How Admission Officers Evaluate Your Application
In this series, by now we are done with looking at your academic qualifications. Now we need to look at non-academic qualifications. To begin with the non-academic qualifications, ask yourself these questions –
What do you do when you are done with school for the day?
What do you do in your free time?
What do you do for fun?
What have you dedicated your time to all this while?
Technically, non-academic qualifications could be anything. These activities demonstrate your level of commitment. How involved were you with the activity? For example, if you volunteered only once for a few hours, that will not count as community service. However, if you have regularly volunteered, even if it was for different or multiple causes, that will be counted as an activity because you were committed to it. You invested your time and energy regularly for a long period of time on it. So the definition of a non-academic activity is something you do regularly and are dedicated to.
When you consider the list of activities, you’ll see that activities include involvement in the art, athletics, community service, music, theater, employment, and many more things you might have done. There are some non-academic activities which might be related to academics like being part of a science fair, winning an academic Olympiad etc. for these types of activities you will have to consider how you separate out-of-classroom academic activities from the in-class academics. Outside of the classroom, you need to demonstrate intellectual curiosity or a love of learning. So how are you demonstrating these through both these activities?
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By now you must be thinking that India isn’t like foreign countries, where you have lots of options among activities or clubs to join, so you couldn’t do anything. However, this statement is not true. You don’t need to have been a part of the formal, organized, and official clubs or organizations. Almost every student does something outside of the classroom. What you need to realize is that your activities need not have a name, you will have to break yourself out of that thinking. Unlike scores and grades, interests and activities can’t be listed on a piece of paper. Therefore, activities are something that you will have to think about and then write them down.
Think broadly and include everything that you do in a list. For each thing you wrote on your list, find what role you had in that activity. Like, if you have played any sports, were you ever the captain of your team or you played any other different role? If you were involved with your college newspaper, were you the editor or the reporter?
Now, consider your list like an admission officer. What do you see on your list? Towards which activity have you shown the maximum commitment? Do your activities have depth to them? Which means you have pursued one activity in detail. Do your activities have breadth? Which means you have pursued activities in many different areas. Or do you have both? Or neither?
So the essential question is, if you take away your scores and marks, what is left in your profile?
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