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The Impact of Extracurricular Activities on College and University Admissions

When Canadian high school students (or their parents) set their sights on higher education, they often concentrate on maintaining impressive grades and excelling in standardized tests. While academic accomplishments remain a pivotal component, Canadian colleges and universities have adopted a more holistic approach to admissions. They seek well-rounded individuals who can make meaningful contributions to their academic institutions, both inside and outside the classroom. This is where extracurricular activities become essential. In this post, we will delve into the significance of extracurricular activities in the Canadian college and university admissions process, the types of activities that can make a difference, and how to effectively leverage your involvement to stand out to admissions committees in Canada and abroad.

The Holistic Approach to College or University Admissions
The approach to college admissions in Canada mirrors the international trend of looking beyond mere academics. Canadian institutions increasingly consider applicants as multifaceted individuals with diverse talents, interests, and experiences. While academic performance remains crucial, admissions committees value well-rounded students who exhibit qualities such as character, leadership, and a commitment to their communities.

Extracurricular activities offer applicants the perfect avenue to showcase these qualities. By participating in these activities, students demonstrate passion, commitment, and a genuine balance between academic and non-academic pursuits, which aligns with the holistic approach to admissions in Canada.

Types of Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities in Canada encompass a diverse range of interests and involvement, reflecting the country’s multicultural and multifaceted society. These activities include:

1. Sports and Athletics
Participating in sports not only promotes physical fitness but also nurtures teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Joining a school sports team, competing at the provincial level, or engaging in local sports clubs is a way to demonstrate your dedication and cooperative spirit.

2. Clubs and Organizations
Canadian high schools offer a multitude of clubs and organizations catering to various interests. Joining such groups allows you to explore your passions, develop leadership skills, and actively engage in your school or community.

3. Student Government and Leadership Roles
Serving on a student council or in leadership positions within clubs and organizations provides valuable experience in decision-making, event planning, and representing your fellow students. These roles exemplify your ability to lead and create positive change.

4. Volunteer Work and Community Service
Canadian institutions hold a deep appreciation for social responsibility. Engaging in volunteer work reflects your commitment to making a difference in your community and resonates strongly with admissions committees.

5. Arts and Creative Pursuits
Canada has a rich cultural heritage, and Canadian colleges and universities value artistic talent. Whether you’re involved in music, theater, visual arts, or creative writing, participation in the arts adds a unique dimension to your application.

6. Academic Competitions
Participating in academic competitions such as math, science, or debate tournaments showcases your intellectual curiosity and ability to excel in challenging environments, qualities that higher-education institutions highly regard.

7. Work and Internships
Part-time jobs or internships related to your field of interest reflect your professional drive and work ethic. These experiences offer a glimpse into your potential as a future employee or intern in an academic or professional setting.

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities in Canadian Admissions
Extracurricular activities are highly regarded in the Canadian college admissions process for several reasons:

1. Demonstrating Leadership
Participating in leadership roles within clubs, organizations, or sports teams demonstrates your capacity to take initiative and lead others towards common goals. Admissions committees in Canada value students who can make a positive impact on their institutions and communities.

2. Displaying Commitment
Long-term involvement in extracurricular activities showcases your dedication and steadfast commitment to specific interests or causes. Canadian admissions officers appreciate applicants who have persevered in their chosen activities.

3. Showcasing Diversity
Colleges and universities aim to foster inclusive and diverse campus communities. Engaging in a variety of activities illustrates your multifaceted personality and diverse interests, making you a more appealing candidate.

4. Highlighting Passion
Admissions committees are seeking students who are genuinely passionate about their pursuits. Your enthusiasm for an extracurricular activity can set you apart from other applicants.

5. Contributing to Campus Life
Canadian institutions strive to create vibrant and diverse campus communities. Your involvement in extracurricular activities indicates your potential to contribute positively to campus life, enriching the overall educational experience.

6. Providing Evidence of Soft Skills
Extracurricular activities help develop soft skills such as teamwork, communication, time management, and problem-solving, all of which are valuable in academic and professional settings. Higher-education admissions committees recognize the significance of these skills.

