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September 12, 2007

Streamline Your Extracurricular Activities

    The beginning of a new school year. Yes, we all know it's a hassle to get back in the routine of rising before the sun rises and completing daily homework assignments, but a new school year is also a great time for new beginnings, for redefining yourself. Are you going to be a scholar or a slacker? An on-timer or a snoozer? A supportive friend or a gossipy gal? Your actions during these first days of school answer these questions.

    Let's focus on how you are going to define yourself with regards to extracurricular activities. Will your engagement in these activities be streamlined and focused or as scattered as Lindsay Lohan's personal life (sorry, LL, we wish you well)?

    We hope, of course, you'll choose to streamline your extracurricular calendar. Doing so will prove to yourself, and to college-admissions officers, that you can fully commit your time and energy to a particular activity, which gives you an opportunity to grow. Consistently playing a time-committed role on the yearbook committee for your entire high-school career will yield a much more meaningful learning experience than flitting in and out of the yearbook office a couple of times during the fall of your sophomore year. And being involved in too many extra-curricular activities will provide only shallow learning experiences and stress you out because you've spread yourself too thin. Plus, college-admissions officers will see right through your lame attempt to appear "well-rounded." When it comes to extracurricular activities, think depth not breadth.

    A word of caution. No matter which extracurricular activities you choose, make sure you are choosing them because you are genuinely interested in them, not because they will look good on your college application. If your participation in these activities does not begin from a place of genuine interest and passion, resentment will build in you, making you a negative Nelly and your high-school journey feel like all work and no play. And who wants to experience that for four years?

    For a more thorough explanation of streamlining extracurricular activities in high school, click here.

    P.S. November is Teen Ink's college issue, so send us reviews of colleges, your college essays, and articles about the whole crazy application process by October 15 for a chance to be included. You can submit your work by clicking here.



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