2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Academic Extracurricular Ideas


I'm currently a junior in high school. My top college picks are UC Davis, UCLA, and the University of Washington. However, all of these schools are very competitive and are looking for standout students. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make myself more competitive?

I especially need help with academic-based extracurriculars; all of my current extracurriculars are either sports or community service related.

For reference:


-My unweighted GPA is 4.0. Weighted, it is currently a 4.4 (not counting the 5 APs I am going to take next year!).

-By the end of my senior year, I will have taken 9 AP and 3 Honors courses.

-I am interested in biology, neuroscience, anthropology, & psychology, so I would appreciate suggestions in one of those subjects :D


-Karate Student Instructor: I learn and teach self-defense through Shorin-Ryu karate 2x a week; this involves leading sparring drills, katas, and various disciplinary exercises. I'm also currently a 2nd degree brown belt; however, the next belt level is a black belt!

-Cross Country (Varsity): I run 5,000m (3.1mi) races at the varsity level. I practice 3x a week, not counting weekends or summer practice.

-Track & Field (Varsity): I compete in the 800m and 1600m at local, county, and statewide races. I practice 3x a week, not counting weekends.

-CSF (California Scholarship Federation): I organize and participate in local community service opportunities such as donation drives and citywide clean-ups.

-LINK Crew: I mentor freshman throughout their first year of high school. This involves campus tours, welcoming sessions, grade check-ups, and tutoring.

-I also have several family-related obligations. This is regarded as an extracurricular on the Common App.

Thank you so much!!!!!

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5 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Try taking a biology or science course in your local community college or university

2 years ago

Hello! Here are some extracurriculars that I think could help :)

1. Start a psychology or mental health club in your school: this could be a club where you can give presentations on how the mind works and just allow people to talk about whatever is on their mind in a safe, accepting environment.

2. Research internship: send cold emails to research institutes or university professors in your area about a possible research collaboration in an area of your choice. Most of the time, you won't get a response - this is why you should send anywhere from 50-100 emails (I know this sounds like a lot, but it's worth a shot!)

3. Coding for Neuroscience: I'm not sure what aspect of neuroscience you are most interested in, but one of those aspects is computer science (neuroscience does involve coding quite frequently). For this you could... start a nonprofit (post coding lessons online for children in underprivileged areas), host a donation drive in your school for either used electronics or money to pay for computers for schools without proper funding, or join/start a coding club in your school.

4. If you want STEM activities for the subject all-around, here are specific organizations that you should check out:

- STEMatic Leaders: a youth-led nonprofit that aims to present more opportunities for students to engage in the world of STEM. They are also looking for leadership positions that you could apply for (Administrative director, director of marketing, co-director of IT, Newsletter writer).

- STEM ResearcHER: this is mainly for you to learn how to do scientific research (write a research article, get research opportunities, meet new people, etc.). They are hosting a webinar on MARCH 26th at 2PM PST

- Passion4Med: looking for leadership positions (research team, content team, podcast team, etc.)

I hope this helped! Let me know if I can answer anymore questions.

2 years ago

Some popular academic-focused extracurriculars are Speech and Debate and Math Team. Hope this helps!

2 years ago

i do not know if you need or have time to do anyting else. I think your resume is great.

2 years ago

I would suggest pursuing your passions during your high school years to show these very competitive colleges that are getting the same applications from people who are "well-rounded" students. from my research, a lot of UC schools are not only looking for good grades in a future student but a strong passion for what they're majoring in.

here's a youtube video that I found that is specific for UC schools and I have found it extremely helpful in college applications.


Good luck! i hope this helps!!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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