Asia Bradlee 4 min read 12th Grade, Essay Tips

4 Successful Extracurricular Activity Essay Examples

 

The purpose of the extracurricular activities essay is for admissions officers to better understand how your extracurricular activities have shaped and motivated you. This essay shouldn’t restate the activities you’ve already shared in your resume, but should elaborate on their impact and significance to you as a person.

 

These extracurricular activities essay examples were all written by real students. For each example, we provide a first draft, what the writer can improve, and the revised version.

 

Example of the Extracurricular Activity Essay Prompt

 

Write about something that you love to do.

 

Extracurricular Essay Example, First Draft

 

My fingers raced across the keys, striking one after another. My body swayed with the music, as my fingers moved faster and faster. Crashing onto the final chord, I completed a passage of music, feeling immense satisfaction. I was playing the Moonlight Sonata’s third movement, an act which had always been a dream of mine. But less than four months ago, I considered it impossible. The piece’s tempo was impossibly fast, and its notes stretched across the ends of the piano, forcing me to reach farther than I had ever dared. This made the piece 17 pages of the most fragile and difficult melodies I had ever played. But this summer, I found myself ready to take on the challenge. I had been released from the commitments of practicing for band and solo performances. I was now free to determine my own musical path, and either succeed in learning the piece, or let it defeat me again. That summer, I spent countless hours practicing the same notes, until they burned their place in my memory. Though I have not mastered the 17 pages of intricate melodies, at my fingertips is the chance to master the once impossible piece.

 

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Thoughts on the Essay and How It Can Be Improved

 

It’s clear that music is a passion for the author, and that energy comes through in the essay. On the whole, the writing is fairly strong, but there is definitely room for improvement. First, although the word limit is 250 words, this essay only had 198. Especially with an essay this short, it’s important  to take advantage of all the space given—every word is a chance to show the admissions committee who you are.

 

There is also some strong imagery, especially around playing the music and describing how challenging it was. However, there are still several places where the writing is much more “tell” than “show.” Something else to pay attention to is the author’s tendency to put commas before dependent clauses, where they don’t belong— this is a common mistake, but is something to be aware of.

 

The place that  needs the most revision is the conclusion. It currently feels almost contradictory to the rest of the essay—the reader thinks the author has been describing their journey in learning to play a really difficult piece, but then they say that they have the “chance” to master it. Even if the author isn’t an expert in the piece yet, the ending should still be altered. They don’t have to say that they mastered it, but they shouldn’t say explicitly that they haven’t. Since they did just play it, they can talk about feeling satisfied that something that once seemed impossible was doable. 

 

If there are still some words left over after expanding out the imagery, the conclusion could also be improved with some discussion of why they love music so much. They’ve been discussing it as a challenge to overcome, but if we could get some insight into why it makes them happy and why they’re eager to challenge themselves with these difficult pieces, that would really enrich the overall story. 

 

The Revised Essay, Final Draft

 

My fingers raced across the keys, rapidly striking one after another. My body swayed with the music as my hands raced across the piano. Crashing onto the final chord, it was over as quickly as it had begun. My shoulders relaxed and I couldn’t help but break into a satisfied grin. I had just played the Moonlight Sonata’s third movement, a longtime dream of mine. Four short months ago, though, I had considered it impossible. The piece’s tempo was impossibly fast, its notes stretching between each end of the piano, forcing me to reach farther than I had ever dared. It was 17 pages of the most fragile and intricate melodies I had ever encountered. But that summer, I found myself ready to take on the challenge. With the end of the school year, I was released from my commitment to practicing for band and solo performances. I was now free to determine my own musical path: either succeed in learning the piece, or let it defeat me for the third summer in a row. Over those few months, I spent countless hours practicing the same notes until they burned a permanent place in my memory, creating a soundtrack for even my dreams. Some would say I’ve mastered the piece, but as a musician I know better. Now that I can play it, I am eager to take the next step and add in layers of musicality and expression to make the once-impossible piece even more beautiful.

 

More Extracurricular Activity Essay Examples

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More Supplemental Essay Tips

 

4 Tips for Writing a Diversity College Essay

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay

 

 

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Asia Bradlee
Content Marketer at CollegeVine
Short bio
Asia is a graduate of Tulane University where she studied English and Public Health. She's held multiple writing positions and has experience writing about everything from furniture to higher education to nutrition and exercise.