common app activity list

5 Ways to Make Your Activities List Awesome

You only get 150 characters to list an activity on your college app: how do you make the most of them? Like this:

1. TO FIT IN MORE INFO: USE LISTS, DON’T USE COMPLETE SENTENCES, CUT EXTRA WORDS.

Instead of: I raised money to donate to a school in Ghana in Africa by selling t-shirts and bracelets.

Try: Arranged advertising events, organized fundraisers, and gave presentations at school meetings.

2. USE ACTIVE VERBS TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DID–AND LIST YOUR TASKS.

So instead of: I worked at a clinic doing different things.

Try: Organized patient diagnosis notes, sterilized tools for surgeries, assisted with x-ray analysis.

See how that makes it sound like you actually were involved?

3. USE THE PRESENT TENSE IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU STILL DO.

Instead of: I helped tour visitors around the campus and presented some information on school history and student life.

Try: I give campus tours, providing info on school history, student activities, boarding life.

4. AIM FOR VARIETY IN YOUR LIST, MAKING SURE YOUR VERBS AREN’T REDUNDANT.

Instead of: Instructing, helping, teaching children tennis (how are these three different?)

Try: Instructing in proper technique, while imparting lessons in sportsmanship, health and integrity.

5. STATE ROLE AND ORGANIZATION NAME IN TOP BOX, SO YOU DON’T WASTE CHARACTERS IN THE LOWER, 160 CHARACTER BOX.

Instead of:
(top box) School newspaper
(description box) I am the editor for the school newspaper (Don’t repeat words!)

Try:
(top box) Editor of International Column, School Newspaper
(description box) Responsible for brainstorming, revising, and supervising articles by other writers for my column.

Q: HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE UC APPLICATION ACTIVITIES LIST?

A: You get 30 characters for the title and 160 characters for the description. Use them (just as) wisely.

5 Ways to Make Your Activities List Awesome

You only get 150 characters to list an activity on your college app: how do you make the most of them? Like this:

1. TO FIT IN MORE INFO: USE LISTS, DON’T USE COMPLETE SENTENCES, CUT EXTRA WORDS.

Instead of: I raised money to donate to a school in Ghana in Africa by selling t-shirts and bracelets.
Try: Arranged advertising events, organized fundraisers, and gave presentations at school meetings.

2. USE ACTIVE VERBS TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DID–AND LIST YOUR TASKS.

So instead of: I worked at a clinic doing different things.

Try: Organized patient diagnosis notes, sterilized tools for surgeries, assisted with x-ray analysis.

See how that makes it sound like you actually were involved?

3. USE THE PRESENT TENSE IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU STILL DO.

Instead of: I helped tour visitors around the campus and presented some information on school history and student life.

Try: I give campus tours, providing info on school history, student activities, boarding life.

4. AIM FOR VARIETY IN YOUR LIST, MAKING SURE YOUR VERBS AREN’T REDUNDANT.

Instead of: Instructing, helping, teaching children tennis (how are these three different?)

Try: Instructing in proper technique, while imparting lessons in sportsmanship, health and integrity.

5. STATE ROLE AND ORGANIZATION NAME IN TOP BOX, SO YOU DON’T WASTE CHARACTERS IN THE LOWER, 160 CHARACTER BOX.

Instead of:
(top box) School newspaper
(description box) I am the editor for the school newspaper (Don’t repeat words!)

Try:
(top box) Editor of International Column, School Newspaper
(description box) Responsible for brainstorming, revising, and supervising articles by other writers for my column.

Q: HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA APPLICATION ACTIVITIES LIST?

A: You get 30 characters for the title and 160 characters for the description. Use them (just as) wisely.

5 Ways to Make Your Activities List Awesome

You only get 150 characters to list an activity on your college app: how do you make the most of them? Like this:

1. TO FIT IN MORE INFO: USE LISTS, DON’T USE COMPLETE SENTENCES, CUT EXTRA WORDS.

Instead of: I raised money to donate to a school in Ghana in Africa by selling t-shirts and bracelets.
Try: Arranged advertising events, organized fundraisers, and gave presentations at school meetings.


2. USE ACTIVE VERBS TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DID–AND LIST YOUR TASKS.

So instead of: I worked at a clinic doing different things.
Try: Organized patient diagnosis notes, sterilized tools for surgeries, assisted with x-ray analysis.

See how that makes it sound like you actually were involved?


3. USE THE PRESENT TENSE IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU STILL DO.

Instead of: I helped tour visitors around the campus and presented some information on school history and student life.
Try: I give campus tours, providing info on school history, student activities, boarding life.


4. AIM FOR VARIETY IN YOUR LIST, MAKING SURE YOUR VERBS AREN’T REDUNDANT.

Instead of: Instructing, helping, teaching children tennis (how are these three different?)
Try: Instructing in proper technique, while imparting lessons in sportsmanship, health and integrity.


