What is a way that I can receive awards from my school/stateAnswered
I'm a sophomore in a public high school, my school is pretty small since I live in a small community. I feel like there are many ways to contribute in my community but I'm a shy person and an introvert. However, I want to do many things and get into a really good school!!! Another thing that I see from Ivy League applicants is that they have many awards. What is a way that I can receive awards from my school/state??
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Some ways that I have earned awards are from athletics and competitions/clubs. One of the clubs I'm in is TSA (Technology Student Association). It is basically STEM based competitions that I've gone as far as Nationals before. I've earned multiple state level awards and it's really a great experience. Another competition/club in Envirothon. It's an ecology based competition that's a lot of fun. There's also the NASA WEAR challenge that I co-founded my school's team for which is a lot of fun. I also run cross country which has a lot of award opportunities. These types of competitions are not everyone's cup of tea but they are just a few examples of how I've earned awards. Find out if your school has any clubs like these that are suited to your interests. For example, HOSA is a club/competition similar to TSA but it medical-related. If you want to be a doctor, HOSA is perfect. Competitive schools also love it when students start an organization at their school. When I helped start NASA WEAR all we needed to do was find an advisor and get my principal's approval which my advisor helped me with. Then we registered the team through the NASA WEAR website. Since your school is small, it is the perfect opportunity to start a club. Do some research and find a club you are interested in that is not offered at your school. The clubs main website should have instructions on how to affiliate a new chapter. NASA WEAR required a school principal approval but some clubs don't specifically say which means it's likely up to your school how to handle it. Your guidance councilor should be able to help you from there if you're unsure because different schools have different procedures. If your starting a club it's also helpful if you get some friends involved or find people who would also be interested so you already know you'll have members. I am also introverted so I understand, I had some of my more extroverted friends help me with NASA WEAR so it was a little easier. I know it's hard to put yourself out there but it'll be worth it. If I knew what state you were in I could help you find clubs that are popular in your state for example, most states have TSA but I live in Florida which has the largest TSA in the country so certain states have more popular competitions than others. Let me know if there's anything more I can do to help.
List of possible clubs:
TSA (my personal favorite): https://njtsa.tcnj.edu/join-tsa/ -First I would reach out to the NJ contact provided about starting a chapter before joining the National TSA because she can probably help you with the process. At the bottom of the page it provides information about joining the National TSA or you can visit www.tsaweb.org. This competition is great because there is SO MUCH variety from coding to structural engineering to music production to debating tech. Not all events are team event either so you could earn a lot of individual recognition here.
NASA WEAR (another one of mine): https://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov/nasawear.cfm -This one is REALLY easy to start because it doesn't require you to jump through a lot of hoops. You design a space suit for NASA that would protect an astronaut from solar radiation and the top 5 teams get an all expenses paid trip to a NASA base. It's a lot of fun.
VEX Robotics: https://www.roboticseducation.org/new-to-robotics/ -VEX IQ (A form of VEX) is offered as a TSA competition but it is a lot larger on it's own. VEX is a robotics competition where they release a "challenge" and you build and code a robot to compete in the challenge. It's not as hard as it sounds I promise. They have the parts already on their website for sale so you're not building completely from scratch. As a club you should be able to get some school funding to help with the expenses.
FIRST Robotics: http://www.newjerseyftc.com/start-a-team.html -This is not a competition I'm super familiar with but it seems pretty similar to VEX but there is a large amount of prize money.
Science Olympiad: https://www.njscienceolympiad.org/ -I have a friend who did this before he moved to Florida and he really liked it. I apologize for how poorly designed the website is, I would reach out to the director (see "contact us") for information or check their Facebook page if you can't find something, I checked it and it seems pretty up-to-date. This competition covers various science topics like biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
NJ STEM League: https://www.njsba.org/news-publications/a-ideas-programs-and-practices/steam-education/nj-interscholastic-stem-league-waldwick-school-district-bergen-county-and-other-districts/ -This competition is unique to NJ and is offered in certain counties so I would email the director (contact at bottom of page) and look at the blog link at the bottom as well. It looks almost like the TSA event Problem Solving where they give you a challenge and you have to engineer a solution using the materials provided.
NJIT High School Programming Contest: https://gamedev.njit.edu/hspc -This seems similar to the TSA event coding except it's a team of 4. They give you 6 problems and you have to program the solutions to as many problems as you can as fast as you can. You mentioned you were into computer science so I thought I'd include this but it would require you to learn code if you don't already know it. I didn't see where they specified what languages are allowed but I didn't explore the site very much.
Let me know if you have any more questions or if you would like me to find some more. I cannot stress how amazing TSA is though and it has something for everyone so you should be able to find members. They also offer officer positions at the state and national level (sometimes district but only in large districts) and a lot of candidates who started their own chapter win those elections so that could be a great way to boost your resume but either way you'd still be an officer of your own chapter which is a leadership position you could use.
awards usually come from entering yourself into competitions or contests, which doesn't necessarily mean doing something that involves a load of other people. for instance, if you're interested in writing or journalism, there are plenty of writing contests you could compete in or student journalism awards your school could nominate you for.
as for contributing to your community—maybe try to start a donation drive, or organize some kind of initiative or program. those things don't require you to be around a lot of different people at once, even though sometimes it might be good to put yourself into situations you're not comfortable with. i'm pretty introverted too but when i was in high school (i'm in college now) i still managed to run a couple of clubs, get better at public speaking, and that kind of thing. some of that stuff is unavoidable in life, and it's good to try and get comfortable with it in a safe environment like most high school clubs will be.
I would start by asking your school counselor for opportunities like awards or scholarships, even volunteering at local animal shelters or the fire department can merit certain awards. If you are too shy to ask most offices have pamphlets or you can always research some ideas Best of luck to you!
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