Imagine the day you send in your college application. You may be experiencing that sudden wave of doubt that hits many students through the same process. Did you mention all your extracurriculars? Was your representation accurate? Will the admissions board verify those activities?
The short answer is yes. The college takes those extracurriculars very seriously, and they will verify them through various methods. Throughout this article, you will learn how colleges prove extracurriculars, how they evaluate them, and why they even matter in the first place.
Why Do Extracurricular Matters in College Admission?
Extracurricular activities are an essential part of every student’s application. However, there are multiple reasons why colleges focus on the list of past activities you have participated in. It’s not about the looks and showing off. Instead, it revolves around the development and growth of personality.
First and foremost, your participation in such activities demonstrates commitment and dedication to something outside of academics. While each institute wants excellent grades, they want you to be interested in other aspects. Extracurriculars have also been linked to better success in school.
Moreover, according to the Department of Education, extracurricular activities enhance academic achievement, character development, social involvement, and community participation. Every college wants you to showcase your leadership, teamwork, and creative skills, as they value innovation and uniqueness.
Yet, the most distinguished reason is how extracurriculars can help distinguish you from other applicants. As thousands of students apply to the same colleges yearly, you will have similar grades and GPAs as many other applicants. Hence, the only other thing that will make you stand out is extracurricular activity.
Admission committees seek students who will contribute positively to their institute. That often includes your participation in the community on campus, research contribution, and overall fit as a student.
But which extracurricular activities should you pursue to stand out? The first thing to note is that you should not seek an experience unless you genuinely enjoy doing it. That said, Crimson Education provides various examples of activities to consider. Some include internships, competitions, volunteering opportunities, sports, or theater.
But what about the consequences of misrepresenting extracurricular activities? It can lead to rejection if you get caught as you undermine the intelligence of the admission committee. Moreover, the unethical results might have a personal impact on your future. For example, if they discover your fraudulent claims, you might get suspended later.
How Do Colleges Evaluate Extracurricular Activities?
Different schools evaluate the extracurriculars on a college application differently. However, these activities often account for 30% of your submission. As for the aspects that the college admission officers consider when evaluating extracurricular activities, they usually boil down to the following:
- Quality over quantity. According to HuffPost, the depth of involvement always outweighs the number of activities you pursue. You might seem superficial if you participate in various activities. The committee wants someone who can contribute to the school.
- Demonstration of leadership. Colleges love students who commit to leadership roles. Holding such positions shows that you take the initiative, organize your tasks, and collaborate with others.
- Diversity. Having diversity in extracurricular activities is different than having too many of them. Exploring diverse interests shows your drive to challenge yourself in other areas.
- Passion. Being passionate about your interests is the same as demonstrating a fondness for the field you are applying to. Every admission committee would love for you to show your genuine interest in the activity and how it positively impacted your life.
- Impact on you and the community. Not only do extracurriculars impact your personal life and academic potential, but they also allow you to contribute positively to your community. Hence, it is essential to highlight how such experiences impacted your life and allowed you to contribute to the rest of the world.
Overall, colleges’ approach to evaluating your extracurriculars is holistic. While various factors are involved, they still want to see what activities challenge you, change you, and allow you to develop novel skills.
Do Colleges Verify Extracurriculars?
Do colleges verify extracurricular activities? The short answer is yes. Many colleges double-check the activities you have listed. However, the extent of steps they take to verify your documents and lists depends on the college and the specific experience.
There are various ways in which the committee can verify extracurricular activities. For example, they can contact the organization or the leader of the organization to confirm the student’s involvement. They can also request your documentation to ensure your statements and claims are accurate.
Attaching certificates, awards, or letters of recommendation to your application would be a good idea.
Do you need proof of extracurricular activities? It depends on whether the college you are applying to asks you for additional links or documents before you submit your application. They can always request supplementary supportive material after you have submitted your application.
That said, think about it this way: If you were an admissions officer, you would be curious if you find out an applicant has participated in a unique activity or has listed a phenomenal record for a sporting event. Hence, as a student, consider adding external links to your application to verify some activities.
5 Ways on How Colleges Verify Extracurricular Activities
How do colleges verify your extracurriculars? The verification process behind extracurricular activities can be a daunting task. However, not everyone proves the activities; not all will be evaluated. For example, no one might double-check the fact if you state that you have participated in your high school’s basketball team.
However, you might be investigated to verify the claim if you claim to have received a distinction in a Modern United Nations conference. Read on to find out how a college can verify your extracurricular activities.
Contacting activity leaders
The most straightforward and unbiased method of verifying information is reaching out to the head of the organization or event. This could include coaches, club advisors, or leaders. This will allow them to confirm your involvement and level of participation.
If you claim to have received awards or certification, the college might contact you for documents or scans of certificates you have received. Another documentation option could be in the form of letters of recommendation.
In our digital age, anyone can access information through online databases. So how do admission officers verify information in college applications? Sometimes, they can find data about you through the Common Application. Another option that the Common Application offers is that it allows students to invite their supervisors to confirm participation in activities.
Almost anyone can access your information through social media. Admission officers can attempt to check posts, photos, and Google information about you. Other websites related to the organization or the specific event you participated in will allow officers to check the validity of your data.
In some cases, although often rare, colleges may want to conduct random audits. Sometimes, admissions officers will choose an arbitrary college application to verify. This does not usually happen in a typical college admission setting.
Instead, more competitive and prestigious institutes perform random audits since they receive many applications and aim to ensure that all details are represented accurately. You can read more about Stanford’s audit process as an example.
Wrapping Things Up: How Do Colleges Verify Your Extracurriculars?
Any extracurricular activity will substantially weigh the final decision regarding your application process. They are an essential factor in demonstrating your interests and skills outside school. However, remember that misinterpreting your information will result in severe consequences.
Not only might the admission officers find out, but the process of doing so is unethical. Hence, focus on being truthful and accurate about your involvement in all your activities, and remember that institutes have various methods of verifying the extracurricular activities that you’ve stated.