When it comes to giving marks for extracurricular activities , quality wins over quantity.
A fruitful summer of research with a publication is better than three summers being a lab assistant/tech. A long term commitment to a volunteer organization with significant responsibilities is better than volunteering at three different hospitals.
The same goes for personal activities. Do you play several instruments at an intermediate level, or can you play one instrument with high caliber? Are you good at several non-competitive sports or are you a varsity athlete representing your school?
Don’t think that spreading yourself over several similar activities represent diversity. Whether you volunteer at one hospital or five, your diversity of experiences remains relatively the same. Diversity is doing something different from the status quo. It is exploring options you haven’t previously considered. A competitive athlete that also helps out at a homeless shelter is diverse. An athlete that plays two different sports, not so much.
So if you’re deciding what extracurricular activities / interests to pursue, here are three good guidelines to follow.
1) Commit to something that you enjoy doing / are interested in
2) Commit to it whole-heartedly, give it your all
3) Find something you’re good at – and do it better
Abraham Lincoln said it best,
“Whatever you are, be a good one”