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What extracuricular activities/volunteering should I do in Highschool?

Hey there! So, I'm going to become a freshman in a few days and I'm really lost on what I should do with my extracuricular activities/volunteering. I'm not apart of a sports team because I do not enjoy sports like others. And I'm not apart of a program (AVID, Theater, Sport Teams, etc.). What I do know although is that I really want to join clubs such as the Red Cross Club, UNICEF, National Honors Society, etc. I also want to join the Academic Decathlon Team as well. I'm also planning on making my own club my sophomore year called Education is Not A Crime Club. I am also joining ROP Medical Classes offered at our school. But, I still feel like I'm not doing enough. I had a 4.0 GPA in both years of middle school with 3 honors classes (Language Arts, Social Studies, Science). I am also enrolled in Honors Language Arts, Spanish 2 Honors, and Biology Honors my Freshman year. Any tips on what I should do? #college #teacher #high-school #extracurriculars #student-clubs


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Rebecca’s Answer

Hi, Anita. Welcome to high school! Freshman year can feel like a big transition for many students. I was a 9th and 10th grade high school teacher for 6 years and helped design and run summer transition programs for freshmen.


Freshman year is a great opportunity to set a strong foundation for the next three years of high school. Take time to understand teachers' expectations and how they might be different than middle school. Give yourself time and space to adjust to academic expectations. How much homework and study time do your teachers expect for each class? Ask your teachers what the most important thing you can do (and not do) to succeed in the class. Ask your teachers how you'll know how you are doing in the class and what to do if you're struggling. What are their office hours? Where do they post homework? What do you do to catch up if you're absent? What do they expect from you at the beginning and end of class? Give yourself time to create habits that will help you succeed. Make sure these habits include things that will help you stay organized.


Once you have a clear picture of the time commitment that each of your classes will require, block that time so you can see what your schedule looks like before extracurricular activities.


In terms of extracurricular activities, my schools always held an extracurricular fair or welcome week. Find out if your school offers this as well. When I was in high school, I found clubs to be easier than my sports and theater commitments. Ask the different groups you're considering how often they meet and if they have any special projects during the year that require more time. If you want to join three clubs and they all have a major project in March, you might want to choose a different combination. Rather than joining 6 extracurricular activities at once, consider one at a time. Then try adding each to the schedule you created so you can see everything together. Do you have time to just BE?


Colleges are more concerned with 10th and 11th grade so freshman year struggles aren't the end of the world, but if you use 9th grade to set yourself up for success in 10th and 11th grade as academic expectations increase, you will be so grateful!


The biggest reason I saw freshmen struggle was that they didn't understand the long-term implications of their short-term decisions. When the year started, they were excited, but when the pace picked up, some struggled to keep up. It doesn't have to be that way!


Finally, be kind to yourself. If you do struggle with the transition, ask for support sooner than later. And don't be embarrassed to cut back if you do find that you've over-committed yourself.


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Dave’s Answer

Hi Anita- it looks like you're a driven individual and congratulations on that 4.0 GPA. I like Ken's response and I agree with it- slow down and take a breath. I don't think the quantity of activities is as important as the quality of the activities that you're pursuing. For example, what if you went all in with that great idea of yours, forming the Education is Not a Crime Club? I'm thinking that this is a passion of yours, so why not focus on that? What could you possibly accomplish from that activity that could be a game changer for others. I'm thinking that here's an opportunity to engage your passion and do what you love- the positive results will be a game changer.


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Kelsey’s Answer

My best advice is to do what you enjoy when it comes to extra curricular activities. Don't worry about what colleges will think, look for clubs and organizations you are interested in. This can help you discover possible career opportunities for the future by expanding your horizons and discovering your passions. Colleges want to see that you're a well-rounded individual, not a robot. It's better if you can speak with a passion about a few things instead of just participating in a ton of things.


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Ken’s Answer

Hi Anita!


I think the first thing that you should do is slow down and take a deep breath.


The most important thing is that you do not want to overload yourself.


Two reasons for participating in activities are:
1. to have fun and do things that you enjoy
2. participate in activities such as internship, coop, volunteer, and shadowing programs that will expose you to career areas of interest


Best of luck! Please let me know if and how this might help. I would like to follow your progress.


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