Wording Your Activities
You only get a certain amount of characters for each section, so how do we make the most of this?
October 20, 2020
For reference as I move along, I’ve included my third activity here (you can click on it to go full-screen). This is how it will look when the Admissions officers view it. I also wanted y’all to see my second and fourth, just to understand what I considered a priority.
My Community Service activity is not only closer to my heart, but is something I’ve been doing for years, so it went before this. My Cultural activity is something that I participated in for more years than this activity, but is not as huge of an accomplishment and required less attention.
– My position is Co-CEO; included the company
– The organization I’m in is Junior Achievement
– I gave a description of my job
– I filled out the participation grade levels and timing (school year & break)
– Time spent per week
– Weeks spent per year
Position/Leadership description & Org. Name
Less is always more, be concise; you only have 100 characters, but you truly don’t need to use all of them unless an organization just happens to have a long name.
Special case: Career Oriented, Company vs. Company Program. If you own an independent business (not under a company program), put your position and company in the same box, and leave the organization name alone. It is not a required section.
Describe this activity
150 characters may seem like a lot when I say it right here, but as someone who’s already filled out the activities section, let me tell you,
it’s not. Like, at all.
So don’t feel pressured to type in complete complex sentences. It is perfectly fine to use incomplete sentences in this circumstance, separating matter-of-fact statements with commas/semicolons.
In one tiny box, you’re trying to fit in as many aspects of your position as possible, how you contribute, and any accomplishments you may have made during the time. Just make it work, you know?
My three favorite tips that I’ve gotten come from an article on CollegeVine that goes into detail about this process.
Use Action-Oriented Verbs
A lot of students who held leadership positions will start their description with something like “responsible for,” (I did this at first), but this doesn’t do anything. It’s obvious you were in charge of something, that’s probably why the activity is here.
Using action-oriented verbs gives your description an active tone, and implies responsibility while being specific about what you actually did. This includes words like “managed,” “facilitated,” “networked,” etc.
Quantify Your Accomplishments
Numbers talk, sometimes better than words do. They’re easy to understand and take out the guesswork of your level of responsibility, which makes your role more credible. If you were in charge of marketing for a fundraising event, give a number to how many people you networked with, and the event’s turnout.
CollegeVine gives a great example of this.
Talk About the Skills Learned
This is really effective to use when you don’t have as many school/non-school activities because you have family obligations or a job. Like I said earlier, the skills you acquire from this type of responsibility can really be equated to that of a club President, or even more.
Instead of naming out specific tasks that you did, you can generalize the tasks and detail what you learned from them.
CollegeVine provides an example of this as well:
I’m pretty sure for almost any activity you include, an admissions officer has either seen it before or seen something like it. You don’t need to waste characters describing the general functions of a club.
Tell the readers about your specific role, showcase your dedication through specific achievements.
Once again, here’s an example from CollegeVine:
Hours Spent Per Week/Weeks Per Year
All I can say is be honest.
But also, milk the time you spent for all it’s worth.
The best advice I ever got on how to calculate hours was from my freshman World Geography teacher, when I was adding hours in for my service cord. I’d worked with her and some other students to organize a candlelight vigil for George Floyd, and was asking her how much time I should claim.
She said, “You need to include everything. Not just the time you spent in meetings, but the time you spent prepping for those meetings. Every email, every phone call, all individual planning. Make sure you calculate every single minute you spent working on this.”
I highly recommend you do the same, while being as honest with yourself as possible. Don’t undervalue yourself, but also don’t grossly exaggerate.