a month ago
Admissions Advice

What are some Extracurricular things i could do as a freshman to increase admission chances?

I'm a 9th grader and i only have 4 or so extracirruclar things on my resume yet they aren't good enough i cant play sports due to my rotator cuff

@sera..sharmaa month ago

My school requires me to do 200+ hours of community service to graduate, I highly recommend doing community service that both speaks to your character as well as helps tackle problems that are close to your heart and represent your values. I plan to travel to Africa to help children and hopefully volunteer with UNESCO, this portrays my strong leadership traits as well as the importance of this situation to me.

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
a month ago[edited]

My gut reaction is that you should do everything in your power to rehabilitate your rotator cuff. I messed mine up and still persisted. You just have to be diligent about actually going to physical therapy and doing things slowly. There are plenty of things you can do athletically without risking your rotator cuff. Running, biking, hiking, skiing, and even light swimming for physical therapy. You don't want to psych yourself out of doing sports for the rest of your life in 9th grade. You will regret it. For me, I couldn't lift my arm above 95 degrees but after 6 months I could get to about 170 degrees and started swimming, then playing water polo.

The most important thing about ECs is to pick some that you are truly passionate about for your spikey things. For your leadership ones, pick ECs where you can have a measurable impact on your community whether that is your High School, Town, City, State, or a Cause.

You don't have to be the Student Body President to have an impact because let's face it 99% of the time it's a popularity contest and the most gregarious, kiss ups who end up in that spot often waste the opportunity because once they are elected, they actually have no idea of how to lead, inspire and motivate others to fight on a team because, they only know how to self promote themselves. College admissions officers only value key positions if there is evidence of impacting the school positively. If they don't read glowing recommendations about how Kyle raised DEI issues at ABC HS as his priority as SB President, they will deep discount Kyles's leadership EC and ability.

Therefore you may have to look outside your school to your town or your city to find impactful ECs to pursue. They can be City Council Seats or Board Memberships or getting involved in something that has momentum and visibility. Don't load your plate with ECs for resume padding or building. AOs can see through this with laser focus and know whether an applicant will stick with his ECs or whether they were just a ruse to "check off a box". Don't be a "Box Checker". It's far better to be 100% genuine, be a risk-taker, use your voice, be a contrarian, be your own person.

Good luck.

25 days ago[edited]

My gut reaction to your question is "wow, they remind me of me when I was in 9th grade". I was super stressed about having all of the right, prestigious extracurriculars, trying to force myself into boxes just in order to put another thing on my application. While it definitely isn't a bad thing to think about college this early, or look for extracurriculars, it's a mistake to do things just for resume building. I made this mistake freshman/sophomore year. I get very anxious speaking in front of crows and I am not the most assertive person. Still, I decided to do Model UN because I heard it looked great to colleges, especially if you won awards. I regret it- spending many nights writing position papers, doing research, traveling to conferences just to have trouble making speeches and interacting with others at the conference. I spent many hours doing MUN and I ultimately decided to omit it from my resume.

My story isn't meant to scare you! It's just meant to give some perspective. Colleges can tell when you do things just to pad a resume. Spend time enjoying your freshman year and finding activities you truly love. Join clubs you think look interesting and explore activities that may sound niche but fun. Once you find 1-3 things you feel you could do throughout high school, college, and beyond, then think about finding an internship, community service opportunity, or job pertaining to this, or shadow an expert. Form a club at school in a year or two and share your passion with others. Make a social media, youtube, or discord account and share your interest (whether it be art, music, some form of sports, some academic subject, etc.) with others.

Some people call this having a "spike" on your resume - a place where you can show colleges that you excel/have a commitment to a specific extracurricular/passion. However, what it really should be for you is something you enjoy putting time into. Once you begin to think in terms of your own life instead of how admissions officers view it, you can really start to have fun in high school.

a month ago

Quality over quantity as always. I suggest looking into involvements that really represents your passions and values as a person. Stick to those involvements for all 4 years of high school if possible (since colleges love seeing commitment) and try to obtain leadership roles as well. It also helps by doing something pretty unique to you but overall valuable. I also suggest starting any passion projects that really shows your devotion to a certain field.


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