Extracurriculars 101 with Elias

Recorded Wednesday, October 27 at 09:00 PM

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About this livestream


We’re back with another episode where Elias gives you the breakdown on extracurriculars! If you’ve heard Elias's signature catchphrase "spiky beats renaissance," and been completely baffled as to what that means, then join Elias as he walks you through CollegeVine's best advice on approaching extracurriculars (so your "spike" can the all-too-common "renaissance" candidate).

Elias will give you a rundown on how to cultivate a strong narrative through your extracurriculars, and administer plenty of tips and tricks you'll need in order to find your spike and make your profile stand out to admissions officers.

Elias’s advice is like finding a celebrity’s spam account on your TikTok FYP — a rare and valuable inside scoop. So don't scroll past this opportunity and come prepared to drop all your admissions-related questions in the chat, where Elias will answer them live!

Your host

Undergrad College: Harvard University '17

Major: Music

Graduate College: University of Michigan, M.M.

Work Experience: Now in my fourth year at CollegeVine, I have helped dozens of students gain acceptance to their top-choice schools and have also advised and mentored thousands more through my livestreams. Apart from my work at CV, I am also a professional conductor and a multi-instrumentalist. I currently serve as the music director of the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, and I have led symphonic concerts and operatic productions throughout the United States.

My Admissions Story: Initially interested in pursuing a career as a performing cellist, I applied almost exclusively to music schools with dual and double degree options and ultimately enrolled in the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program. Unhappy with the combined program and worried I'd never feel like I was fully a student at either school, I logged back into CommonApp.org in October of my freshman year. I can't say I went about the transfer process in the smartest way (I only applied to two schools!), but Harvard miraculously accepted me (or 'excepted me' as I wrote in a celebratory Facebook post that day - no one ever let me live that one down), and the rest was history.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Elias and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
7:15@Duuuuude:Lmao hey
7:24@Destinee3305:Hi I'm destinee and i'm streaming in from walden co
7:28@Leo4:Thanks for the info btw
36:35@Duuuuude:Nah we just interested
36:40@erinportman:I have no idea what Spiky beats Renaissance means!
41:00@maria_sukhomlinova:Hello from Russia!!!
41:02@bananapanda:Is it possible for you to have too many extracurriculars, even if ur doing well in all of them?
41:46@Kaelyn:I have a lot of work just from my classes, college classes since Freshman year. I run two clubs and participate in a summer program year round. I am overrun. Is this enough extra curriculars or should I try to pick it up for applications next year
43:02@Jlc4:How do you create a spike if you are going in as an undecided major?
44:32@hihowareya:Would organizing a book drive that donated over 40000 books count as a spike?
45:03@hayden:Is it better to do many short term things(like a few weeks or a month) or long term(like years)?
45:30@Duuuuude:Are admissions either easier or more difficult for international students than for American students? (e.g. I'm Canadian)
46:22@caroline4232:is it possible to have multiple spikes? it's too hard for me to choose between journalism and computer science right now
47:04@Shriya:is it worth doing honors societies granted many high schoolers do them, and do they add to a spike at all?
47:29@cake:should our extracurriculars have a link with our major for example coding and CS
47:40@Shriya:i wanna double major in comp sci and music and its kinda hard to create a spike :/
47:51@Mohamed.bou6:Can you give an example of a spike in physics/astrophysics?
48:29@Leo4:Welp I'm screwed ish
49:10@erinportman:It says that in the description!
49:24@Kaelyn:just subscribed :)
50:24@Duuuuude:Would telling admissions officers that a novel is "in the pipe" with a publisher still work as a compelling part of a spike?
51:06@Shriya:you said colleges make well rounded classes - does that mean there is high competition for particular majors?
52:11@Kaelyn:lol ik
52:19@Leo4:Do family responsibilities count? And do leadership positions count? Like I didn't start anything but I'm in leader positions within multiple clubs/official organizations
53:02@hihowareya:And would winning a national fundamental accounting contest for business professionals of America be a good spike for a business major? Or being a state officer for business professionals of America?
53:56@Zaynab:I'm currently a junior in high school. I spent my freshman and sophomore year abroad and completed the IGCSE program, but extra-curriculars, sports, etc. were non-existent in schools in that country. I don't have any right now, other than the 2 clubs I joined in school. Most other juniors have been part of a club for 2 years and are now Presidents, etc. I'm worried about what to do and where to start. I've got everything other than extra-curriculars covered. Any recommendations?
55:17@DaKao:I'm an international student. In my country, schools do not offer many extracurricular opportunities for students (almost nothing), so I had to look for them by myself and I have some but I'm not sure if they are as impressive as the ones from an American student. Would colleges take that into consideration?
