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Activities & Honors Guide

Table of Contents


How to fill it out

  • 100 character limit

  • Use phrases instead of sentences

  • Type numbers instead of spelling them out (6, not “six”)

  • Combine multiple years into one entry

  • Avoid writing out things already in the checkboxes

Bad: I got first place in the national Example Making Competition in the high school division in the science category as a junior. (104 characters)
Good: 1st place, Example Making Competition; science category (55 characters)

What order should they go in?

Factors to consider:

  • Level of Recognition: the higher the level, the more impressive

  • Exclusivity: how many people can get this award?

  • Relevance to your major: a Scholastic Writing award in poetry isn't as important if you're applying as a biology major

  • Difficulty: how hard was it to get this award?

  • Recency: more recent honors are better. Avoid middle school honors.



How to fill it out (basic)

  • 150 character limit for description

  • Use the official title for your position

  • Use present tense for activities you still do & past tense for past activities

  • Use specific numbers whenever possible! Examples:

    • How much money did you raise?

    • How many new members did you recruit?

    • How many people attended the concert?

  • Avoid repeating verbs (even across activities if possible)

  • Choose specific verbs over general verbs (bad verbs: avoid made/did/led/helped)

Bad: I worked as the marketing director at a small local business. I designed social media posts, in addition to coordinating digital advertising campaigns and printed flyers. We raised a significant amount of money through these. (225 characters)
Good: Designed social media posts; coordinated digital and print ad campaigns that raised $10,000 (91 characters)


Job Function: the list of actions you performed. The verb is the most important part of each function. This should be centered around your role in the group.

Good Examples:

  • Mentored students 1:1 in calculus 2 hrs/week

  • Coordinate scheduling & delegate tasks to 16 jr. volunteers

  • Recommend frequency/quantity of restocking based on consumer interest

  • Raised $2k for charity via in-person and virtual events

Focus on your job function, NOT personal results.

Bad examples:

  • Honed leadership skills from volunteering experience

  • Improved time management & multitasking abilities

  • Gained invaluable firsthand experience from shadowing

  • Found my passion for grassroots activism

What order should they go in?

Meaningful engagement is relevant here. Factors to consider:

  • Length of time: How long have you been doing this for?

  • Role: Did you have a distinguished or leadership position or role?

  • Prestige: Did you or your group win any award, competition, or honor?

  • Relevance to major

  • Continued engagement: Will you keep doing this in college?


Activity or Honor? 🤔

Some honors can be listed as part of an activity. You should make this decision based on how many activities and honors you have total.


  • “Chess” can be an activity that includes not just your high school chess club but also any individual chess awards or competitions that you won.

  • “Violin” can be an activity that includes being principal violin in your school orchestra, state honors orchestra, and a soloist competition award.

  • “Math” is a school subject, not an activity. List your AMC placement as an honor.

  • However, if you were in your school math club, you can list “Math Club” as an activity that includes your AMC placement.

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