Is Babysitting an Extracurricular Activity?

As a high school student, maintaining good grades and raising your GPA should be your top priority. You want to show colleges that you have a strong work ethic and are capable of meeting the demands of college-level academics. But, while the work you do in the classroom should be highlighted on your college application, you should also take the time to flesh out your extracurriculars. 

Extracurricular activities help college admissions officers get a fuller understanding of who you are—especially who you are outside an academic setting. By participating in extracurriculars, you can show off strengths and interests that your high school curriculum may not cater to. Students can also use extracurriculars to show off personal characteristics—especially interpersonal skills like leadership and empathy—that may be harder to support using evidence drawn only from in-class experience. 
Still, many students wonder which extracurriculars will look the best on their college application. In this post, we’ll talk specifically about babysitting and whether babysitting is an extracurricular activity you should include on your application.

Is Babysitting Actually an Extracurricular Activity?

Unless it’s done as part of a Life Skills or Home Economics course, Babysitting is absolutely an extracurricular activity. Whether you’re babysitting for free as a favor for people you know personally or if you’re a paid babysitter for complete strangers, you should consider listing babysitting on your college application. In fact, if you are paid to babysit, it may look even better, especially if you’ve turned your gig into a full-fledged business!

Importantly, though, you should add babysitting to your application in a way that highlights your best qualities. How much babysitting can improve your admissions chances depends primarily on how you talk about it. 

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We recommend talking about how much time you spend babysitting, why you babysit, the specific activities (especially educational activities) that you use to engage the kids you babysit, and what lessons you’ve learned from babysitting. Stress the degree of trust that parents place in you, your creativity in working with kids, and the empathy and other emotional skills you bring to bear when babysitting.

Why You Should List Babysitting as an Extracurricular Activity?

While you may hesitate to list babysitting as an extracurricular, depending on how you describe this activity, it can actually look really good on your college application. There are two main ways you can frame babysitting as an activity. 

If you don’t get paid for your babysitting, you can say you babysit to help support your family or  to help another family in need. While babysitting for your family or neighbors might not seem all that impressive at first, it actually shows that you are family-oriented, responsible, and caring towards others and their well-being. 

So, even if you just babysit your siblings, cousins, or family friends, this activity can still add to your application. Taking care of children and keeping them safe takes hard work and patience, and your willingness to do so purely out of the goodness of your heart speaks to your commitment to the people in your life.  Babysitting over a long period of time, even for free, can show schools that you are committed and reliable.

On the other hand, if you do babysitting for money, you can show off other positive personal qualities. Earning money by babysitting shows college admissions officers that you are self-sufficient and working towards independence. And, if you found families to babysit on your own, it shows how industrious you are. Students who create and operate a well-run business out of a babysitting gig can show that they manage time well, have leadership skills, and are goal-oriented. 

Either way, knowing how to handle children is a valuable life skill that will always be useful!

When Is It Not Appropriate to List Babysitting as an Extracurricular?

In most situations, it’s fine to list babysitting as an extracurricular on your college application. 

On the other hand, if you only babysit every once in a while or only for an hour at a time, then it might not be appropriate to list babysitting as an activity. Extracurriculars that you include on your application should be an important part of how you spend your time; if you spend 10-15 hours babysitting each week, it will look really good on your application. Admissions officers will see that you maintained your grades while showing up to your babysitting commitments. 

What Other Extracurricular Activities Should You List on Your Application?

Students should have more than one extracurricular listed on their applications. Babysitting can definitely be included, but what other activities should you list? We’ll talk about the answer to this question in the final part of this post. 

You don’t need to stuff your schedule full of activities to impress college admissions officers. Instead, include activities that you are truly passionate about. Anything you put on your application should show off your best attributes as an individual!

1. Part-Time Jobs

We always recommend listing any part-time jobs. Whether you worked in fast food, retail, or other customer service jobs, employment can help you look more mature and responsible. Taking on a job in high school shows that you’re motivated to succeed both inside the classroom and out. 

In addition, it’s a lot of work to maintain a job and do your school work, so you really show off your work ethic when you list a part-time job on your application.

2. Clubs, Sports, and Volunteer Work

You should list clubs and other school-sponsored activities, as well. This includes sports, debate, drama club, band, and other activities you were involved in. These extracurricular activities show off your ability to work well with others. 

Colleges want to see that you are a part of your school and the local communities. By participating in clubs, volunteer work, and school-related activities, you show that you spend your free time well and are connected to your peers and others in a healthy way. 

If you’ve held important positions, like being a club’s founder or president, definitely include these titles in your application. Also, cite any awards associated with your club or activity. Doing so will make your extracurricular section more impressive!

3. Hobbies and Other Side Projects

Finally, consider listing hobbies and other side projects you’re passionate about. It might not seem all that exciting to talk about what you do in your free time, but you can really show admissions officers a lot about yourself when you include activities that you actually care about. If you are passionate about writing, painting, playing an instrument, or something else, include it on your extracurricular list. Starting a band, creating your own business online, coding for apps, and other non-traditional activities can be added to your application. Again, frame your extracurriculars in a way that will make you seem like a good fit for any college you are applying to. 

At HelloCollege, we know how difficult it can be to prepare for college and aim to make the process as simple and easy as possible. We want to help you get accepted into the university of your dreams!

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The Hello College Team

HelloCollege CEO Andrea Emmons has spent the last 15 years guiding students and families across the country on their path to college. Andrea knows the profound impact proactive college planning has on the lives of students and is passionate about mentoring families through the process.
Kevin Krebs - Founder of HelloCollege

About Our Founder

Kevin Krebs

Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.

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