I am a 10th grader and I was wondering what may be some great science extracurriculars. If I were to do research where should I look for and if I were to cold email a professor how could I sound credible? What are other good extracurriculars other than research and what other than competitions?
Hi! First of all, it's amazing that you're already looking into some strong science EC's. In regards to your question, I believe I have some firsthand experience that I can share with you.
I didn't know that I wanted to pursue science until late Junior year (I'm a senior now), so my options were extremely limited due to COVID-19. I tried the email-professors-for-research-opportunities approach to no avail. First of all, don't stress too much about sounding "credible". You must realize that you are a high school sophomore and your achievements are going to be limited. However, some amazing videos on YouTube helped me write a cohesive letter.
Now, my main science EC's involved school clubs and volunteering. I helped found three STEM clubs at my school and have enjoyed the experience. Last summer, I was lucky enough to volunteer at a major hospital in my area, which helped open my eyes to hospital operations and personal connections in science. I'm not sure if you want to pursue medicine, but I'm sure that you can find volunteer opportunities at software firms, engineering companies, etc.
At the end of the day, do NOT do something because you think it will "look good" on your application. Colleges want to see genuine interest and dedication. If you want to conduct research and volunteer because you actually enjoy the idea of doing so, then go ahead! But don't feel pressured by people who have gotten into your dream school by conducting independent cancer research and winning every national competition that exists. Be your own person and explore all of your interests.
SUMMARY: Email professors with YouTube video help; volunteer; join clubs; be yourself :)
Best of luck!
There are also some amazing STEM programs (both enrichment and research as well as more traditional competitions) through a program called AEOP (www.usaeop.com) I am familiar with a lot of these programs, they are all nation-wide. Also in the same group of programs are some pretty amazing STEM scholarships (like SMART) that you can look at.
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