Super-curricular Activities: Key to Success
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HSA Tutoring
June 19th, 2019
When trying to gain admission to elite colleges, one of the great debates that rages to this day over what distinguishes an applicant is do I try to specialize or be well rounded? In actuality, you can balance both, the key is super-curriculars.

What is a ‘Super-curricular’ activity?

An activity that clearly demonstrates your individual passion and intellectual curiosity by participating in something that reinforces or aligns with this academic interest.

Examples of Super-curricular activities:

Take part in writing competitions-

Various universities and foundations hold essay and writing competitions in numerous academic subjects. One of the best sources of more analytical, academic essay contests are Oxford and Cambridge University. Many constituent colleges host multiple essay competitions in a range of subjects ranging from Law and Philosophy, to Engineering and Literature. Many are open internationally, just search across different college’s websites to find the competitions they offer. Essays are judged by actual Oxford and Cambridge faculty and also award cash prizes, meaning they are a great way to get used to the type of writing you will be doing when arriving at college while earning some money on the side. 

Attending Lectures & Habitual Reading-

Becoming well-read is one of the easiest and best ways to improve your attractiveness to colleges. Upon initial inspection it may appear difficult to show how it can be demonstrated to admissions officers on your application; however, it will work wonders in your interviews when you can communicate with your interviewer in an intellectual way that comes across as genuine. If you live in a reasonably large city or college town, universities often host guest speakers open to the general public. If they are involved in something of interest to you, go and absorb their knowledge, again, their wisdom may be a great conversation starter during your college interviews.


Apply for summer internships or volunteer over the term time at a lab or for a local academic. This is a great way to demonstrate long term commitment to a specific area of study or interest to colleges and shows that your passion is genuine and not disingenuous. If you are helping with research then you may find that the professor will acknowledge you as a contributor or co-author, again an excellent way to prove to colleges that your curiosity is grounded in something tangible.