Thursday, September 10, 2009

How many after-school activities does your child really need to do?

As a college advisor, I recommend that students start projects and continue to work on their projects all through high school. By doing these independent projects, students learn leadership, entrepreneurial, communication and coping skills -- skills that will help them in college, career, and beyond.

College admissions officers are intrigued by students who start non profits or rally friends to help families distressed by a hurricane. They like to see that a student had the initiative to do something that was not required of them. While college admissions officers like to see students involved in after-school or extracurricular activities, they don't want to see a list of 15 activities on their application forms.

So how many activities is enough? Try to keep extracurricular activities down to just one or two. That way, your child can focus on doing a good job and making a difference rather than spread themselves out over too many activities. College admissions committees don't want a Jack of all trades, master of none.

The old school philosophy encouraged students to be "well rounded" so students would join sports teams, clubs, non profits, and more. Unfortunately, these students didn't have time to participate and get involved because they just didn't have the time to go to all of the events. So, don't push your child to take too many activities, just a few of their favorites so they can master them. Encourage them to do a project!

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