what extracurriculars should i do?
I'll be a freshman in the fall, and I'm considering a career in either computer science or in medicine. However, I know that both of those fields are extremely competitive, and the schools that I'm looking at have a low acceptance rate for both of those majors. I'm studying for my ACT and SAT, and I expect to do well on those, but what I'm really worried about is that I won't have enough extracurriculars and I won't get into my dream schools. For either of those careers, what do you think good extracurriculars that would set me apart are? This summer, I'm learning to write computer programs, and I'm tentatively thinking about designing an app. I and two other people are planning on making an organization in which we sew clothes for homeless women and other people who are unable to get clothing, and we hope to make it both a school club and a project that's bigger than just our school. I know that is not enough, so what are better extracurriculars I can do? Thank you!
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So ECs arent just about your major but more your passions if you have a comp sci passion great! but it is not necessary for admissions. I want to be a STEM major but my most impressive ECs is I competed nationally in debate for 3 years. A great essay would be how debate ties into stem. So in my and most cases, you want 3 things in a ECs in order
Leadership: Be a team officer, take the initiative and own a business or head a non profit, be a shift leader at taco bell, be elected to student board etc.
Commitment: don't join in a EC or start one midway through junior year stick with a EC as that shows you arent doing it to get an admissions boost.
Recognition & Awards: this is the most impressive one but also least needed. For example I am famous for a making an app and I got forbes tech crunch to feature my app I'm a youtube with over 100k subscribers that is recognition but that is not needed. Or it can be I was awarded best team player on a JV team.
Also this applies to less selective schools but I got honor roll I got pillar of community. Try thinking of an activity not needed to be school based such as HOSA a graphic design club volunteer in retirement home develop a app etc.
Everyone will tell you to stop worrying about college since you’re only what, 13 or 14? But honestly as long as you’re motivated and this isn’t just your parents pushing you too early I think it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about elitist colleges so early on. Even if you don’t really care yet about where you go to college when you’re older it will start to become more of a manageable and exciting goal.
You’re not doing much, sure, but don’t expect yourself to. Middle school has very few “good” EC opportunities or clubs so that’s a good start with what you’re doing already.your ECs need to be focused around what you want to go into. You don’t need to have 100% consistency in your ECs; it will be better to show a direction even if that direction changes. Heck, when I was in middle school I desperately wanted to be a biologist, then when I seriously started doing Mock Trial and Model UN when I was a freshman and I took upper level science classes I realized that I really didn’t like science that much and that I was much more into International Relations.
Here are some other tips cause I know this is overwhelming:
1) your ECs should be centered around what you want to do and show a trend towards a particular field... you can get mrs or stem internships, join science olympiad or science research, mathletes, etc
2) don’t job every honor society or club that you can get into just cause everyone else is doing it; honor societies are so common and take up so much of your time that it’s not worth being a member unless it is, for you, math science or national-hon society, the most prestigious
3) drop clubs that don’t give you any value and that you do nothing in
4) try to go for leadership positions/officer positions
5) win awards if you can, especially in competition groups
6) do only 1 club/activity that is solely for fun - it’s important to make sure that you’re not spending 100% of your time scheming your way into college with the right clubs and classes so you do need some fun relaxing time at school, but after like 1 sport or 1 club then it is a waste of your time cause it won’t count for much in terms of an admissions standpoint
7) don’t do sports unless you are REALLY GOOD at them and can get all-national level or all-state or if you are going to be a recruited athlete for it in college
8) I think you should minimize how much time you spend on the clothing project cause even though you might get community service or it is a nice thing to do, it has literally nothing to do with compsci or premed. Unless you do like premed and social service/activism in a combined way, and you could join your high school red cross club (star it if you don’t have one) it doesn’t make sense. To be quite honest Compsci and Med are very different so you would aim to figure out which one you like more by the end of your freshman year.
9) don’t do a club or activity solely to get awards or cause it sounds good (i.e. mun, mock trial or debate) cause if it doesn’t relate to your intended major it isn’t worth it. it doesn’t logically make sense and admissions officers will see right through it as a way to get recognition thru random clubs
OVERALL you want to create a “package” for yourself to kinda show to admissions officers who yuh really are. your activities should show awards/recognition, leadership, dedication and longevity (many years) and should be centered around what you wanna study in college to show that you have experience and that you’re committed to it
also- i think personally you are way too early to start studying for act/sat. i know certain parents are very adamant about starting in middle school for this stuff but you will NOT know nearly everything you need to know for the test until you at least finish sophomore year; i was in the same situation and my parents made me start studying the summer before my sophomore year. Realistically you are gonna take the test August or September before your junior year. taking it as a freshman/sophomore doesn’t make sense cause you won’t score well, or it will come at the cost of you developing the other parts of your personality, personal growth, profile, etc. this is just something to consider
Hi! Im an upcoming junior and part of class of 2022 and what I did these previous school years are for medicine taking Part of HOSA which allows you to learn alot about a specific medical department. And for computer science, you should be part of Hack Club where in my school we got to make apps and sites. Also don't be afraid to start your own clubs and search up teen internships. I looked up opps. in my area and now Im volunteering in my local hospital and starting a club in my next scholastic year besides being president of Model Un and being an officer of my local HOSA Club. Also don't rush it up in my freshman year, don't forget to also enjoy it while it lasts!