If you took a peek through the window of your local university’s admission office between September and March, you’d probably see a frenzy of activity and piles of papers as admissions counselors sift through thousands of applications from hopeful high school seniors. How, you may wonder, does an aspiring student make their application stand out, instead of blending in with all the others? One way is to give the admissions office as much information about a student as possible. Homeschoolers can do this with transcripts, course descriptions, and reading lists, but there’s another list that is often overlooked, and that’s the activity and awards list.
An activity list is just a list that shows all the activities your student has done in the four years of high school. The most important activities to include at the head of the page are the ones that your child participated in for the longest time. Colleges value this kind of long-term activity, because it demonstrates that your child will probably be able to stick with the long-term commitment of a four-year college degree.
Don’t forget to include any leadership positions your child held. If they participated in something such as Boy Scouts each year, make sure to include it (and if they achieved Eagle Scout, definitely put it on the list)! Activities of shorter duration can also be included, towards the end of the list. These include any short-term activities that were particularly meaningful to your child, such as a mission trip. Other events of short duration may be left off the list if they weren’t particularly significant.
Most activities are engaged in with an organization or group, and some of them might also earn a student high school credit. When I was in high school, I earned credit for being in the school choir, and it was also included on my activities list. Playing a musical instrument or being in a journalism or yearbook club are other examples of activities that are both academic in nature (thus earning high school credit) and which can also be included on an activity list.
Like an activity list, an awards list is simply a list of the special positions, commendations, or notifications your child received during high school. It doesn’t matter whether these were small or large; if your child was recognized for something, it should go on this list. Awards could include being a student leader in an activity, being invited to compete in a scholarship, or winning an award (however small). Colleges will see these awards and recognize your child has been doing good things!
Including an activity and awards list with your transcripts will help your student stand out from the crowd of other college applicants, leading to more admissions and scholarships! In addition to creating great transcripts and course descriptions, make sure to educate yourself about the college admission process so you can prepare your student for success.
What’s on your child's list? Please share!
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