Starting is the hardest part. I know it sounds cliché, but it is true. Whether it is starting a new job, getting yourself to go to the gym, or in this case getting started with your college applications. Olin College’s Office of Admission and Financial Aid is here to help you through each step of the dreaded “blank page syndrome.” This post will be walking you through the “Activities” section of the Common Application.
At Olin College, we review applications holistically. This means we want to know about you as a whole person. Not dissimilar to other schools, Olin really prides itself on its commitment to creating a diverse, and welcoming, community. When reviewing applications, we are not just looking for the applicant who will come to Olin and get straight A’s. We are looking for a caring, compassionate, impact-centered community member and teammate. One of the many ways we can determine this is through the “Activities” section of the Common Application. I have included some general advice below for tackling this section from the perspective of an Olin Admission Counselor.
#1. Anything is an activity! I know the typical extracurricular activities people think about are athletic or academic organizations organized by your school. While these are great activities to get involved in, they are far from the only extracurriculars we are looking at during the admission process. Do you have a part time job? That is an activity! Do you have to look after your younger siblings after school? That is an activity! Do you do community service on the weekend? That is an activity! Do you work as a summer camp counselor when school is not in session? That is an activity! We want to see what you are doing outside of academics, tell us everything!
#2 Quality over Quantity! If your school offers 100 clubs, that doesn’t mean the expectation is to be in every single club! Your depth of involvement in extracurricular activities is just as significant as the quantity of activities. While we appreciate your enthusiasm for getting involved, we want to see what you are really passionate about. We learn a lot more about who you are by seeing which clubs you chose to dedicate your time to.
#3 Be a Leader! Now, I am not saying you need to be the president or captain of every club and team you are on, but you should be making an impact. It is important to be an active member that is engaged and committed to what you are involved in. How have you made a change in the organization? What do you contribute to it? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself as you fill out the “Activities” section. And if you cannot think of anything, it is not too late to start taking a more active role in what you are passionate about.
Overall, just be yourself! I know you have probably heard that on repeat throughout the college application process, but it is true. We get to find out a little bit more about you, what makes you stand out and how you will contribute to the institution’s community. So do not be afraid!
The Office of Admission and Financial Aid at Olin College of Engineering is so excited to get to know you by learning about everything you choose to dedicate your already limited time to!