For many teens, high school is a time of discovering who they are and what they want to do in life. Whether it be business, medicine, or computer science, teens across the nation are asking themselves one question. What extracurricular activities can boost my chances of getting into a great college and are interesting? With all that being said, let us dive into the endless possibilities for extracurricular activities now!
For many, computer science is not only something they want to do in life, they can also do it for fun and this opens up many extracurricular activity possibilities. As the field is growing, college applications for this major are getting more competitive, so it is important to have good extracurricular to show your expertise in the field. With that being said, here are some great activities for computer science.
1. Hackathons: Simply put, a hackathon is a 24-hour competition where teams can code anything of their choice. At the end, a panel of judges will review your submission and will award teams with awards like best overall project, best hardware project, and more.
Hackathons can teach you so much and, because it's an actual application of coding, you will hit an exponential learning curve when working with others. It is also a great 24 hours to spend with friends and is a great event for you to meet new people.
2. Computer Team: If your school has a computer team, it is a great way to be exposed to many competitions, such as the USACO or United States of America Computing Olympiad, and can help you learn and apply skills necessary in order to place at these competitions.
3. Robotics Team: A staple for anyone interested in computer science, engineering, or both, the robotics team is an amazing way to network and solve real world problems. It not only encompasses computer science, which is needed to actually move the robot, but it requires engineering, for the building of the robot, and marketing, to actually fundraise the money needed to start, apply, and compete in a competition. It is an amazing extracurricular that you will enjoy and one that colleges look at and say "Wow, this person must be qualified for our university".
4. Any Computer Science research club: Any club like Machine Learning club, Artificial Intelligence club, Girls Who Can Code, and etc. can get you started on that research project you have been longing to start. These clubs are great for meeting potential mentors who can jumpstart your development in computer science and can provide peers with whom you can work with. Through these clubs, you can even publish any research you may have worked on or contributed to.
With more and more advances in technology being available in these fields, Biology and Medicine are becoming top majors for many rising freshman at college. However, medicine is one of the most competitive if not the most competitive majors, with biology not far behind. It is important to remember that to stand out, you must have good extracurricular activities. Here are some below:
1. HOSA(Health Occupation Students of America): HOSA is an amazing club where you get to participate in competitions through a variety of categories like pharmacology, debating hospital policies, and even veterinary science. This club allows you to grow an interest in the field of medicine and has a variety of categories for you to choose from, building your appreciation and passion for medicine. You also get to meet cool people, and if you do well in competitions, colleges will take note.
2. Anatomy Club: This club is a fun club where you can relax and learn about the human body. With so many different parts, many aspiring medical majors find it tough to figure out what type of doctor to be.
Whether it be an orthopedic surgeon, cardiologist, or neurologist, the options are endless and choosing can be tough. Anatomy club, however, can mitigate this problem and give you an idea of what body part you are most interested in specializing in.
3. Biology Olympiad: Much like the Computer Olympiad, Biology Olympiad is a test that can give you access to many awards and scholarships. Those who do great in this exam will have a very high chance of getting a scholarship and even the attention of big-name colleges. Overall, this is a great opportunity for those who want to pursue medicine and biology and its a great way to meet its potential.
4. ISEF(International Science and Engineering Fair): While the name science fair can raise the picture of a baking soda volcano to many, ISEF is not. In fact, it is the biggest exhibition for high school research and many high-ranking people in their respective fields judge this competition.
When presenting your research at ISEF, you are not only eyeing the top prize, but you are also attracting potential coordinators and mentors who can help you do anything you desire to do in the field of your dreams. This is a great extracurricular for aspiring medical students, because research is very important and knowing how to research and who to research with can make med-school and college much easier.
While not a STEM major, politics requires you to be knowledgeable about a lot of subjects and the most important are those regarding what is plaguing humanity and how we can solve it. Simply put, politics isn't just a subject you can learn at school and be good at, but you must have the hidden talent within you to be able to communicate with others and persuade them. With that being said, what extracurriclars can help with that and boost your chances at a good college?
