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How activities and extracurriculars can help you get into your dream college or university

How activities and extracurriculars can help you get into your dream college or university

Grades are a factor for colleges or universities during the student selection process but there’s more to it than that. Yes, schools do care about grades, but recruiters are also looking for well-rounded individuals with transferable skills. Fortunately, there are several ways you can help your child build on their experience to stand out from the competition. The sooner they get ready for the application process, the better!

Get them out of their comfort zone

Encourage your kids to take on new challenges as a way to expand their knowledge. Schools often find students who exhibit a variety of interests, very appealing. Suggest a new extracurricular activity such as a team sport, learning a new language or taking up a musical instrument.

Work on communication skills

You could have the best idea in the world and be the smartest person in the room but if you can’t explain yourself clearly to others, those ideas could get lost in translation. Having the confidence to articulate in a compelling way will help your child stand out from the crowd. A leadership workshop or presentation and interpersonal skills training would no doubt look good on an application.

Encourage work or volunteer experience

Whether it’s a full-time job or volunteer work, it’ll count towards real work/life experience. Many jobs will teach your child how to better communicate with others, manage timelines and adapt within a team environment, which are all transferable skills that schools value. Some students may even decide to take a full gap year to volunteer or work to build on these skills.

Help them find a unique selling point

Have your child look at the application process from a fresh perspective. Ask them why they’re so passionate about attending their dream school in the first place and suggest including a thoughtful, well-written personal statement in their application. What makes him or her a good fit for the school and how do they stand out from the crowd?

Motivate proactive behaviour

Schools are looking for students with innovative ideas and fresh thinking. There are many things your teen can do to become a self-starter – mentoring a younger group, teaching music lessons, writing a blog or starting their own logo design company. If they don’t have the technical skills, there are plenty of online programs that offer a variety of classes, like Skillshare. Any activity will demonstrate their ability to take initiative.

Help them learn from life’s little lessons

They may not even realize it, but kids gain perspective from even the smallest life experiences, like taking care of pets, watching their siblings or doing the grocery shopping. What your child does on a daily basis teaches them a lot about the world and who they are as a person. All of these experiences give them more to draw from during the application process when an interview or character-focused essay is required.

Get them thinking about the future

No one is expecting your child to have it all figured out for the next 10-20 years, but much like employers, schools are interested in a candidate’s projected career plan upon graduation. Helping your child determine future objectives and goals will show recruiters they’ve thought it through, that they’re headed in the right direction towards finding the right career path.