Win a spelling bee? Colleges want you

Posted at 1:15 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 16:15:23-04

You’re a spelling bee participant. You’ve spent countless hours learning about words — how to spell them, how to pronounce them, and how to define them.

You’ve learned to break down words and decipher meanings of related words. You’ve learned grammar, amassed an extensive vocabulary, enhanced your literacy, cognitive and communications skills, developed a competitive spirit, and built self-confidence.

You may even have a few spelling bee championships under your belt.

All of this is just the kind of extracurricular experience that impresses college admissions committees and that helps set you apart in the applicant pool.



“Extracurricular activities are an excellent way for young people to expand on the learning that occurs in the classroom. Whether it be through participating in spelling bees, playing sports, being involved in student clubs, working a part-time job, or by engaging in community service, youth who are active outside of their studies build skills that translate well to a variety of future endeavors, including going to college,” said Keith Southergill, director of admissions for Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University.

In addition to students with high scholastic performance and test scores, the (Barrett) admissions committee — as well as admission committees at other colleges and universities — looks for students who have participated in extracurricular activities and have special talents, exhibit exceptional leadership qualities, pursue interesting hobbies or avocations, enjoy unique personal achievements, have unusual life experiences, or display significant community involvement, Southergill said.

“In particular, Barrett Honors College seeks to admit dynamic and well-rounded students who will contribute to every aspect of the honors college experience and who will benefit from joining the honors community,” he said.

It’s also a given that colleges and universities look for students who are prepared for the academic rigors of their selected degree programs.

So keep on studying words and competing in spelling bees. The experience and capabilities you build matter and could help you in the future endeavors, including attending college.