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What are the best extracurricular activities?

QUESTION: What are the best extracurricular activities to do during high school? I've heard that there are certain activities that colleges look for. For example, I've heard that in order to get into an Ivy League school I have to volunteer. Signed, Sign Me Up

Dear Sign Me Up: It would make your life easier if there were a magical formula for what activities to do to get into college. Unfortunately, there is no such formula. The reason why is that all students have their own interests. While some students who volunteer get accepted to their first-choice college, not all students should volunteer. The same thing goes for athletics, theatre, international travel and all of the other activities.

The bottom line is that the best activities are the ones that you enjoy. Get involved because you want to get involved, not because you think that is the key to getting into college. You will excel most in the activities that you enjoy the most. It is in these activities that you will be most likely to assume leadership positions and make the greatest contributions. And this is what colleges are looking for when they analyze your activities.

So whatever your interest is, find an activity that matches it. Or even start your own activity. Commit yourself, and go for it.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.