As I enter my final year of high school, thinking about post-secondary fills a good chunk of my already barely-there free time. And, of course, this isn’t just me. Many people are frantically researching schools and programs, furiously scrolling through university forums in hopes of finding helpful application tips, bombarding their post-secondary friends with questions ranging from campus life to academic workload, and trying to beef up their resume.
We all know that grades are important, but they are not everything. [Don’t get me wrong, getting the highest grades you possibly can is always a good idea.] More and more universities are including personal profiles to get a glimpse of who you are as a person. Yes, a book-smart student probably will succeed in university, but a book-smart student with excellent communication skills developed through community involvement is even better. Rounded students who have a background in many different areas, ranging from academics to sports to various other extracurriculars, are sure to have essential skills that traditional school simply cannot teach. Being immersed in teams that depend on you, making professional connections, and leading a team are just a few of many experiences that help you to develop skills for future (and present) success.
That being said, I have heard countless students say, “I need to join as many teams as possible so I can put it on my university application” or even “I don’t like doing this, but it will make me look more qualified for this program.” Essentially, they are doing it for the resume/university application. And this is NOT what you should be doing. If you are truly passionate about the activity and are willing, even excited, to put time and effort into it, then you should 100% go for it!
On the other hand, if you are only doing it for the resume, I advise you to think again. Do you really want to be spending your time on something you don’t even like? Are you going to put in enough effort into the activity so that you will learn from it?
Most of the time, doing things for the resume does not only affect yourself. Most likely, you will be involved with a team. And, as I am sure you can relate, nobody likes having a team member who doesn’t care and doesn’t do anything.
Demonstrating leadership, commitment, teamwork, and creativity in a small organization are way more significant than just saying “I was a part of this giant charity.” Simply being a part of something doesn’t mean that you have done something.
With this in mind, do things you are interested in. Do things that you will put effort into. Do things that you will learn from. And, by all means, fill your university applications with descriptions of what you have done, the impact you have made, and what you have learned in the process!
The takeaway? Do things you love, regardless of how “good” they look on a resume. You will learn much more this way.