Hello there! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this! Currently, I'm a high schooler getting ready to start my junior year. I’ve been researching a lot about colleges lately, and I’ve realized that my extracurriculars are a little all over the place for me to be (possibly) accepted into my dream schools (some of which include the University of Pennslyvania, Vanderbilt University, and Stanford). I'm writing to ask for any suggestions for how I could improve my extracurriculars to have a better chance of getting accepted. So here's some more information to get a better image of my general profile. I am ranked 7/403 at my high school. My unweighted GPA is a 3.974 and my weighted GPA is a 4.474. I received an 1150 (560M/590RW) on the psat I took in 10th grade (I didn't study bc I knew it would not count for the national scholarship competition, but I AM spending this summer to study and a get 1460+ on the psat and the sat when I retake/take them in my junior year because I haven’t taken the SAT or the ACT yet, but I will be during my junior and senior years). I've been taking the hardest classes available to me, and will complete around 10 honors classes and 7 AP classes before I graduate.
As for my current extracurriculars, let me provide a run-down if what I’ve done each year so far. Freshman year, I didn’t know which clubs would be the most beneficial, so I joined the ones I was interested in. Those clubs were: HOSA (future health professionals), Speech and Debate, and Black Student Union. Through HOSA, I completed around 60+ service hours while volunteering for various health related organizations (ie. St. Jude, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, etc.). I also was a part of a community emergency response team program where I became a trained and certified CERT member, which prepared me for emergency situations (along with being CPR/AED certified). Apart from the extracurriculars I did at school, I was also in a long-term mathematics program that required daily practice in order to progress through the levels of the program (this especially took a LOT of my time in high school due to the rigor and length of the program). And lastly, I also founded my own non-profit tutoring service for my fellow high school students. Even though I created a website, social media account, and GSuite, my tutoring program tended to thrive through word of mouth, and my online platforms were not too useful for my needs. During the summer after I finished my freshman year, I got hired for the same mathematics company that I was a student for, and balanced time working and continuing to progress through the mathematics program while being a paid employee at the same time (so an internship I guess..).
Now for sophomore year. I chose to focus more on my academics for my tenth grade year (as the curriculum was becoming more challenging), but I made sure to still join clubs and participate in organizations outside of the classroom. I stayed in HOSA, and continued to serve my community by volunteering for around 70 hours at health related organizations. From the summer before my sophomore year and throughout my 10th grade year, I also volunteered weekly at my local library, where I dedicated time cleaning the library, shelving books, reading to children, and assisting guests with their visit (my experience was unfortunately cut short due to coronavirus regulations, sadly). I also became an inducted member for the NHS (National Honor Society) chapter at my high school (my experience with this club was also cut short due to the novel coronavirus). Aside from school clubs, I continued to work on my tutoring service by expanding subject availability. As for the mathematics program I had been working so hard in, I finally completed the program and earned my mathematics diploma! However, I continued to keep the paid job I had been offered, even though I was no longer a student.
You might be wondering, why worry about extracurricular activities if you already have some? Here’s my dilemma. I plan to major in something health/bio-related in undergrad, then go to dental school after that. So, my main concern about my extracurriculars is having something dental or healthcare-related. Aside from my volunteering and involvement with general health-related activities, should I go more into depth regarding science and healthcare to show admissions officers what I’m really interested in? For example volunteering regularly at a hospital or dental clinic (once the COVID-19 situation settles down, of course), or participating in a science internship or a research project? However, another aspect to consider is whether or not I can find places to participate in (as my city doesn’t really tend to have a plethora of these types of activities). Please let me know what your opinion is. THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH for taking time out of your day to read and respond, I really appreciate it!! :)
Hey! So volunteering at a dentistry place or at a hospital (after covid) definitely helps, but if you are 100% on dental you should look for specific hands-on experience relating to dentistry ie. shadowing, dental internship etc. I think what you are doing at HOSA and tutoring is great, it's also health based. I would recommend joining science olympiad or some other sort of competition like that, and pre-professional health honor society. You could also start a medical based club, like a biomedical club or something that would teach people and fundraise money for organizations, really what you have is good, but aim to have leadership in these clubs. Hope this helps!
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