How to make your best activities list for a scholarship
Most scholarship applications (and some admissions applications) will request a list of activities.
What is an activities list?
An activities list is a list of the extra-curricular activities you have participated in for the past few years. Some applications require you to list Grade 9-12 and others are Grade 10 - 12. These activities include groups, clubs, paid and unpaid work, and basically all of the activities you participate in, other than formal schoolwork.
How to create your activities list
The best way to create an activities list is to create a table in Word or Google Docs, or use an Excel spreadsheet.
In the 1st column, put the name of the club, group, or activity.
In the 2nd column, put your role in the group or activity.
In the 3rd column, put the time frame you were involved (month/year - month/year).
In the 4th column, put the number of hours per week/month you participated.
In the 5th column, put a description of your responsibilities (see below for some tips on how to do this part).
In the 6th column, put any awards, achievements, certifications, etc. you earned.
In the 7th column, put the name and contact information (phone and/or email) of a person who can verify your participation in the activity. This could be a teacher, a coach, a piano teacher, etc.
In the 8th column, put "Notes". This will be the place you make notes about the entry, such as making a note to follow up about a contact number for a verifier.
Each scholarship application is different, so each one will ask you to list the information in a certain way on the application. Some may limit the number or characters or words in the list.
However, by creating this information in your own list, you can simply copy and paste the information into the application, and then tailor it to the application. This will save you loads of time, because much of the work is already done.
You can use the information in this activity list over and over again in many applications!
Here is a free spreadsheet you can use to make your activities list:
This spreadsheet is in Google Docs. To edit it, go to "File", then "make a copy", and save it to your drive. Then you'll be able to edit the saved doc on your drive.
Tip to make your best activities list!
Here’s a tip to make your activities sound the best they can be: use action words.
It makes your responsibilities sound more robust and, well, just more action-y.
List your responsibilities by using descriptive phrases, beginning with an action word (see below for some suggested action words).
For example, for a food service position, instead of saying something like, “served food to customers, accepted payment, made change, etc.”, you might put:
"provided quality customer service, handled cash transactions, helped train new staff, cleaned and stocked work area, reorganized stockroom, attended weekly staff meetings, updated and maintained stock reports, recommended daily specials to manager based on customer feedback"
See how each responsibility began with a descriptive action word?
Doesn’t it sound like you did a lot more than the first way it was described?
Now, of course, all of this information must be true. You must have carried out all of these tasks and had all of these responsibilities.
But the general idea is to break the job down into individual tasks, including all of the responsibilities, and give each one a great action word to describe the action of the task.
If you’re limited to a certain number of characters, only put the main responsibilities. I suggest you list all of them, then cut out the less important ones until you meet the word count requirement.
Here is a list of some possible action words to get you started:
I hope you find this information useful!
Need help with scholarships? Contact me to discuss my services.
About the author
Janet MacDonald is a Scholarship Coach with mycampusGPS Education Consulting. She is a former Canadian university admissions officer. For seven years, she was the coordinator of a scholarship program at a major Canadian university. Janet has helped her student clients win hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships.