Ace College Applications and Interviews with Great Grades and Extra Curricular Activities!

By: Dolores Dell

As a former NJ College Admissions Representative part of my job was to review college applications and conduct college interviews. I must have read through hundreds during my career and the two most important aspects for me were grades and extra curricular activities. If a prospective student was able to maintain great grades while also spending time in various clubs or volunteering their time or even working a part time job it showed that the student was well rounded and frankly someone we would want to join our campus.

The first area I am going to discuss is grades. Many students panic over grades throughout their high school career and are afraid that it may hurt their chances to get into the college of their dreams. Now, all I can say on this subject is that you need to just do your best. Some classes are going to come easy to you, others are not. Some classes are going to be very interesting to you, other are not. Believe it or not admissions representatives were the same way in high school. With almost everyone there is a class we wish we could just erase from our high school career but the truth is we can’t and that’s alright! It is normal for someone to have a few blemishes. Now, when I say blemishes I mean a grade lower than your average but definitely not failing. There is absolutely no excuse for failing a subject. If you are normally an “A” student and have an occasional “B,” or a mixture of an “A and B” student and have a “C” don’t panic. It may even give you an interesting story to tell during your college interview!

The next area I am going to discuss is extra curricular activities. I was always interested to read this section. It allowed me to get an accurate picture of who the student is and maybe even who they want to be. It is important to have something in your high school career other than grades. It could be clubs, student government, athletics, volunteer work or a part-time job. This shows that you can handle several things at once and that you actually strive in several areas. Although it is very important to have a high grade point average, to me it was even more important that you were able to broaden your horizons and learn something about yourself in the process. I was much more interested to meet students who had a healthy amount of activities to accompany their grades.

Having both great grades and extra curricular activities not only helps you score a college interview but will help you ace one as well. It is very difficult to spend an entire interview discussing grades alone. I felt much more invested in students who were able to show me their true personalities by discussing their passions or even their tough day at work. But again, a great personality can not excuse poor grades so the two have to be presented together. The combination shows a lot of character and someone I was proud to recommend to attend the college.

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