The college experts at Campus Bound get asked this question a lot, “Which is better, many years of the same activity, or lots of different activities?” There isn’t a simple answer to this, so allow us to explain in this blog post.
If we had to pick one, it would probably be quality. It’s impressive to a college if a student has stuck with a sport, club or job for several years. It’s even more impressive if the student has “moved up,” for instance, from JV to Varsity. This demonstrates that a student can stick with things and not give up when an activity or task is more demanding. Colleges also love when a student acquires a leadership position. If an applicant was chosen to lead a particular club, or direct a play, for example, a prospective college will be impressed.
It’s important to note that we don’t mean “quantity” as in doing as many different things as humanly possible. Some students think more is better, so they join many clubs but rarely participate. Colleges can see right through this, especially when clubs are seemingly joined randomly or during senior year to “pad” an applicant’s resume or application.
However, colleges would like to see some different activities on a student’s resume. We advise students to have at least one community service activity and one school activity. Additionally, it’s great if a student has had a job, internship, and/or athletic experience. Having more than one activity to showcase demonstrates to colleges that an applicant is well rounded and accomplished in more ways than one.
As you can tell, the answer isn’t perfectly clear, and honestly, it’s different for each student. Colleges love when students have a resume that shows both quality (depth of experience) and quantity (more than one activity in order to show multiple experiences). That’s why we encourage students to meet with a college advisor once fairly early in high school, typically during sophomore or junior year, to get advice about which activities to get involved in to strengthen their application. If you think a Campus Bound counselor can help, contact us today.