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Curating your US Common Application Activity List - Tips and Tricks

Why is a well-curated activity list so important?

  • Showcases your skills, interests and achievements to prospective schools.

  • Provides admissions officers with a first impression and snapshot of your extracurricular involvement and helps them understand who you are beyond your academic achievements.

  • Set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your leadership potential, commitment to community service, and ability to balance multiple responsibilities.

Tips and Tricks

How to fill out an activity list?

When filling out your activity list, it's important to be thorough and thoughtful.

  • Start by brainstorming all the activities you've participated in, both inside and outside of school. This can include sports teams, clubs, volunteer work, internships, part-time jobs, and more.

  • For each activity, provide a brief description of your role and responsibilities, as well as any achievements or recognition you received.

    • Use active language

    • Use bullet points and short phrases instead of full sentences

    • Focus on the skills you developed and the impact you made

    • Prioritize which activities are most important - what’s related to your degree or which activity are you most involved in? Make sure that the most important thing is listed first so the admissions officer sees it first

How to prioritize your activities?

It might be challenging to decide which ones to include on your activity list. Here are some tips for prioritizing your activities:

  • Choose 10 activities (maximum)

  • Choose activities that align with your academic and career goals.

  • Highlight leadership roles and significant achievements.

  • Emphasize activities that demonstrate your commitment to community service and making a positive impact.

  • Include a variety of activities that showcase different aspects of your personality and interests.

  • Prioritize activities that you are most passionate about and that have had the biggest impact on you.

Things to avoid

  • Exaggerating your level of involvement in each activity, roles and responsibilities

  • Listing irrelevant or trivial activities

  • Forgetting to include context of each activity (e.g. its importance and impact)

  • Neglecting to highlight achievements (e.g. awards, scholarships, or leadership positions), which admissions officers are most interested in.

Our below YouTube video will walk you through the entire activity list process with examples on the Common App specifically in relation to the US undergrad application process. Visit our YouTube Channel to learn more.

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