What role do extracurriculars play in determining your admissions chances?
The activities that you do outside of the classroom are extremely important to understanding who you are, and schools want to know what you are passionate about besides your schoolwork. Your extracurricular list (which will make an appearance in the Activities Section of the Common App) will also help schools see how you apply yourself beyond your academic settings, and the ways in which you have been a leader or innovator in the areas that are important to you.
It’s really good to be busy and diverse in your activities and hobbies, but don’t feel like you have to be equally committed to every last one of them. It’s natural to have one or two areas where you particularly shine, and to which you have committed the most time throughout your high school years. For example, maybe you are a really great musician or athlete, and that is going to play a prominent role in how you sell yourself to colleges. There are only so many hours in a week, and if you have spent time carving out a niche as a true expert in one specific area of your life, schools will recognize and understand that.