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.



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