5. STATE ROLE AND ORGANIZATION NAME IN TOP BOX, SO YOU DON’T WASTE CHARACTERS IN THE LOWER, 160 CHARACTER BOX.

Instead of:
(top box) School newspaper
(description box) I am the editor for the school newspaper (Don’t repeat words!)

Try:
(top box) Editor of International Column, School Newspaper
(description box) Responsible for brainstorming, revising, and supervising articles by other writers for my column.


Q: HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE UC APPLICATION ACTIVITIES LIST?

A: You get 30 characters for the title and 160 characters for the description. Use them (just as) wisely.

How to Write Your UC Activities List

First, why is the UC Activities List important? While your personal statement shows who you are, your Activities List showswhat you’ve done. Keywords: leadership, responsibility, impact

The UC Activities List is more comprehensive than the Common App Activities List. Why? Because the UC Activities List gives you 30 blanks for inputting your information (with 160 characters space for describing each activity), while the Common App only gives you space for 10 activities (and 150 character descriptions). 

TIP: Make your UC Activities List first, then you’ll choose your Top 10 for the Common App and cut down the 160-characters descriptions to 150, if needed.

Let’s get started…

The UC application will ask you to split your activities into…

  • Activities & Awards

  • Educational Prep Programs

  • Volunteer & Community Service

  • Work Experience

  • Awards & Honors

  • Extracurricular Activities

You’ll get to list five for each of these six categories (so you’ll have 30 slots).

IMPORTANT: Try to fill all the “Volunteer & Community Service” and “Extracurricular Activity" spots. I know that sounds like weird pressure, but do your best.

ACTION ITEM: I want you to create a Google doc right now labeled “[Your Name] UC Activities List” with all your activities and 160-character descriptions.

First, here are some awesome examples:

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Educational Prep Programs

Yosemite Backpacking Excursion
Learned basic survival skills and took part in team leadership training and development activities.

Narrative Writing Workshop
Attended a writing workshop during the summer after my junior that focused on the narrative and descriptive writing.

Independent Study
Researched, presented thesis as Interim Semester project on the state of the aging population in Singapore and government stance on the issue.

………………..

Volunteer & Community Service

Intern at Children’s Institute Otis Booth Campus
Brainstormed ideas for after school programs for teens,created surveys,presented data to supervisor

Member of Civics Committee
Provide mentorship support to ninth graders; responsible for assigning tutors, coordinating events.

Street Soccer Program
Volunteer for County Fair fundraising committee supporting underprivileged kids playing street soccer.

AWWA
Volunteered to support Centre for Caregivers events; Model Caregivers Awards. Helped write government proposals and helped get performers backstage ready.

Global Partner for International Orientation
I help new international students with registration and adjustment to the new school environment.

………………..

Work Experience

Administrative Assistant at Shingari’s School of Rhythm
In charge of customer service, managing financial accounts, recording attendance, managing inventory, and all other administrative aspects

Childcare (Paid)
Worked 3-5 days a week taking care of two children, ages 1 and 3. Responsibilities included feeding, changing and regulating bed times.

Manager, Student Store
Developed student store policies, reviewed resumes and hired accordingly and worked part time as a cashier.

Coach and Technical Analyst, LA County Intramural Basketball
Led fitness sessions, trained others in technical fundamentals; also helped with video analysis.

Korean Compassion: Korean-to-English Letter Translator
Translated letters sent by supporters to impoverished children in Asian and African countries.

………………..

Awards & Honors

Speech and Debate
Academic All-American Award, NFL Tournament Qualifier (‘11, '12), Rupe Scholar, Stanford Invitational Semi-finalist, Harker Invitational Semi-finalist

Player of the Tournament
Was named Best Player in the local Lincoln Heights Invitational.

Highest Scorer
Highest scorer in annual Carl Schubert trophy between Singapore and Malaysia’s under-23 team.

“Iron Man” Award
Given for "outstanding athletic performance in keeping with the physical mission of the Naval Academy.

White Water Kayaking Nationals (5th place)
Competed at the 2013 United States Slalom National Competition in Bryson City (placed 5th). Paddled Class 5 rapids. Swift Water rescue certified

………………..

Extracurricular Activities

Founder and President of Model United Nations
Organize meetings, coach students for conferences, raise money and awareness for UNICEF causes, awarded "Outstanding Delegate” at every conference attended

Intern at the Los Angeles Superior Court
Assisted a Los Angeles District Attorney by researching relevant case laws, drafting briefs, and assisting with client interviews

Research Assistant at the UCLA Psychology Department
Assisted Dr. Negin Ghavemi with a study exploring the relationship between gender, age, and sexual identity in elementary and middle school

Indian Classical and Bollywood Dancer
SSR Scholarship, VMASC 1st Place Cinematic Dance, KCCNA 3rd pl. in folk, VMASC 1st Pl. Classical Dance, KALA Kalolsavam 1st Pl. Group Dance

Strings Orchestra
Played as a cellist in the school orchestra in various evening concerts and performances throughout the year.