55:33@Julie06:Can varsity sportsman from freshman can be a spike although i want to major in business?
56:00@aylin:spike ideas for biochem & history majors?
57:02@SeeU:I don't seriously play an instrument, but I create music in the virtual studio, singing, songwriting, etc. How do I create a spike around that?
57:46@Taneesha:Well I take care of my nephew, and now I'm struggling for what exactly I need to write for babysitting because I do everything for him.
58:38@Shriya:how would i go about winning president for all my clubs?
59:15@Taneesha:Thank you sir
59:37@UncleIroh:Can being an environment activist while owning an environment non profit be a spike if I want to major in economics?
60:23@Jayat:Is publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed conference is a good spike? After doing the corresponding summer internship in a university
60:39@Mohamed.bou6:Any spike ideas for philosophy?
61:17@UncleIroh:Thank you sir. Any other spike ideas for an ecom major?
61:52@ShravaniDhawane:are internships mandatory towards creating a well rounded profile? As an International student, we don't have many opportunities as a high school student, they are more geared towards undergraduates. Do Pre-College programs count?
62:12@Kaelyn:wait jobs count as extra curriculars?
62:30@Shriya:wait i have a podcast so if i do a bunch of other broadcast/tech things is that a spike?
63:21@cake:can colleges take into consideration that your country and school does not offer that many extracurricular for example clubs etc so you had to find other things that you can do at home for example
64:07@hayden:what are considered impressive jobs/internships?
64:48@cake:can an internship in a very well known company related to your major be considered as a spike
65:05@Kaelyn:Do college admissions consider what options you have in high school, I go to a homeschool charter that doesn't have many options for extra curriculars.
65:43@Leo4:Let's say I research on my own time and I've sent some of these to some orgs which they published, is that good to include as a extracurricular on its own? Individual researching?
66:08@UncleIroh:How do you view the summer school courses offered by top universities that are not highly selective? Also could you suggest some highly prestigious summer programs for econ/business major?
67:42@cake:is it true that summer programs will not give you higher chances to get into college
67:47@Shriya:okay @Leo4 thats really impressive
67:52@ShravaniDhawane:Is having 4 year of math important for applying as a stem major? What if my school does not offer it for all 4 years, can any extracurricular activities substitute/ account for my proficiency? What are some ideas?
68:50@UncleIroh:Thanks a lot sir.
68:56@Kitty:If a student has good extracurriculars but bad AP scores, is that okay to colleges?
69:15@Echoshine:Can you list some extracurriculars for a human biology major for someone wanting to be say-a neurosurgeon for a high schooler?
69:59@Kaelyn:Silicon valley high school offers classes if you want to take more math
70:03@ocean.shell:UC Scout another way to take more math
70:09@cake:is being polyglot (four languages; one of them is one of the hardest languages on the planet)considered as an extracurricular
70:32@Zaynab:Is investing in stocks with my own portfolio impressive?
70:47@cake:traditional arabic
70:53@Shriya:state science fairs are usually fun @echoshine
71:02@Leo4:Are Coursera courses ok to input?
71:32@KieranMalandain:Hi from the UK! I'm currently on a gap year and applying to some of the top schools (really interested in UChicago), so in my gap year I currently teach extension in maths & sciences. I also am the head of the more-able programme. Is this something I should put down in the extra curricular part? Thanks!
71:53@SeeU:Does winning school and district bee and coming 4th in a regional bee count as impressive to colleges, even if it was in 8th grade?
72:19@Kitty:What AP Scores should be submitted? 4 and above?
72:36@Wes33:I want to go to MIT any tips in general?
72:55@KieranMalandain:Thank you!
73:01@Mohamed.bou6:Do you need some kind of certificate to prove that you speak many languages or you gotta just mention it
73:52@Shriya:do you have any advice on disney dreamers applications? they're due this weekend
74:01@DaKao:I want to study sociology, would a project related to education be a good spike?
75:46@ShravaniDhawane:@Kaelyn @ocean.shell Thank you for the Math recommendations!!
75:53@Leo4:How are you?
77:41@Kitty:Is it okay to have a B on your transcript for Ivy leagues?
77:59@Leo4:This my first college vine stream
78:01@Kaelyn:What are you most proud of?
78:04@ShravaniDhawane:Thank you so much for the session, Elias!
78:20@hayden:never been to a live stream before, against the advice of my psat over seer i put down my email and now i'm here
78:47@ashlemarbella:Is a 4.5 gpa good?
79:47@AngieXOXO: I am hungry
79:58@hayden:idk they where just like dont they spam you, i swear i'm the only one in my grade who did
80:05@cake:you are such AN INSPIRATION thanks for your tips it really did help me;)
80:11@ashlemarbella:unweighted s 3.7
80:24@Taneesha:Did you know any student from Harvard who got admitted there with poor GPAs but really great challenge overcoming essays?
80:53@Wes33:When should I start applying for schools?Junior year or Senior year
80:56@Leo4:I'm not even applying to Ivy but I'm still so nervous
81:00@Shriya:elias ur literally my role model bc im a vocal performer and i look up to your musical success
81:35@hayden:goodbye! get well soon!
81:41@AngieXOXO:Ur my mole rodel
81:48@ashlemarbella:take care and thank you
81:49@Shriya:BYE BESTIE
81:56@Mohamed.bou6:THANK YOU SO MUCCHHH


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