#28 What extracurriculars should your teen pursue? Transcript



I think the students who I’ve seen have lower anxiety have done the work while they’re in high school, some of it via their extracurriculars to really know where they’re headed and make informed decisions. At the time they’re applying to college where they can check. I am applying to this major and have a level of confidence in that decision that they’ve done.


So use your extracurriculars to help facilitate that.


Recently, I was working with a group of students. We were talking about college applications. This student, a rising senior, going to apply to college in the fall of 20, 22 was faced with the activities or otherwise known as the extracurr. Section of the common app for the colleges that he was applying to.


And while they allow for 10 activities that the student pursued in high school to be reflected on the application, this student only had five. And his question to me was, is that bad? I said it is what it is, but let’s talk a little bit more. On this episode of college and career clarity, I’m going to come solo to you to just explore this idea of good extracurriculars, bad extracurriculars.


How many should you have? What do they look like? And how will this reflect on who you are when you go to apply to college? Heading into the coming school year. This is a fantastic time to just hit pause and maybe reevaluate where students are investing their time as we head into the new school year.


And they may find that they wanna make some changes. So let’s dive right in to a solo episode, all about extracurriculars, how students are investing their time outside the C. And that’s really where I should start. So. Often I’ve met students, maybe not often, but not seldom who think that extracurriculars are anything that they are doing through their high school, perhaps a sport, a club theater, marching band, things like that, but that it has to be associated with the high school.


That is not true. So I encourage you first of all, to put a broader lens on extracurriculars. Extracurricular activities that the colleges will want to learn about are any way that you invest your time outside of the classroom. So that could be your community service. That’s unrelated to anything that you’re doing at high school.


That could be that you are in the. Teen, some phonic orchestra for your location that has nothing to do with your high school. It could be your paid work. So there are a lot of ways that students invest their time outside of the classroom, and it doesn’t have to be those activities that are related only to your school.


So you just wanna think about how do you spend your time outside of the classroom? Now, as I mentioned before, the common app, which nearly 1000 of the 3000 or so four year universities use for students to apply to college. It’s, it’s really a fantastic idea because you fill out one application and it goes to all the colleges.


So it’s a huge time saver, which is really great. This allows for 10 activities. That does not mean that a student should have 10. I’ve worked with students who have a fantastic extracurricular list and they don’t have 10. I’ve also worked with students who have 12, 15, 20, and they have to par it down to 10.


When they go to apply to college, it doesn’t necessarily mean they eliminate some of what they’ve done and they don’t reflect it on the application. Sometimes we’re merging, sometimes we are eliminating, but that is how that. Works as far as how many you get to reflect. So let’s go back to the student’s question.


Was it bad that he only had five? No, but what I would encourage all teens to think about and their parents can help facilitate this idea is how does that activity list speak to who you are, where you’re going and your personal goals. A common question that I get besides how many is, what’s a high value extracurricular?


What will the colleges think of this? So let’s explore this idea of what are extracurriculars that we should pursue. Have a bit of a checklist for students. First of all, do you like it? I don’t believe that any student should be investing time outside the classroom in something that they don’t enjoy. If it’s painful, then why are you doing it?


If you’re doing it to check a box on a college application or to look better, or it is requiring you to be someone that you are not, then that would be a fantastic reason to cut that extracurricular. So really reflect on if you like it next. I always say I’ve got two PS and two LS that I like students to filter their extracurriculars through.


So the two PS, is it a purposeful pursuit? And I encourage students to be purposeful about their pursuits, every extracurricular that you are pursuing should. And does communicate something about you. Perhaps it communicates a future goal that you have, it might be centered on your future college, major or career, or at least the work that you’re doing to try to figure that out.


It could align with a community that’s important to you. Everything that’s on that list is going to communicate who you are, what your purpose is and what lights you up. So filter it through that is communicating something about you next. Look for opportunities for longevity and leadership. I don’t love it.


When I see an activities list for a student, as they’re closing out their high school career. It’s, you know, they’re heading into that senior year and they’re applying to college and they’ve got a whole long list, a long list of things that they did for a hot minute. They did it for a semester, a school year or a one time event, but they didn’t have a stick with itness on their extracurriculars.


Developing a stick with itness will communicate that you are invested. It will also open up opportunities to lead. So a freshman is not going to be leading an organization, a club, a sport. They’re not gonna be mentoring the younger students, but as they stick with an activity, an extracurricular for a longer period of time opportunities to begin to lead.


Mentor cultivate within that activity will become a. Not all students are going to step into those opportunities and perhaps your student didn’t and that’s okay. Not, everybody’s going to lead mentor, organize. I’m working with some students right now, who co-star a club at their school to facilitate community and have fun.


So they’re the automatic leaders. That’s another way to get leader. But leadership is not going to come out of something that you don’t have longevity with, or that you don’t start on your own. I’m a huge fan of students starting clubs or organizations, or bringing a national organization into their school.


Not so long ago, a student of mine, their high school had no extracurriculars related to health, sciences, and explorations of that field. I encouraged them to start a local chapter at their high school of HOSA and they did, and that is thriving now. Years later and it’s giving other students the opportunity.


So there’s a number of ways that you can start something. Now, should you stick with something just to have longevity and leadership opportunities? If you find it’s not for you? Absolutely not. I have a student who I previously worked with. Who’s now a college graduate, so it’s been a while. She had always been a student athlete.


She had been a runner. She had been a soccer player. That’s where she invested her time through elementary school, middle school, and was somewhat accomplished at it, but she was losing her love for that. So instead after doing all of the athletics things, her freshman year, there was a small voice inside her that.