How to Leverage Extracurricular Activities in Your Application
To effectively leverage your involvement in extracurricular activities in your college or university application, consider the following strategies:

1. Choose Activities Wisely
Select activities that genuinely interest you and resonate with your aspirations. In Canadian admissions, it’s not about quantity but the depth and authenticity of your involvement.

2. Demonstrate Leadership
Whenever possible, take on leadership roles within your chosen activities to demonstrate your capacity to lead and make a meaningful impact.

3. Showcase Impact
Highlight your achievements within each activity. Whether it’s organizing successful events, leading impactful projects, or making a measurable difference in your community, these accomplishments reflect your dedication and effectiveness.

4. Write Compelling Essays
In your Canadian college application essays, share personal stories and reflections about how your extracurricular activities have shaped your character and ambitions. Be sincere and honest about your experiences.

5. Request Strong Recommendations
Seek recommendations from teachers, advisors, or mentors who can testify to your character, commitment, and contributions within your extracurricular activities.

6. Seek Canadian Scholarships and Awards
Your involvement in extracurricular activities may make you eligible for Canadian scholarships and awards that recognize and reward your achievements. Explore opportunities that acknowledge your contributions.

7. Align with Your Desired Major or Field
If you have a clear academic or career path in mind, consider aligning your extracurricular activities with your intended major or field of study. This demonstrates your dedication and genuine interest.

Canadian Institutions Recognize the Value of Extracurricular Activities
Canadian colleges and universities recognize the incredible value that extracurricular activities bring to their campuses. These activities not only enhance the overall student experience but also contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals who are prepared to make positive contributions to society.

As you embark on your journey to higher education in Canada, remember that your extracurricular involvement is more than just a resume booster. It’s a testament to your passion, dedication, and your capacity to lead and effect change. Canadian admissions committees are eager to see applicants who embrace these opportunities and exhibit a strong commitment to their interests and communities.

In the competitive landscape of Canadian college and university admissions, extracurricular activities hold a special place in showcasing who you are beyond your academic record. The holistic approach to admissions in Canada emphasizes the importance of well-rounded individuals who bring diverse talents and interests to their future academic institutions.

To stand out in the admissions process, carefully select your extracurricular activities, take on leadership roles, and make a meaningful impact in your school or community. Through well-crafted essays, strong recommendations, and alignment with your desired field of study, you can effectively leverage your extracurricular involvement in your application.

As you pursue higher education in Canada, remember that Canadian institutions value individuals who bring passion, commitment, and a readiness to contribute positively to campus life. Your extracurricular activities are more than just experiences – they are a reflection of your character, your potential, and your ability to make a difference in the world.

Rising Stars is a dedicated partner in nurturing and empowering students on their journey towards college and university admissions. Through a holistic approach, Rising Stars provides a comprehensive range of services, including academic guidance, mentorship, extracurricular activity support, and personalized coaching. Our commitment to excellence ensures that students not only achieve impressive academic results but also develop vital soft skills, leadership abilities, and a deep sense of community engagement. Rising Stars’ personalized approach empowers students to explore their passions, develop their unique talents, and excel in all aspects of their lives. With their unwavering support, students are well-equipped to present themselves as well-rounded, confident, and accomplished individuals, making them stand out to college and university admissions committees.

Rising Stars


RS Technical Director

Brock University, NCCP Level III


*Soccer Development
*Sport Promotion


RS Technical Director – Athletics

Waterloo University, BA

Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


RS Regional Director – Athletics & Education

Waterloo University, BA
Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official
High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


Sport Development 
Youth Development


RS Technical Director – Play & Recess

NCCP: Coaches Physical Literacy Training


Play & Recreation
Recess Programming

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy Instructor Program
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood
Member of the US Play Coalition (Since 2011)
Founder of the Canadian Play Network
Creator of the PlanetPlay Stencil line


Regional Director

Lakehead University, B.A.
University of Newcastle – Australia, B.Ed
Specialist PE & Health


*Indigenous Education
*Youth & Sport Development

As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy Six Nations.

