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What extra-curricular activities can I do (during the pandemic) to standout on my college application?

I'm a junior in high school who is starting her college journey. I'm interested in studying English, Philosophy, Business, and Computer Science. I've been trying to study how to trade stocks. high-school day-trading collegejourney finance college-applications extra-curriculars

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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6 answers


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John’s Answer

Mariah you’ve probably heard that “colleges look at extracurriculars,” but you might be wondering what that really means for you. What are colleges evaluating when they look at your extracurricular participation, and how can you ensure that your activities make a good impression? First, it’s important not to spread yourself too thin. Colleges aren’t looking for sheer quantity; they want to see passion and commitment to activities that you find meaningful. Choose a few activities that genuinely interest you and strive to take on leadership roles or otherwise contribute to the team, club, or group. Deepen and develop these interests over time. Don’t choose activities solely because you think they will impress admissions officers. They want to know what you enjoy so they can envision how you might get involved and contribute on their campuses. The bottom line is this: Participate in the extracurricular activities that you want to participate in, then think about how you can best lead and contribute in these areas.

PASSION – Your activities are supposed to be a reflection of you and what you care about. Admissions officers can usually tell when you're just doing activities to pad out your resume. Colleges love students who are passionate because, more often than not, they are the ones who will stick with something through thick and thin and go on to change the world. You can show passion by focusing on a couple activities and dedicating a significant amount of time to them.

LEADERSHIP – Leaders are the people who will be at the forefront of change and the first to take on new challenges. Since colleges are looking to educate and shape the leaders of tomorrow, they love to see students who are taking initiative to be leaders through their extracurricular activities. You can do this by leading a group or activity, being in charge of a project, or otherwise motivating or directing other students.

IMPACT – How have you changed your activity for the better? Have you expanded membership or the amount of activities your extracurricular does? If you saw a problem, did you fix it? Once again, colleges are looking for the people who are going to change the world someday. In your activities, you can show them that you're the type of person who takes something and leaves it better than you found it.

I hope this was helpful Mariah

John recommends the following next steps:

National Honor Society (NHS) – National Honor Society is an organization for high-achieving students that focuses on scholarship, leadership, and service. To join, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA, and teacher recommendation forms are typically required. NHS prefers candidates who have demonstrated good character, as well as a commitment to service and leadership. If you decide to participate in NHS, consider going for a leadership position, such as president, vice president, or treasurer of the club. Being an NHS officer demonstrates that you’re a top leader among some of the best students in your school, which is certainly attractive to colleges.
STEM Clubs – If you’re interested in computer science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, it’s a great idea to join a STEM-related club at your school. This is especially true if you’re applying to a college like CalTech or MIT, where the admissions team wants a class of students who are deeply curious and passionate about STEM fields.
Self-development – Finally, universities want to see that you’re a self-starter. Taking a massive open online course (Mooc) can highlight that you are serious about studying – and will often come with a certificate once you’ve completed it. This small time commitment can improve your personal statement. Otherwise, consider entering competitions to prove your capability against other students. Take part in an essay competition and you’ll stand out from the rest.
thank you for the advice! Mariah M.
Your Welcome Mariah. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. John Frick
Thank You Mariah. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact John Frick
Thank You Kevin. No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. John Frick
Thank You Sydni. “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” — Helen Keller John Frick
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Izabella’s Answer

Hi Mariah! I am a student at NYU and I wanted to give you advice from a non-professional standpoint. If I were you, I would join my school newspaper as you can easily work there remote and will have evidence of your work. For example, in your application you can show some sample articles that you have written. If writing is not your think, I would recommend virtual volunteering, I know that UNICEF has a lot of options and there are multiple websites offering these as well. If you can't find any, let me know and I will send them over to you. Make sure you have evidence of your work in any extra-curricular activity you would like to pursue in order to build your portfolio.
I really appreciate the advice you gave me! Mariah M.
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Richard’s Answer

Hello! First, my condolences that you must go through this time in your life and the college recruiting process during this pandemic. However, I suspect that there are some great things that you can do to continue learning during the pandemic. You indicated 4 interests, so I will answer each in turn:

Business/Trading stocks: I cannot recommend highly enough Khan academy's finance series for understanding the fundamentals both of qualitative and of quantitative analysis. Khan was a hedge fund expert before starting KA and is incredibly qualified for these videos

Computer Science: there are many great and free resources online for learning to code, and having taught yourself a language is something you can discuss on college apps. Python/R/SQL for data analytics, htlm/css for web design, C for hardcore CS

English: if you want to study english, you might bring in your favorite books and what you love about them on your applications. For this, it'll just be read read read and practice explaining why you like the genres/eras that you love. Make sure to read opinions and analyses of what you read so you can agree with or take issue with those

Philosophy: same as english. Can start with things like 'a history of thought' etc to give you a better overview. (personally there are also great videos and podcasts about this, like Philosophize This)
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Craig’s Answer

Hi there,

When it comes to applications, there are certain activities that all schools like to see but I highly suggest you customize your applications for each school when possible. I would browse admitted students' profiles to get a sense of what's sought after. I think it would be great to reach out to those students via social media and have a friendly, honest chat.

If you are thinking of trading, the best advice I can share is education. You would want to be continuously educated of events and trends to be able to handle money prudently. Trading involves handling your own and/or others' money so you need to know, for starters, the financial jargon being thrown around. I suggest taking free, online courses on the financial markets and stocks to start off your journey. Please also get used to reading and watching financial news; Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal are great sources but there are many more out there. Practice and experience makes you better over time - all the best in your journey!

Thank you for the advice! Mariah M.
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Bob’s Answer

Hello, I see that you are interested in Finance and Trading, I would suggest that you sign up for an on-line stock market simulator/game, this will help to familiarize you with the mechanics of stock trading. Some examples (no sites are endorsed) can be found at https://mashable.com/2010/10/22/stock-market-games/. Good luck!
Thank you for the advice! Mariah M.
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Veronica’s Answer

Hello Mariah,


I totally agree with Mr. Frick.

Colleges definitely look into the extracurriculars where you have shown commitment and dedication. College admissions officers like knowing that you are taking advantage of opportunities that are either helping you with your future career or in general gaining skills.
I would encourage you to look into extracurriculars that you might be interested in and give them a try. Due to COVID-19, I know most opportunities will be offered remotely.


In this case, I would encourage you to do community service. I know there many organizations, businesses, and schools giving students the opportunity to volunteer remotely and perhaps even intern. I would recommend looking for an organization that aligns with your personal values and goals. Once you find the organization look into their website, find volunteer opportunities, and get involved.




Thank you for the advice ! Mariah M.
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