3 years ago
Admissions Advice

International Student Extracurriculars

Hi! So I'm a rising senior in high school applying to major in biology/ neuroscience/psychology and I have messy extracurriculars. I don't have many extracurricular activities since I did my first 3 years of high school in an international high school that didn't have many activities that students could participate in, so I'm worried that my lack of extracurricular participation will ruin my chances of getting into college because I'm doing my last year of high school in the US. Here is my list of extracurriculars:

1. Vocalist Chorus Member and Performer (I participated in plays at my local theater)-9th and 10th grade

2. Shadowed for a Physician at my local primary care center (volunteer service)-11th grade

3. Volunteer service at a Non-Profit Organization- 11th grade

4. Junior Varsity Swim Team- 9th and 10th grade

5. COVID-19 Research Paper (It was a school thing, but I got publishing recognition)-11th grade.

6. Speaking fluent Portuguese (I don't really know if this counts because I had to learn it since I went to school in Brazil for a while. My first language is Spanish)

Due to COVID, it was very difficult to join new extracurricular activities and most of what my school offered was canceled until further notice. Being that I'm going to start going to school in the US, I'm looking forward to joining new activities, but since it's last year, I don't know if it's too late or would look bad on my application. So, please if someone could give me some advice on how to stand out and what to join, it would be super helpful.

P.S: I'm mostly not applying to TOP colleges, but I do want to go to a good school with financial aid.

P.S.2: Sorry for the bad writing :/ I'm working on it.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

First off, I don't think your current list of ECs looks bad (though I'm not sure I'd count speaking fluent Portuguese as one). The only tip I could give you since it is last year is to do things on your own. This could be writing or starting a blog about one of the three subjects you have listed or taking some free Coursera/Udemy courses also related to one of your three subjects. Try getting an internship at a lab to show your dedication. I see you have volunteer work under/for a physician, but consider doing other volunteer work to show your support of the community. If your school offers it, join HOSA, which is a medical club that could definitely be a last-minute club. Basically, do activities or things that relate to your fields of passion, if possible.

3 years ago

Hi! I don’t think your extracurriculars are bad at all! You have a good variety with sports, music, and even career prep (shadowing). The fact that you went to school internationally absolutely stands out on its own. Colleges love unique people and you definitely sound like one. I truly believe you will have no problem getting accepted :) Enjoy your senior year and don’t worry about needing to do more.

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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