Extracurricular Activities

<p>I'm an international freshman applying for admission to sophomore year at some highly selective American colleges. I'm confused about how to present my extracurricular interests so as to capture the attention and favorable opinion of the admission committees. I know this is HUGE, but I am in desperate need of advice and would really appreciate whatever you have to say to help.
I enjoyed writing, theater, singing, volleyball, badminton, and community service in high school. I've only received formal recognition for my participation in the two sports; as I studied in a small school in Saudi Arabia, where there are limited opportunities for girls, there weren't many contests to participate in or awards to win for the other activities. I just had fun with them.
My favorite activity is writing; I like experimenting with different forms such as poetry, short fiction, script, and creative nonfiction. I've also begun writing a novel. I'm a member of the online community at The Online Community for Writers - Writing.Com. Additionally, I was the founding editor of a newsletter in school. Likewise, I'm a founding editor of a university periodical. I performed lead roles in a couple school musicals and record monologues which I then put online. In the first semester of college, I joined the theater club and acted in a play for a college competition. I sang in a couple talent showcases in high school and in a program at college. I also sing at home and put my amateur work online.
As for community service, I've done a variety of things within school, as public opportunities were almost nonexistant. I joined the student council and served as secretary and class representative because I wanted to improve student life at my high school. Through student government, I organized fundraisers for the victims of the Haitian earthquake, a charity drive for a local orphanage, international day celebrations, a spelling bee, and a free end-of-year social. I also managed the group website. I tutored Saudi girls in English, a subject their schools don't teach till the sixth grade. Furthermore, I raised money for the victims of the Pakistani floods. I also used click-to-donate websites such as Care2 and FreeRice to give to the needy. As a devout animal lover, I recently decided to focus my volunteer work on the environment and the mute beings we share our world with; I see this as my second most important extracurricular. I organized a recycling drive in high school. I became a P.E.T.A. activist, turned vegan, and went online with my campaign against animal cruelty with a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I joined the wildlife club at college and organized educative trips, plantation drives, and a presentation by a renowned conservationist. I've also begun volunteering at a local shelter and writing for an animal publication.
Over the summers, I couldn't participate in extraordinary internships or jobs because I would always go home to India in those months, to a part of the country where such opportunities weren't available. Summer activities included reading, working on college applications, and traveling around the state visiting relatives.
How much of all this should I include in my application? Writing and environmental activism are definitely going in. I feel like the community service that I've done throughout high school is significant, but is all of it worth mentioning? Singing is something I love to do, but I'm no expert. Also, for the part of the application which asks for a brief elaboration of an extracurricular activity, what exactly are colleges looking for? An account of a particular experience? Or a general explanation of the significance of a certain activity? Which of my extracurricular activities do you think would make for a profound interesting read? Does it look bad if the activity I choose isn't one on the top of my common application activities list?</p>

<p>Wow, that's a lot of words for a forum. I can't answer all of your questions, but you need to be able to net out who you are as a person. On your application, if you write like you just did on that post your reader will be exhausted. What do you want to study? What kind of school are you drawn to? What are you stats ... grades/SAT, etc. When you write an essay, don't re-tell what you did above, instead, tell us your perspective of being a female in Saudi Arabia. I am a female and I want to know. All that other stuff is just stuff ... it doesn't stand out uniquely so it will look like words on a page. Pick one thing that really motivates you and make sure that comes out clearly ... to me, that fact that you like to write is clear. The other thing that stands out is your community service related work ... whether its fundraising or saving animals from cruelty or anything else that you listed. The singing and other things are dull because that's not who you are at this point. Good luck ... you are clearly ambitious, not just zoom in on who you really are.</p>

<p>SnowflakeVT, thanks a lot for your input! Sorry about all the words. The post really highlights my passion for writing, doesn't it? =P Yeah, I plan to focus on writing and community service; I'm glad these two activities stood out to you because I do feel like they define me. Should I not include the other stuff on the application at all? I've spent quite a bit of time on volleyball and badminton. Not as much on theater, though I've done more tangible things with it than with singing.</p>

<p>you can include anything in the activities, just put the most important items first. If the badminton and tennis were not part of a formal team, you can put those both on the same line, something like --> Sports: Badminton, Tennis
And you can still list singing, theatre, etc, just don't make these the key focus if they are not. Good luck!</p>