Speaking to her to try her hand at music singing specifically. She did a complete 180 and went all in on a variety of different opportunities around the musical vocal musical and ended up sticking with those things. So it, for her, it was wise to go ahead and stop being a student athlete and pursue something else.


And it, again, spoke to something she liked. Purposeful pursuit. And she still had opportunity to get longevity and leadership and even won some awards. One test you can filter your activities through is how hard is it to describe or communicate your level of activity with this extracurricular. If you’re a runner on the cross country or track.


Um, it’s pretty intuitive. It’s self explanatory college admissions officer, or your grandma  does not need an explanation for what you’re doing. If you’re running track. The harder your activity is to describe the more context that the student needs to give, to list it on their application or share it with grandma over at the family birthday dinner is perhaps going to have more value at times, unique, not cliche and having some activities that you pursue.


That need that hard to describe need that. Hey, I’ve gotta really like give context to this can communicate what a high value extracurricular it. Now let’s talk about the outcomes of your extracurriculars. I started with a student who is applying to college. He was concerned about what he was putting into his applications.


This is like great time heading into a new school year. If you’re listening to this, when it drops live to think about what you’ll be communicating in the future and what it says about. So inside my launch career clarity course, which we’re opening the doors to again in September 22. And I’m excited to get started.


I teach about using your extracurriculars to help facilitate making informed decisions on the student’s future major and the career. That is the desired outcome of the education that Hey parents, you’re probably getting ready to spend six figures on investing in your child. Most of the college applications are going to ask to what major are you applying?


And at some schools for some majors, if the student does not apply in the senior year, when they’re a rising senior, the opportunities to switch to that later are limited, or the door is closed and completely eliminated. There’s a number of paths like that. For instance, I have two students right now, one a sophomore wanna a freshman at Boston college.


You go into your program, you go into your college and you are required to stay there for a year. There’s no changing. You really want to, as you’re building out your college list, look at how that relates. I think the students who I’ve seen have lower anxiety have done the work while they’re in high school, some of it via their extracurriculars to really know where they’re headed and make informed decisions.


At the time they’re applying to college where they can check. I am applying to this major and have a level of confidence in that decision that they’ve done the work. So use your extracurriculars to help facilitate. One of my students and she’ll be on an upcoming episode. I think I have it coming in early September, is Sarah.


She is a chemical engineering major at the University of Dayton. She’s gonna share her student success story with us, but I think back when Sarah was in high school and she did a job shadow. In a food scientist lab, and I’m gonna let her tell the story in the upcoming episode, but she ended up using that as a fantastic experience that she then reflected through her college application and her personal statement, the essay, the basically biographical essay.


That is a story. And a personal narrative that you share in your essay that goes out to all of the colleges. And it was a really great reflection of who she is, where she was going, and it was fun to read. So you’re going to be able to share about these experiences, not only, maybe in your personal statement.


But another spot would be many colleges ask you to write what is a supplemental essay. So a supplemental essay is an essay that a specific college asks you to write on just for them. It doesn’t go out to any of the other colleges. We actually have a previous episode on all the essays that you’ll need to write, uh, with Betsy kale.


And I will link to it in the show notes where she went through all of these. But many of them will say, tell us about your favorite extracurricular, some version of that. And the student writes a shorter than the personal statement, the personal statement, 650 words, but they will write a shorter essay on their favorite extracurricular, or just a fantastic extracurricular experience that they had.


That’s one way that your extracurriculars, besides that activities list will be reflected in the college application. Another common topic is why you’re major. So many colleges will say, tell us why you want to study that major at our school and often pulling in from the activities or extracurriculars that the student has had.


This is an opportunity to tell a little bit more about what you’ve pursued and how that connects to who you are and where you’re going. Finally. The next one that comes to mind is the community essay. Many colleges will ask. What’s a community that you belong to. What’s your place in it? What do you get out of this community?


And what do you give to that community? I’ve never had a student who that community that they belong to. Isn’t reflected in that activities list. They’re involved in a community and they’re giving to it and they’re taking away from it. And that then is an opportunity through. Common supplemental essay to further speak to the activities that the student has been pursuing outside the classroom.


Now for those of you that are inside my launch career clarity course where students have access to a full year. I provide an extracurricular template. I wanna remind you, so dive back in over there for my listeners who already have done the course, you have an extracurricular template to help facilitate this process of what am I pursuing, kind of figuring.


Is there something I should eliminate stick with, add to, so what’s working, what’s not working. What do I wanna keep doing? Stop doing, start doing as I head into the next year. And by the way that this is set up, when it comes time to apply to college, all of my students just copy and paste it over another common app because I’ve already facilitated that for.


So my weekly challenge, you guys know that I always have one for your family. I encourage you to have a college bound family appointment every single week. And my weekly challenge this week is to have an intentional conversation around planning the student’s time, outside the classroom. What does that weekly cadence look like?


And where are you investing your. Do you like it? Is it a purposeful pursuit? Do you have longevity in leadership opportunities? And is it somewhat hard to describe and not everything needs to be purposeful or longevity in leadership and hard to describe, but the highest value extracurriculars will be.


So if you’re listening to this on the day, it drops tomorrow, July 27th, I am having a work. On planning your college bound calendar for the 20 22 23 school year. I’ve got worksheets and templates and conversation starters so that you can create space to have a well planned calendar. Get all the important things done and have some breathing room.


We all need breathing room during our. If you’re listening to this after the fact, I still encourage you to sit down as a family, use your weekly college bound conversation that you’re doing as a family and revisit these ideas so that your student feels balanced and that they’re pursuing what lights them up, because ultimately, what do we all want as parents happy students who are eventually after college going to launch into, I depend.


And be fulfilled. Okay. Launchers, great talking to you and have a fantastic week. And don’t forget to do the work to plan and be intentional about the upcoming school year.