Any suggestions on activities that may reinforce my chance of getting into a prestigious college?
I am a 7th grader and discovered this and want to get accepted into Duke, but I want more extracurricular activities. Any sugggestions?
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There are really three things colleges want to see in your ECs: leadership, interests, and dedication.
Participate in activities that you enjoy-- these will likely be most related to what you want to study in school, and will help show your interest in that field. Better yet, start your own club! Starting a group takes leadership, organization, and lots of time, and often stands out to colleges. You're much better off picking 1-3 activities you love and dedicating lots of time to them than joining 10 activities. Anything where you can demonstrate excellence (through awards, competitions, etc) is an added bonus, and you should work to maintain leadership positions in those groups by junior year.
Short answer: it's not WHAT you do but HOW you do it. You're young! Take this time to explore your interests. If you find a club in high school that lets you show off what you're interested in and talented at-- join! If not, creating it works just as well, if not better.
Hope that helped!
There are a few broad categories that your extracurriculars could fall into: volunteer work, job, honors society, competitive club, sports, internships/camps, and any projects you've worked on. That being said, I would recommend you try to pursue a variety of extracurriculars; colleges do like to see someone who has extracurriculars related to the field they want to pursue, but they also want to know about you and what other interests you have. I would say to try and have a mix of extracurriculars related to what you want to study and those related to your actual interests. Another thing to keep in mind is quality over quantity; you can list 15 different extracurriculars, but if you didn't really do anything new or exceptional in any of them and/or they're not unique in comparison to peers at your school, that's not really going to help you a ton. Pick a few things you are really interested in and would want to play a larger role in during high school (leadership positions, project manager, etc) and really make your mark on those. As for actual suggestions, honors societies such as the National Honor Society can show a commitment to service when coupled with volunteering outside of school. If you are learning a language you could always join the Spanish/French/Chinese National Honor Society if those are available at your school. Depending on your interests, some competitive clubs that you can really go far through are speech and debate, mock trial, DECA, FBLA, HOSA, science/math/academic olympiad, plus any local competitive clubs you may have. In high school, you may want to think about job or internship opportunities. Sports and music are also really good, especially if you've stuck with it for a long time. However, I want to reiterate that admissions officers aren't looking for the perfect person; find things you enjoy and could easily write/speak passionately about because that's what's most important. It can make a world of difference if you just have 3 or 4 really strong extracurriculars that you took on a leadership role in or demonstrated excellence in as opposed to 9 or 10 "surface level" clubs that you were in just for the sake of being in a club. Extracurriculars are not meant to be a chore, they should make your life interesting :) Hope that helped!
Both answers given were very accurate and helpful. I just want to express that colleges love to see you’re making a difference in your community, whether that be getting a job, community service, joining a sports team, and even starting a club your passionate about shows leadership and passion. That being said, colleges don’t like robots, only do things your passionate about and you enjoy, don’t do it for colleges to like because they can tell when your just doing it to get their attention.
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