The best extracurricular activity for college admissions

Gauri Khatri

Gauri Khatri

Founder, Pegasus Global Consultants

It is a well-known fact that the extra-curricular activities play a significant role in MBA applications. Whenever an MBA admission committee review an application, they often go straight to the extra-curricular section of the application to gain an insight of the applicant. Business schools not only want the applicants who excels in studies rather they are looking for the active contributors to the community. By looking at different extra-curricular activities in an application, the reviewers try to gauge the commitment and sense of purpose of an applicant. Any extra-curricular activity which is not related directly to the occupation or job demonstrates the creativity driven by the passion. This section of the application is an opportunity to showcase your leadership skills, initiative, collaboration, risk taking capabilities and passion for a cause.

Now coming to some of the most helpful extra-curricular activities which can give an edge to a MBA application, it is important to keep in mind that the MBA committee doesn’t have any sure shot criteria for approval but they are always looking for the applicants that have something unique to offer not only to their cohort and business school but to the entire community as a whole.

Some of the suggestions for extra-curricular activities are –

1. Volunteering – An all-time favourite activity is volunteering. It can always take a leading role in advocating your candidacy. Showcasing your volunteering experiences can help you to stand out among hundreds of the other applications with similar professional backgrounds. It conveys your competencies and communicate your character and values. Some of the ways to volunteer are-

i) To teach underprivileged children regularly

ii) To raise money through fund raising events

iii) Organize events for a social cause

iv) Working in an NGO in the spare time

You should be able to quantify and succinctly describe the unique contribution, learnings and impact of that experience in their application. It should be fact based and well supported by quantifiable details. It must be specific, and it should illustrate skills and experiences linked to your career goals to help strengthen your story and show passion and commitment to this goal. For e.g. If you volunteer to teach underprivileged children, be specific about what motivated you to take up this cause and elaborate your contribution by giving details such as names, or any fund-raising event you have organized pertaining to your cause. Volunteering gives a great opportunity to fill gaps in the professional experience. For e.g. if team management is crucial for your long-term goal but you haven’t had the opportunity to lead teams professionally, this is the perfect opportunity to highlight the team management experience.

2. Pursuing a Hobby- Any passion, interest or hobby completely unrelated to the career goals can also reveal a fascinating insight about an applicant. Having a creative hobby is associated with positive traits like creativity, passion, drive and a better attitude on the job. Positioning your hobby in your MBA application with specific details where you can demonstrate consistency and discipline in the pursuit of interest is important. Again, it should be well supported by facts and evidences.

Some of the other ideas that you can explore-

i) Any activity or social cause which can demonstrate traits and qualities like leadership, team management, focus which are required in your career path in the future.

ii) Any skill building activity such as learning new language, developing communication skills by taking public speaking classes.

In the end, the most important thing is to incorporate relevant and impactful activities in your application. The ones which can give you an edge over others and strengthen your application in a meaningful way even if it means dropping off the ones very close to your heart.

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