Extracurricular Activities: Last year, pandemic school closures eliminated the clubs and sports that help students stand out from the crowd. Lockdowns took away the chance for summer jobs and internships that would have highlighted their abilities and interests. But services performed for the family or the neighborhood have just as much value, Harberson said. So do personal projects — from scientific experiments to artistic creations — undertaken when traditional activities and organizations shut down. It’s about the impact the activity has on your life and the commitment you’ve made to it. In your activity list, the qualities and skills you gained through these experiences speak to who you are.
Demonstrated interest: Optimally, a college or university wants to offer its spots to students who genuinely want to join its next class. The AO will look at a student’s track record of ‘touch points’ with the college to determine their likelihood of enrolling,” Harberson explained. In the past, that might have included whether the family took a campus tour or whether the student applied in the early-action round. But because of the pandemic, demonstrated interest is changing, Now, if a college sends an e-mail, they’ll record whether the student opened it, or whether they clicked on the link. They’ll look at whether the student took a virtual tour. A virtual visit is not the same as being there in person, but, my gosh, did that level the playing field for students coming from every economic background. The pandemic also spawned virtual college fairs, yielding a whole new series of touch points for colleges to monitor. Some AOs are definitely keeping track of who is engaged in those Zoom presentations. I’m telling my students, have your video on, look presentable at least from the waist up, and be ready to share your story. This could be a chance for you to shine.
Will write on the remaining three soon :-)