college’s application requirements. Some schools may require one, and some schools may require several letters of recommendation for application. At UNE, we encourage but do not require letters of recommendation.
Ask Someone You Know Well
From there, choose someone you know will write a good letter. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be confident this person knows your character and can attest to the hard work you’ll put into your college studies.
Letters of recommendation can come from anyone, except someone in your family. Letters can come from coaches, teachers, school counselors or employers.
Remember Your Application Deadlines
Be sure to give everyone enough time to write the letter so you don’t miss any important application deadlines. The earlier you ask, the better.
Here at UNE, we look forward to learning more about you as we review your applications this fall. As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions throughout the application process.
Interested in learning more about how UNE commits to your success — from your first day to landing your first job? Join us at our next Discover UNE event on Wednesday, November 18th at 7 p.m. EDT! We’ll chat with current students about how they chose their major, the opportunities they’ve explored, and how UNE is preparing them for success after graduation.
After completing his bachelor’s degree at UNE, Andrew joined Undergraduate Admissions in 2019. Just as he did when he was a tour guide, Andrew enjoys connecting with students and getting them ready to apply to college. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys going to the beach all year round and finding new coffee spots in Portland with his friends.