Common App Activity Page: Writing a Description

You are limited to 150 characters for details, accomplishments, honors won, and accomplishments within each activity, so you will need to be concise and offer only the most pertinent details. If you absolutely need more room to thoroughly explain truly important details about the activity, use the additional information section to expand, or describe it in more detail in your essay if it relates to the topic you choose.

Remember that this section is not there for you to prove your eloquence as a writer; you have the essay to do that. Rather, this serves to inform the admissions committee about your life outside school as succinctly as possible. Use active verbs and limit the use of adjectives and adverbs. You don’t need to use complete sentences. Be as specific as you can be in the space available. If you hold a leadership position, emphasize that role in your description.

Try to focus on quantitative descriptions over qualitative ones. Adding numerical values offers concrete proof of your success, and can show colleges how you were involved specifically. If you are a leader in the activity, mention how many members the group has, how many people you serve (if applicable), how many people your work affected, and so on.

Try not to be redundant, especially considering the limited space. For instance, if you are the president of the tutoring club at your school, you don’t need to list “tutoring” in the description, since colleges are likely to consider that a given; instead, emphasize your duties as president, how you manage and distribute tasks and how you work with club members. If you want to talk about the actual tutoring in more detail, discuss your approach — e.g., “Meet with students one-on-one, develop study aids, and create practice examples.”


Position/Leadership description and organization name, if applicable: Editor, The Daily (school newspaper)

Please describe this activity, including what you accomplished and any recognition you received, etc.: Run weekly meetings, brainstorm ideas, assign and revise 10 articles/week, collaborate with printer to distribute 500 copies to students and faculty.