Whenever "Extracurricular Activities" is mentioned, sports, music, art and other items that are closely related to life and interests appear in the minds of many parents and students. The advantages of extracurricular activities are inexhaustible. Students can explore their abilities and interests by trying different activities, which also help broaden their horizons and scope of knowledge. Communication between people establishes a series of soft skills at an early stage, such as teamwork, leadership and presentation techniques. However, when many students have obtained a fruitful set of extracurriculars, what extracurricular activities can make students stand out in university applications?
Extracurricular activities are no longer limited to the scope of interests, but more about linking students’ interests with studies. For instance, essay competition is classified as one of the value-added extra-curricular activities. Through the competition, students can cultivate their language and critical thinking skills. If students wish to pursue a pathway in science, participating in STEM-related competitions is also a valuable way to acquire relevant knowledge and improve their problem-solving skills, scope of knowledge and independent thinking. Besides, universities in Hong Kong and overseas also offer pre-college programs for secondary school students. Students are able to choose the scope of courses freely, experiencing university-level research courses, and build up a solid foundation. Most importantly, internship programs are precious opportunities for students to get in touch with the industries they are interested in. Students can take this opportunity to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and whether they can adapt to the real workplace environment, so as to discover their interests and unleash their potential. There are still various academic competitions and community services that are considered as value-added extracurricular activities in university applications. Students should start exploring as soon as possible to diversify their profile at an early stage.
Universities’ requirements for extracurricular activities vary. Popular or highly demanding courses such as medicine, law, or global business studies expect students to provide sufficient and relevant academic/work experiences ; whereas US and Canadian universities value an all-rounded and multidimensional profile.. It is worth noting that not all extracurricular activities will grant significant advantages in students' applications. Universities tend to pay more attention to the inspiration and growth that these relevant extracurricular activities bring to students. For instance, when two students applied to the engineering department of a particular university, with one participating in a STEM competition and an engineering internship program with university-level knowledge acquired, and the other participating in competitions in the field of arts and music, the former student must stand out and get a higher admission chance.
Reputable universities generally consider students’ examination grades, personal statements, supplementary essays, interview performance, and extracurricular activities in the screening process. In fact, extracurricular activities should not be regarded as an independent entity. It is complementary in nature. Many students will find that they have only achieved a few extracurricular activities during high school. Nevertheless, due to the intensive academic schedule and pressure, they fail to strike a balance. We advise students to try different kinds of extracurricular activities and explore their desired goals and directions as early as possible to prepare for higher education. Parents and students are welcome to contact Helios Education for professional advice on the suggestions and implementation of suitable extracurricular activities.。如果需要專業的意見和幫助，歡迎家長和學生向 Helios 升學團隊查詢。