The activities list gives graduate admissions or fellowship committees a clearer picture of your achievements, honors, personal interests, leadership experiences, community service, and publications. In general, it should include your activities and honors during college. However, if certain high-school activities or honors help demonstrate a long-standing interest in the kind of activity you are now proposing or a long-standing record of achievement in a field, it may also be to your advantage to include that information.
Design your entries according to the goals and characteristics of the particular fellowship. For a strictly academic, Ph.D. fellowship, you might not list your leadership role on a fraternity's social-activities committee. For a fellowship that highly values leadership abilities, you would list such a role.
Do not attempt to cite every activity in which you have ever taken part. Instead focus on providing information about your most central commitments and achievements. Use your personal statement to expand on the one or two most significant activities or the ones in which you had the greatest impact.
As you compose your entries, assume that your readers are unfamiliar with the organizations in which you were involved. Spell out succinctly the nature of each organization if it is not clear from the name, and explain exactly what you have done or accomplished and what honors or recognition you have earned.
An activities list that is a chore to read will make a less favorable impression that one that is well-organized and pleasing to the eye. Some pointers:
- Divide up your list with category headings. Examples might be Academic Honors and Awards, Athletics, Work, and Leadership Activities.
- List in order -- either in reverse chronological order or by order of importance to you. Order is assumed by the reader, so be intentional.
- Highlight major activities -- possibly by devoting the most space to them so that the reader gets a visual clue to their importance.
- Explain activities and awards unique to WPI. Don't count on readers to be familiar with them.
- Don't use abbreviations or acronyms (never say "IQP" or "SocComm," but "WPI" is ok).
- Don't clutter with activities where you spent a day or so or which may appear trivial.
- List your most significant work positions. Include paid jobs, unpaid internships, assistantships, or specialist volunteer roles.
- Don't overstate activities.
- If you are truly athletic, mention it. Otherwise, don't talk about exercise and physical fitness.
- Neatness counts enormously. Type and align carefully.