The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 70: How to Tackle the Activity Section of the Common Application

April 27, 2021

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As we get ready for the summer, juniors will start to tackle the activity section of the common application. What are some of the activities to include? How do students know which activities to highlight? If you are a sophomore, what are some ideas to think about to start to build your brag sheet for college applications? Aly shares a personal story about her son, Nicky, and how he took a simple idea at a family dinner and turned it into a real business that he loves and enjoys! There are plenty of opportunities that are right in your backyard so you do not have to go far to have fun, get some experience, make some money, and start to build your activity list for your college application.

Key Takeaways:

  • Students sit with parents to brainstorm activities
  • What exactly makes an “activity – it is not a hobby per se
  • Take time during the family dinner time to have fun and brainstorm ideas
  • The Ice cream story as an example of one way to take an idea and rolling it out into a business and “activity”
  • The COVID silver lining – students are going back to basics, and getting involved in local activities they are personally excited about.
  • Local volunteer opportunities – look around and try to help someone else (visit a nursing home, grab the local neighborhood kids and teach them soccer, library, animal shelter, 1st aid squad)
  • Get a local job (babysitting, dog walking, music lessons, lawn work, landscaping, tutoring, lifeguarding, work at a restaurant, delivery driver).
  • National organizations – Meals on Wheels, Volunteer Match,,
  • Start with the activities section on the Common Application first. Use action words, emphasize leadership skills, describe activities in the present tense, and use numbers.
  • Say what you do instead of just listing a title.
  • Colleges want to see depth in activities versus quantity.
  • The College T is a great resource if you want to speak with an actual college student live.

Important Resources and Links:


Meet Aly Beaumont

Aly is the founder of Admissions Village, a family-focused, affordable, one-on-one college guidance consultancy. Aly is deeply committed to making the college admissions process less stressful, and her success with this objective can be measured by both the growing number of referrals she receives as well as the repeat business of family siblings. Aly is also a founder and advisor to The College T, a website connecting high school students with college students and recent graduates so that first-hand information and experiences can be shared.

Aly is a graduate of Tufts University where she majored in History with a concentration in Modern Women and African American History and was captain of the Equestrian Team. She lives in Wilton, CT with her husband Perry, their two dogs Buddy and Buzz, and their three sons. Two of their sons are currently in college at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Keyon College in Ohio, and one graduated from Santa Clara University. Aly is an Associate Member of IECA and she has her certificate as an Independent Educational Consultant from the University of California Irvine.

Thank you to Aly for joining us today as we discuss ways students can best prepare for the Summer of 2021. Students – start the activities section on the common application app by listing in bullet format and short sentences everything you have been involved in. Ask your parents to join in the conversation as every parent loves to brag and point out all the great accomplishments of their children. Be true to who you are and get involved in activities, organizations, and volunteering opportunities that you enjoy. Get a job – it is really important as you will learn more life-long skills in whatever job you get. It is more important to have depth in activity versus being a passive member.

Episode 70 Full Transcript

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College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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