So you're on the school's chess team, the debating team and you are a provincial swimmer - these all look good on your university applications right? Not really! These are all pretty common extracurriculars for an international admissions officer. What will look great however, is an application that shows that you have really differentiated yourself, an application so different that the Admissions Officer would not have seen anyone like you before.
International universities want a diverse student body and look for students that are individually different but together, form a diverse and talented campus. Your peculiarities are what top Institutions find appealing! So let your quirks be the difference, even if your friends laugh at you!
If you are a swimmer with the ability to become South Africa’s next gold medalist, great! This will differentiate you! But most people, especially teenagers, love the idea of being an Olympic medalist but are not prepared to put in the 10,000 hours to make it. If you are not in the 0.00027% of athletes that are good enough to make the Olympic team, you need to start differentiating yourself in other ways. Don't merely spend time giving back to your community in the same way your parents did 30 years ago. You need to spend time thinking out of the box and come up with new and exciting methods.
Here are some extracurricular idea's that will help you shine:
- Start a Business:
Want to start your own business someday? Don’t wait until after your degree to start the initiative! Having experience and your own view of running a business will make your application intriguing. This will show leadership, drive, creativity and how you solved a need and shared it with the world!
- Social Media:
Are you Arty: Why not create a website and use social media to start selling your work online and give a portion to charity. An alternative to this would be to teach art classes, film and edit the classed and then start a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching artistic techniques.
Are Video Games your thing? Use this to your advantage! The important thing to remember here is to take your hobbies out of the house and into the world. As our world moves deeper into a digital era, opportunities lie in your hobbies, so why not create a drive where people donate outdated gaming consoles to underprivileged children and set up classes to teach them how to use it.
- Book Club:
Are languages and writing your be all and end all? Why not show your passion by starting a book club and encouraging others to find the joy in reading too. Once a book has been read, collect and donate them to needy schools. Once per week, hold a reading workshop at the schools and invest your time in furthering the lives of others.
Any unique hobby and passion can be turned into a remarkable story of how you changed someone else’s life. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and make your mark! Your commitment to sharing your passion with your community and understanding that its more than just a hobby, will make you a remarkable candidate.
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.