Extracurriculars: The Transition from High School to College

October 18, 2014

Ever wonder how your extracurriculars carry over to college?  Mindy Zou, a current student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told us about her high school extracurriculars and how she’s found her place in college activities.  Remember - there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in college!

In high school, I was extremely involved in the arts. I danced, did art, and played the violin, and essentially participated in almost every outlet there was available to explore these fields. I have always known my passions in these areas and once our gym classes ended, I jumped at the chance to take ballet and musical jazz instead. In addition, I was an active force in my school’s dance club, both choreographing and dancing in multiple pieces, finally rising to become club president in senior year. Regarding studio arts, I always volunteered to design any sport or club posters or spirit gear, ranging from shirts to buttons to bags. I pushed my schedule to include art classes and decided to pursue an individual study in painting, requiring me to effectively plan and create my own semester-long course. I also practiced my violin throughout high school, playing and preforming in my school’s instrumental chamber ensemble. Though these may sound like a lot of dedication and investment, I am not kidding when I say I enjoyed every second. I volunteered and participated in these activities because I wanted to, not because I thought I needed to. I sought to challenge myself and truly found my energy and time worth the added experience.

My high school extracurriculars most definitely influenced my college acceptance, as I highly emphasized them in both my supplemental essays and common application. Dance and art were themes present throughout all of my writing pieces. Thus at Penn, I have tried to become involved with these clubs as well. I contribute my time to designing posters for multiple student organizations, such as Penn Fashion Week and Wharton China Business Society, and sometimes attend weekend dance workshops. However, I have not joined an official dance group, as I wanted to see if I would be able to handle the many hours required by their multiple shows and practically daily rehearsals. I enjoy being able to meet new and older students at these club meetings, though do feel that several do not offer as close of a community as I’d like. Some allow you to foster close relationships, while others are more loosely tied. Thus, it is really a game of experimentation—finding the clubs that offer what you want and dropping those that do not.



Browse Successful Application Files

tifstar1997
Cornell ‘19


Accepted to Cornell, CMU, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, UCSD, UCSB, UC Irvine

Cornell Engineering '19
clovescirrus
Princeton ‘20


Accepted to Princeton, Dartmouth, Rice, JHU, UVA, UMD, CMU, Vanderbilt

Princeton class of 2020, choir nerd, lover of language. Writing is my favorite thing to do, and I'd love to help you brainstorm/write/revise.
FeartheLee
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Williams, Brown, Pomona, Duke, Bard, Kenyon

Stanford 2019, creative writing and education. Full essays! "Lopsided," less-than-stellar numbers.
lmelcher
Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Rice, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, USC

Hey! I'm a John Jay Scholar at Columbia, and I'm from Los Angeles. I'm planning to major in Art History and do ballet and theater. Hope I can help!

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