1. Debate: Whether it's Public Forum debate or Model United Nations or MUN debate, the possibilities are endless. As long as your school has a chapter, you can compete in national competitions(and if your school doesn't have one, all you need is a dedicated person to be the acting coach and contact NSDA!).
These competitions are amazing because you can hone your skills in public speaking and modulation, which are needed when entering the field of politics. Some debates are even partner debates, so it also teaches you teamwork and cooperation, which is also important in politics and life in general.
2. Student Government: A band of selected students who take care of communication between the student body and the faculty makes up what we know as the Student Government. This establishment is the single greatest way of increasing your leadership skills if elected and can help you become a better communicator and thinker.
When put into a situation where you have to talk to people about their problems, you learn quickly that it isn't as easy as just saying something and leaving the conversation. You need leadership and communication to succeed and even be elected to this program. It is also a great extracurricular activity to put on your college apps!
3. Young Voters: While not being as widespread of a club as debate activities or student government, the young voters club is a great place to discuss political parties and political candidates in a pressure-free, judgement-free, and free speech zone. Just assemble a few politically driven and educated people and have a discussion about politics and you have yourself a club. Having an officer position in these types of clubs is great because it shows that you are dedicated to the matters of the world and are willing to branch out of your comfort zone.
Engineering is the blanket term for a lot of professions and majors today. Whether you want to go into civil engineering, aeronautical engineering, or mechanical engineering, they all fall under the discipline of engineering. However, much like computer science, engineering is very competitive, so what extracurriculars show mastery and experience?
Aeronautical Club: As said by its name, it is a club filled with those who are enthusiastic and passionate about how to aerodynamically engineer something and how it applies to everyday things. There are many offshoots of this club, like rocketeering club, but the core club talks about everything aeronautical. It is a great club if you want to be around like-minded people and those who are passionate about aeronautical engineering.
You can expect to do things like learning the aerodynamics of an airplane to actually build a rocket. It is a cool club to try out and if you make the most out of it, you can even put it on your college app.
3D printing club: While 3D printers are relatively new and not too cheap right now, many libraries and shops are upgrading to include more of these machines. Because of this, many 3D printing clubs across the world are gaining more and more members. It is a great club to bring your ideas to life and you also learn how to CAD in the process. Many colleges love to see this prior knowledge and can show that you have technical experience.
Automotive Engineering Club: If you want to be a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, or a civil engineer, Automotive engineering club is an amazing club for you. This club focuses on building cars and other mechanical machines which can run on their own. For example, some schools make actual working cars and even rockets. This club is probably one of the best clubs for your college applications because you get to show what you actually did physically rather than some research paper.
While I went over a lot of extracurriculars for their respective fields and majors, there are some extracurricular activities which can be applied to pretty much every major you want to go into. Let's get to know them now.
Volunteering: Probably the most underrated but hardest one to do. Volunteering isn't just about doing your community service hours and stopping there. It's about actually making a difference in your community.
Whether it's volunteering at your local church, or cooking food for your local homeless shelter, the possibilities are endless. However, for volunteering, you must be dedicated and if you can manage to make a big enough impression in your community, your chances at your dream college might just go up.
Sports: Now if you are not a sports person, that's OK! But if you are, don't just stop playing a sport because you think it won't get you very far to a good college. Extracurriculars are not always related to the field that you want to major in and playing a sport can actually reinforce the idea of team building and cooperation. And it's fun and some good exercise!
Hobbies: Whether you like to collect different colored beaded bracelets, or skateboarding, your hobbies are important. After all, more than any extracurricular and research you do, your hobbies are your character builders. Show the college that you have a good and developed character, and your chances will, again, go up. Also, hobbies are something that fades over time, so enjoy them now!
Interships/Jobs: These 2 things are very important because they show that you have job experience. With an internship, you can boost your chances at a selective research university because internship experience is valuable in college where you will be working under similar mentors. A summer job is also great because you get job experience, which is very crucial right now in society and college, and another perk is that you get paid and can use this money towards student debt!