Hello! I'm a Brazilian student and I really wanted to go to Yale, Columbia (probably the dual BA with Sciences Po) or UChicago. In entered high school last year, and it's been more than a year since I'm in quarantine. Most of the activities I was about to join (such as research programs and summer work) were completely deactivated and most activies I already did (such as being the pianist in my school's orchestra and going to MUNs) were also interrupted. I really need some suggestions of how I could improve my ECs considering my quarantined context in order to get into the universities I want to.
Well, my main interest are politics, languages and art. So here's what I've been doing:
- I'm one of the lead members in a project called SiSA, which is a MUN. Due to the pandemic, we have developed a completely online and free version of the event that will gather more than 300 Brazilians. In this project we also organize a charity (for example this year we're helping Venezuelan refugees). I'm currently Secretary of Coms. and next year I'm gonna be its Secretary-General, which means I will be the lead organizer of the project.
- Although last year most MUNs didn't happen, now they're coming back online, and I'm participating in them. I believe I will have attended more than 25 MUNs (including one or two international ones such as Harvard MUN and YMUN) by the end of my high school, sometimes as delegate and sometimes as chair.
- I volunteer in a project where I teach french (which I learned completely by my own) to students with little financial opportunities. Those classes last two hours a week (and I spend one hour preparing them) and they happen everyweek. I give those classes always working with United Nations Sustainable Goals.
- I won a full scholarship to spend three weeks in Frankfurt studying German and I'm trying to get another one to spend two weeks in the University of Heidelberg.
- I'm a tutor inside my school. I give my classmates literature classes by my own iniciative, I help younger students with German and I have prepared junior delegates to attend Yale Model United Nations.
- I play music for fun. I play the piano, the guitar and I sing, and before the pandemic I use to play in my school's orchestra. This is an activity I would like to improve.
- I write for fun. I have a personal blog where I'm always posting texts (most of them are poetry) and I have written the preface of a book my father published. In order to improve this activity, I was thinking about participating in poetry contests and translating poems from French, English and German.
I believe that's pretty much it for now. I really need some help haha. I started this year participating in National Olympiads and I got I silver medal in the National Olympiad of Science, but I don't know how many more medals I can get by the end of my high school. I'm also seeking summer programs in the universities I would like to attend.
Well, I would be extremely grateful if you guys could help me improve my ECs considering my passions and the quarantine context, so I could get into my dream college. Thank you :)
Your extracurriculars sound solid as they stand right now -- the most important thing will be to continue those trajectories, and building out commitment and continuity to some of those activities that seem like they have a pretty hard cap in terms of awards / recognition that you can win. Remember, college admissions are holistic, and ECs are a college admissions officer's window into understanding who you are and what type of person you are, not just an avenue for them to think about what awards that you have won!
The last two "for fun" activities show potential, but again you will need to show significant dedication for them to really count for anything (translating three poems into different languages is a hobby, translating three every week is an extracurricular, and getting your translations published or doing research on the inherently untranslatable nature of certain concepts and words is impressive).
Do keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with "do for fun" activities staying in the "do for fun" realm. There are things you could probably do, for example, to try and boost your music extracurriculars (volunteer? tutor? organize events?), but if you want to "improve" the activity, you're going to have to choose piano, guitar, or singing to specialize in and bring it up to a certain skill level -- as any musician will tell you, that is much, much, easier said than done.
It really sounds that you are doing as well as you can at the moment, given your circumstances. Keep an eye out, always, for opportunities that come your way, but again know that your extracurricular profile is actually more than the some of its parts -- not every single component of it needs to be high octane, awards, prestige lined!
Wow you have enough Ec already! Maybe NAHS (art club) or maybe journalism but tbh you’re set already
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