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    How Extracurricular Activities Benefit Grades and College Admission

    Posted May 22, 2019, 2:51 pm by David Wachtel

    Research supports the positive academic and social outcomes when a student is engaged in sports, volunteering, clubs, organizations, and work-related activities throughout primary, middle, and in particular during a student’s high school years.

    A student who is consistently involved develops better organizational and time-management skills, which correlate to better academic performance. Also impacting academic performance is a student’s engagement with their school or organization. By participating in one or more activities throughout high school, like marching band, track team, or student government, a student’s identity grows along with their connection and commitment to other individuals in the organization. Many organizations, like sports or honor societies, have academic success as a condition for acceptance and ongoing participation. In either scenario, a student understands the reason and has a purpose for academic achievement.

    As important, the work effort put forth in extracurricular activities alongside their peers helps students develop stronger mindsets and behavior standards that are essential for success. These standards include perseverance, leadership, empathy, collaboration, and cooperation skills to name a few. The byproduct of developing a strong set of standards is cumulatively referred to as someone’s emotional intelligence, or EQ.

    In the last few years, college admissions officers have begun to assign greater weight to a student’s extracurricular activities. They are not only examining how much time was spent in specific activities, but looking for the evidence of a student’s EQ that reveals itself in teacher/counselor recommendations, in the content of their essays, and during interviews. Admissions officers want incoming students who can bring their unique experiences to the student body but also possess the character needed to adjust, thrive, and contribute while enrolled. Admissions officers are also motivated to keep early dropout rates low and maximize graduation success, which relates to a student’s EQ. These statistics are important for marketing purposes but can also impact federal grant and scholarship allocations.

    In response to the increased attention being applied to a student’s extracurricular activities, MePlusMore developed an online application that makes it easy to create a digital portfolio students can share with key stakeholders in the college and scholarship application process. With a dynamic, sharable portfolio, students are able to shine a spotlight on their hours of work and the awards and achievements they earn in their activities outside of the classroom.

    MePlusMore’s application allows a parent or student to easily convert the hours they are already keeping on their electronic calendar into specific categories, as well as adding the details and digital evidence of their accomplishments. Beginning as early as freshman year in high school, students have shared their digital portfolio with these key stakeholders:

    • Teachers/Counselors – To stay front of mind leading up to and when asking for letters of recommendation.
    • Admissions Officers – Further demonstrate interest by sending updates to the contacts met on campus tours.
    • Recruiters – Show coaches your hours of dedication and what other activities have built character.
    • Internship Coordinators – To get an edge in securing junior summer internships.
    • Scholarship Committees – Provide the evidence of extracurricular activities for non-merit based scholarships.
    • Alumni – Let an alumnus see the full details of time spent outside of the classroom before the interview.
    • Electronic College Application – Include a link to a full or custom portfolio to supplement essay responses or the extracurricular activities listed.
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    David Wachtel

    David Wachtel

    David Wachtel is the CEO of MePlusMore, LLC and has served Arizona’s EdTech and startup community for the past 10 years. In addition to his role as CEO, David is an Academic Associate at Arizona State University’s Entrepreneur and Innovation organization. For more information, please visit www.meplusmore.com.