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Articles / Applying to College / Does Hiking Count as an Extracurricular Activity?

Does Hiking Count as an Extracurricular Activity?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 15, 2010

Question: I love hiking and I go several times a month. Is this something I might put under Extracurricular Activities on a college application such as the Common App? Occasionally I go with trail clean-up crews and sometimes with local organizations for hiking. I'm asking because I spend a good portion of my time sailing, rafting, hiking etc. but it isn't with a team/competition - would colleges care to know?

Yep, this is a classic case of the sort of thing that college admission folks do want to know about but which many students assume may not be application fodder. Whether you're doing something "official," like working on a trail crew or simply hiking (or sailing or rafting) alone or with friends, you should certainly include this interest on your activities list or on any supplemental resume you submit. And when the Common App asks you to elaborate about an extracurricular or work experience in a 150-word mini-essay, your outdoors undertakings would be a suitable topic for this as well.

Admission officials see many of the same school clubs on application after application, so spotting interests that aren't pursued as part of a formal organization can be a breath of fresh air.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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