The reason your extracurriculars are even more important than your essays are that you're essays, at the very least one, should be about your extracurriculars. This is what divides you from the rest of the group.
I would recommend showing one BIG extracurricular to have when applying, one that you can talk about forever.
This one is word heavy so read the headlines before proceeding, and I could continue to write forever but I am writing this at 4 in the morning and am missing some components so DM with questions.
RISING SENIORS (applies to rising Juniors)
If you are a rising senior and you don't have a conspicuous choice for your extracurricular, it's going to be more difficult. If this is you, you have to lift your bootstraps and recall all of the times you spent 2+ apart of a club or project. Whether it was a minor club or a church thing, you better extrapolate some heart-wrenching stories from these EC's if you want to stand a chance. The biggest recommendation I have is: GET A JOB. No seriously, if you have lower-than average grades showing that you have a job that you have held for more than 6 months shows commitment and it also shows that you have responsibilities outside of school and EC's.
I worked at a pizza place after my sophomore year to help my family by having them not have to worry about me. But, I was getting too few hours, so I got a job working at 3 AM!! I'm not saying you need to work at 4 AM, because it was technically illegal since I was underage but doing something so ambitious shows dedication. But just having a job will suffice. Whether you are upper-middle class or lower-middle class it shows that you are committed to an education regardless (capitalism sucks!)
If you didn't read the paragraph before because you are a stickler for time and don't have seconds to waste, what you should take from it is: GET A JOB. A simple job goes a very long way during the college application process. You should also join one or two clubs if you have not already. And if you have absolutely NOTHING under your belt, I would recommend starting a club. If you are in the humanities, start a Philosophy club, and have meetings where you talk about whether water is wet (ITS NOT) or the semantics of a chair. If in STEM, JOIN ROBOTICS its not too late to make it to state or national competitions by joining a competitive school team or local organization near you. But even STEM students can create a club, and write about how it changed the way you view the world.
RISING SOPHOMORES AND FRESHMAN
Join something you are passionate about. As a rising Freshman it can be difficult to find your bearings so join a little of everything, and then drop what you don't like. I would HIGHLY recommend joining your schools IT competition. I know at some schools its like speech and debate and their school has won nationals three consecutive years, or the likes. But at my high school, for example, we had a robotics team and I was able to go to WORLDS my freshman year because a team member got sick shortly before the trip (Sorry Devin). Joining a competitive team shows leadership and dedication, especially because it shows that you spend extra time on something you care about. Commit to something early and stick with it to show dedication to colleges.
EXTRAPOLATE EVERY EC YOU HAVE. Don't lie but write about your ECs so that it reflects upon you as a better person. For example, I didn't say I made it to WORLDS my freshman year by default, but that I made it to WORLDS my freshman year, you see? Just get everything from your EC's because this shows and reflects a lot about who you are as a person.
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