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Do participating and winning competitions help in college applications. What competitions can I participate in as a rising junior, I am interested in computer science and electrical engineering (EECS) and/or computer engineering. I already am in Model UN and Science Olympiad competitions. Thanks!

I've tried VEX in the past but I didn't like the experience, so I dropped it after my second season, not sure if I made the right decision.

competition
admissions
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2 answers

answered on
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Hey @sanrad!

Participating and winning competitions does help in college admissions, especially if they are related to the major you're hoping to study. Participating in the competitions shows colleges that you are really interested in that area/field, that you can work well in teams, and that you enjoy challenging yourself.

Given that you're interested in EECS and Computer Engineering, I thought it would be helpful to share these two links with some competition ideas to look at:

1. Engineering Competitions: https://blog.collegevine.com/8-engineering-academic-competitions-for-high-schoolers/

2. STEM Competitions: https://blog.collegevine.com/8-stem-competitions-for-high-schoolers/

My suggestion is to check these out, see what looks interesting to you, and then check to see how you can get involved. Definitely look to see if any of the competition logistics have changed due to COVID-19.

TSA (what @Mysterysquash talked about) is mentioned in the second article! Also, you noted that you dropped out of VEX. In my opinion, that is a fine decision. If you weren't enjoying the experience or growing from it, then it wasn't worth your time. It's great that you're looking for other experiences that might be a better fit for you.

Good luck!

answered on
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Yes, competitions absolutely help college applications. I'm actually interested in the exact same things as you are. I participate in TSA which stands for Technology Student Association and it has multiple computer science competitions and other non-computer science competitions. TSA also has a VEX competition and I wasn't really that into it but if you ever wanted to go back you could. I'm a 4-time state finalist and this year I qualified for nationals in Biotechnology (nationals got canceled tho). Next year, in addition to my other competitions, I'm competing in software development, webmaster, and possibly coding (depending on how many seniors want to do it). I highly recommend TSA, if your school doesn't have one it's very easy to start one just look up your state TSA or go to tsaweb.org and there should be information there. You could even combine the VEX program already at your school with TSA. Starting a club will look very good on college applications. If you don't want to do TSA you could enter some hack-a-thons or there is a computer science Olympiad. I don't know a lot about the CS Olympiad but it's worth checking out. You could also develop an app or a website that could be put on your application as a CS extracurricular if you can't get involved in any other way. I'm currently developing an app and it's a ton of fun and I'll probably use it for my software development competition for TSA. I hope this helped lmk if you need any more help or advice.