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• 2 months ago •
Admissions Advice

Are my extracurricular activities good enough?

Hi, I'm an 8th grader currently residing in Korea. I planned a few extracurricular activities to present to my dream univ. starting from 9th grade, and I'm pretty sure to carry on most of the activities I've done in 8th grade. So below are the extracurricular activities I've worked on this year. Please rate and criticize my activities, and if available, suggest some better extracurriculars for my profile!

1. Debate(of course, in English)

I got 3rd and 2nd place each semester in the national debate competition held by the national education university.

2. Taekwondo

Planning to get the fourth level of achievement(which is nationally approved, could work as merit in job applications), currently working on the second level. So if I don't fail higher tests, I will probably meet my expectations in 11th grade.

3. Art

Can't say I have the talent, but my art skills improved greatly over the years to my hardworking! Running a microblog in which I upload my works, getting a decent amount of interest from others. I have patrons supporting my artwork!

4. Journal

I am currently writing policy articles for the Ministry of Justice department, and this activity is also nationally approved + highly selective(45 ppl max., all age)& paid!

Received a national award in the name of the minister of justice for my exceptional works.

Used to write articles addressing the environmental issues for the Korean enterprise starting with S, which you'd probably know about. I got paid, was selected as the best writer too.

5. Club activities

President of the biology club. Conducted 2 experiments independently this year, experimented on them, and wrote essays analyzing the results. Also went birding and recorded 20 species of birds, examined a dead body of a bird I spotted there, wrote an essay analyzing the cause of death and the species of the bird. We hold an annual club fair where we present our academic achievements of the year, too.

I was in charge of a debate club as the president simultaneously. We debated on corporeal punishments and the death penalty in the AP format.

6. Currently learning to create AI models, will work on a major project utilizing the skill learned to present on my applications.

7. Music

I used to be VERY poorly skilled but through an immense amount of training, I think I could say that... I don't sound THAT abominable on my guitar. Played at the school music festival as a team.

8. Foreign Languages

My mother tongue is Korean, however, I am very fluent in English and since I lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a year my Spanish skill is neither fluent nor terrible. Just a happy medium here.

My worst-speaking foreign language is Greek. I sound like a Macaw parrot. Considering just dropping the whole thing in my first year at high school.

9. Volunteer work

Currently taking care of dogs in the animal shelter.

Have prior experience of collecting Chinese Cicadas(Invasive species), government-approved volunteer work.

Anything to improve/delete?

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6 answers

4
• 2 months ago

These are great extracurriculars! You have a lot of incredible achievements, particularly those in biology, journalism, and debate. I don't see the point of deleting any of these (there's no harm in leaving them). I can't find any major areas to improve on. Just keep doing what you're doing!

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1
• 2 months ago

As a person who used to attend international school in Korea, (I'm Korean too, BTW) your stats are excellent. You are only in 8th grade, and even though the things you are doing don't get listed in common app (common app only accepts activities from high school), try to keep up with the leaderships and the activities. Also, try to get involved in more contests. These will help a lot. FYI, there is a contest called human tech sponsored by Samsung and my friend actually won 4th place on it. Colleges know that contest is a very prestigious one so if you are finding yourself interested in any kind of STEM area, go for it. Also, try to focus on one to two specific area of activites, like biology and debate. I believe this is the best advice I can give you currently... I am a senior and you have much better stats that I do. You still have PLENTY of time! So don't feel rushed; you will do fine.

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1
• 2 months ago

Your ECs are quite impressive! You will be fine if you can manage them while getting high grades and nailing every other aspect of the applications. The only thing that you may want to consider is removing some of your less impressive or shaky activities, so if you aren’t a much talented musician, or your Greek is horrible, consider dropping them from your list to include on your application. You already have talent artistically if you have successfully shown off your works, and you already have enough language skills. Too many ECs can actually make the people who review your application bored, especially if you aren’t particularly talented but put too much emphasis on quantity. Stick to your most impressive achievements, and you’ll do fine!

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1
• 2 months ago[edited]

@Reindeer everything looks good for now.

Since you are a high-achieving person, my only advice to you is to remember to stay healthy and self-care. Leading a life like that can be high pressure and you need to find a release valve from time to time. Make sure you remember that the top colleges want fun, funny, interesting, engaging people, not just super hard-working, smart, competitive kids. Therefore, you always should find 15-30 minutes to yourself every day to do things that are not fast-track academic or ECs for colleges.

Good luck.

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0
• 2 months ago

As most kids would say, SHEEEEEESH. You will be fine as long as you maintain these leadership positions throughout high school.

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-1
• 2 months ago

Hi there @Reindeer,

Thanks for your question. You seem to have a lot of solid extracurriculars that you can really build up before applying to college.

The main thing to focus on here is not adding or deleting things, but more cultivating a narrative through your extracurriculars. First, you'll want to deepen your involvement in the areas you are most passionate about. You can keep a good mix of volunteer work and academically-inclined organizations, but as for your other extracurriculars, don't feel the need to commit to all of them just to get into college.

Instead, you'll have a much more attractive application if you cultivate a spike, or some sort of theme around your extracurriculars, rather than being a jack-of-all-trades. While you definitely don't have to delete something, you should really build up an expertise in 1-2 areas. Colleges would rather accept an expert debater or a coding whiz rather than a student who is just decent at both.

This is not to say that you don't have an excellent profile - it's just some food for thought as you continue building up your application in the coming time before applications.

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