2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Application 'Spike'

I remember reading once that your application should clearly show a 'spike'- i.e. something you were really good at or really focused on during high school, usually related to what you want to study in college.

My subjects are almost entirely STEM, but I only have 1 science-related extracurricular (International Junior Science Olympiad) and 1 coding-related one that wasn't too impressive so I may not even send it in (school Hackathon team + won 4th place at the equivalent of state-level). The rest is mostly stuff like debate, MUN, arts and music.

Do I need to try finding more STEM-aligned ECs or is that not something universities will necessarily look for?


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Having a spike is great, but it is simply not attainable for the vast majority of students. I would instead focus on creating a narrative with your profile. Tell a story with the extracurriculars you choose. They do not necessarily have to all be STEM. In fact, I don't think you can tell much of a story if all of your ecs center around one field. Instead, maintain your focus on STEM, but branch out to other interests, such as debate and the arts. This shows that you have more to offer than what you plan to major in. You are multi-faceted! The great thing about having a narrative is that you don't even need to have major accomplishments. Simply demonstrate that you have put a lot of effort in, and it's like the actual accolades aren't even missing. For now, keep proceeding as you are, but just keep in mind what you potentially want to do with your narrative. It took me a while to figure it out, but, trust me, it will come! Another great thing about having a narrative is that you can come up with new ec ideas from it. I did get this idea from a mentor from learners empowered (highly recommend if you can't afford expensive college counselors and stuff, let me know if you are interested!). For instance, if your narrative is that you try to understand humanity through film (someone who mixes psychology and film), then you could create your own short film that centers around psychology.

Best of luck!

2 years ago

Well that would depend on whether or not STEM is something you want to study in college, you never specified. If you definitely want to pursue a STEM related field in college, then I would highly recommend a shift in your ECs to focus more on it. Start projects, join clubs, anything you can. Although if you enjoy what you are currently doing, don't neglect your passions for what will look good on a college app, because they also like to see that you genuinely enjoy what you are doing. Hope this helped!!

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