Matt King grew up as an all star athlete. He played NAIG for Team Ontario, and represented Ontario at National Aboriginal basketball camp, where he was selected MVP. Matt competed as a varsity athlete for the Mens Basketball Team at Laurier and Lakehead Universities, and went on to coach U Sport at both Lakehead and Guelph. Matt continued his education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. After ten years of dedicated service as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director (Chair) with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Matt embarked on a new professional adventure, while continuing to compete in triathlons and Iron-Man races. As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. Matt specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy – Six Nations.


RS Associate Director

Laurier University, B.A.
Queensland University of Technology – Australia, B.Ed,


*Basketball Development
*Indigenous Education

As an Associate Director at Rising Stars, Dee coordinates programs both in the athletics and education divisions in support of youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserves.

Delicia Channer competed as a varsity athlete for Laurier University Women’s Basketball Team, where she was the team captain and a division all star. Dee continued her education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. Dee now serves as an Associate Director with Rising Stars. She is a LEAD Facilitator for Indigenous projects, programs, and services. In this role, Dee facilities creative programs and workshops that promote Indigenous awareness and empowerment. As Rising Stars most Senior Programs Instructor & Facilitator, Dee coordinates programs in both the athletics and education divisions. Dee specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. She currently serves as the Head Coach for the Conestoga College Women’s Basketball team.


Senior Vice President, Director of Programs

Spring Arbor University, BSc Concurrent Education
Specialist Sport Science


* Female Empowerment
* Sport Development

As the Senior Vice President at Rising Stars Athletics & Education, Erin serves as the General Manager of the Education Division. Erin facilitates Advanced Programs and Instruction for administrators, coaches, and teachers. Erin develops and designs programs and curriculum for student engagement and athlete development.

Erin Forman is former member of both Softball Canada’s National team program and Baseball Canada’s National Team. She played in the 2004 Women’s World Series in Japan, and the 2006 World Cup in Taipei. Erin was named All American, All Conference, and Player of the Year, while playing on a U.S. Softball Scholarship. She was recently  inducted into the hall of fame for her achievements in sport. Though Erin’s sport specific bio clearly demonstrates an extensive combination of all around athleticism and personal achievement in softball that very few athletes can claim, equally impressive is her continued commitment to helping others achieve their goals through sport and education in her professional endeavours. Erin serves as role model in her trade and community. She demonstrates an unwavering commitment to making positive differences in the lives of others.

Erin continues to use sport as a vehicle to empower others in the work she does in coaching, and also in her professional endeavours. As a founding partner and Director of Softball Development at Rising Stars, Erin has become one of the most highly sought teachers and coaches of the game. Erin is on the cutting edge of instructional techniques, tools, and theories for optimal development. She has worked with countless local and regional athletes, supporting aspiring student-athletes as they continue in their positive development and successfully pursue opportunities to play college or university ball in Canada, and/or secure U.S. softball scholarships, with many advancing to become provincial and national calibre softball players.


Founding Partner, President & Chair

McMaster University, B.A., M.A
University of Western Ontario – Ph.D


*Leadership & Empowerment
*Youth & Community Development

As the original Founding Partner of what would eventually become the Rising Stars Group of companies, Dr Peters has been instrumental in the continued expansion and reach of positive sport, youth, and community development programs and special projects.

From early beginnings as a competitive student athlete in the Hamilton region, and many local achievements and recognitions at the secondary level, Dr Peters went on to compete as a varsity athlete for McMaster University, winning numerous regional, provincial and national medals as a member of the Men’s Basketball Team. Dr Peters earned both a B.A., and M.A. at McMaster University, and went on to acquire a teaching certificate from D’Youville College, and a Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario. These formative years laid the foundation for what would eventually become Rising Stars Athletics and Education.

He continues to serve as the conglomerate’s most senior executive, with 25 years of success in youth and community development through athletics and education. He continues to leverage his passion and extensive experience to engage youth and community in a positive and healthy development.

Dr. Peters devotes his time and energy to creating and partnering with stakeholders in the facilitation of innovative student and athlete development programs. Through strategic partnerships with national, professional, and elite athletes, coaches, sport science professionals, and educators, Dr Peters continues to collaborate with local organizations and expand through offering a variety of programs designed specifically for the benefit of athletes, students, schools, and communities.