4 years ago
Admissions Advice

How can I find my spike as a frehsman and grow my existing passions to set myself apart?

I am currently a freshman in high school who is interested in making the most out of this time of self-isolation to plan out the rest of high school and research how college admissions will operate when my time comes to apply. In regards to extracurriculars I have partaken in, I am involved with debate, musical theatre, acting, and dance. Additionally, I am part of my school's literary arts magazine and hope to stay on the team to become Editor-In-Chief in my senior year. I enjoy volunteering and have participated in numerous projects this year. I helped my choir teacher for a program involving sixth-grade students, sewed face masks, and assisted with my school's Model UN conference to name a few. I also enjoy public policy and communication, especially regarding the climate crisis and other prevalent topics. I have so many diverse interests that I find it difficult to pinpoint my "spike," as many would phrase it. Speaking, writing, performing, and communicating are activities that keep me driven and motivated outside of school, but I'm having trouble finding activities that further demonstrate my passions in a way that will set me apart from the crowd. I don't want to go in too many directions, but I feel that sticking to one activity may shut me out from additional opportunities. How do I find a healthy balance?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago

I definitely relate to this a lot! I asked a question on this as well :) I have many interests and my extraurriculars don't necessarily correlate with one specific interest. You definitely have a lot of public speaking-related activities. Are you leaning towards the liberal arts as opposed to STEM? Even if you want to go into STEM, that's okay, too. As long as you can relate and apply the skills you learn in Model UN, theatre, and writing into your intended major, you will be fine! Quite a few applicants have very diverse interests but are able to transfer skills from one area of study to the next; the content isn't the most important part, it's the skills and lessons you learn from your activities. I think you should continue with what you're doing! To me, your activities are very cohesive and shows the admissions officers what your interests are. However, make sure that you have a good balance between school, extracurriculars, and make sure to leave time to take care of yourself. If you find yourself joining any of those activities because it "looks good" on your application, you might want to reconsider. Do what makes you fulfilled and what you find important.

That being said, here are some activities you can consider that align with your interests:

You can create a blog about your interests or advocate for issues you care about.

You could teach kids how to find their political voice by organizing an event.

Organize a campaign.

Work with a teacher to create lessons for kids.

Raise money for awareness.

Get published in a magazine or newspaper.

The examples might sound intimidating, but once you get the courage to talk to teachers, counselors, and anyone who can help find the right people to work with, you can really get your project started!

Best of luck!

4 years ago

I think it's important to just do your best at the things you love to do. It seems like you should focus most of your energy in what you may want your major to be in the future. For instance, if you want to be in journalism then focus a lot of energy on the magazine. If you want to be in politics then maybe spend less time on the magazine and more time in debate and Model UN. Just make sure that you're able to handle academics too. If you find yourself too stressed, you may want to drop an extracurricular or take on less volunteering projects. Community service is important, but being a leader in clubs and organizations that pertain to your interests is more important.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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