What are Extracurriculars?

When faced with the task of submitting our Admission Information Form (AIF), there is sometimes some confusion over what to list in the “Extracurriculars” section.  According to some dictionaries, “extracurricular” refers to activities at a school, but outside the regular classroom (or curriculum).  While that is true, for university admissions the definition is usually much broader in practice.  So, extracurriculars are not just school clubs and sports.  We look for anything that takes place outside of a classroom, whether organized through the school or not.  This would include activities with community groups, religious organizations, political and activist groups, recreational or competitive sports with community organizations (e.g. hockey and soccer leagues), cultural groups (theatre, choir, orchestra, art), cadets (army, navy and air) and scouts, and many other similar things.

It also includes things you might do on a more individual level, like music (perhaps Grade 8 or 10 RCM exams, or a band or performing group), art/photography, skiing, landscaping, automotive restoration, etc.  It will also include hobby types of activities, like writing poetry or blogs, reading 19th century literature, music, model trains, writing software, raising show dogs or horses, gaming, stock market investing, …

So, for our purposes “extracurricular” means essentially anything outside the classroom.  If it’s something you’re truly interested in and spend some time at, then certainly list it.  This is your chance to show us more about who you are, aside from the grades we see on transcripts.

On the other hand, don’t make a long list of little things that you tried for a few hours now and then.  It is not impressive.  Stick with the significant things you’ve done over a long period, or that required a lot of hours over a short period.

Don’t worry if you only have a few extracurriculars.  That is actually fairly normal and completely understandable.  Also don’t worry if your extracurriculars are not “engineering” related.  We don’t really expect them to be.  Again, this is about you telling us about yourself.  We don’t have any preconceived notions about what people should do in their spare time, so don’t try to second guess what it is we are looking for.