Choosing the right extracurriculars

Posted by Neal Schwartz on July 14, 2021

A post-pandemic approach to choosing the right extracurriculars


When building a college profile, it’s important for students to have well-chosen extracurricular activities. Besides being a good student, college admissions officers care about what students are doing in their free time and outside of the classroom, which shows where their real interests lie. But this year, student athletes, dancers and performers are just some of the groups that were all hit hard during the pandemic when everything was suddenly cancelled.

Now that the world seems to be opening up again, students and parents feel a strong need to make up for lost time and to sign up for everything they couldn’t do before. But the pandemic has forced us to reconsider the role of extracurriculars in a student’s life.

According to a recent New York Times article by Shalini Shankar, students should be wary of returning to their pre-pandemic packed schedules. Why? Because we can’t deny the real toll that the pandemic has taken on mental health, and kids just may need to re-evaluate their values. Here are some important questions to consider when re-building an extracurricular schedule.

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Topics: Community Service, college preparation, college admissions, SAT/ACT, college counseling, high school senior, high school junior, extracurriculars

The College Prep Bucket List

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 11, 2018

What has changed about competitive college admissions over the last decade?

With college acceptance rates at an all-time low, qualified students need to find a way to show why they are unique and deserving of admission.

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Topics: College Applications, High school Activities, Community Service, college admissions, admission advice, college prep, college advice, college process, college activities plan, SAT/ACT

What are colleges looking for when they ask about community Service?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on August 16, 2016

One of the most challenging roles of a college advisor is to help parents discern what is expected and accepted in the area of  “community service.”  Despite countless articles, college website information and discussions at college information sessions, we can sound as though we are stifling students' admissions chances by urging caution in this area.   It is refreshing to see an article like this from the New York Times that explains the essence of this issue.  There may well be a difference between the student who tirelessly devotes every summer to a third world community and one who participates in a program for a few days or weeks in search of a good essay topic.

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Topics: College Essays, College Applications, Community Service


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