I need extracurricular advice, as a high-school freshmen! Answered
Hello, my name is Ali and I’m a 1st year high school student. (I.e. first year of A - levels)
My academics are great - for my IGCSE RESULT I have 4 A stars, and 6 As (a total of 10 subjects) and as for my A-Levels I have chosen Physics, Chemistry, Maths and CS - the most challenging courses my high school offers. I have yet to give the SAT, but am hopeful of a great score.
As for extracurriculars, I have done an internship at WWF Pakistan, and have started my own organisation to tackle some pressing issues facing our society. Apart from this I am a part of 3 societies at my school, MUN, Community Service and Media. I like learning new skills independently, such as videography, Python coding and graphic designing.
For my high school, I plan on pursuing basket ball as a sport, I’m good at it but just haven’t played since a long time. I also plan to start an Instagram account that has interactive posts on the happenings in science and technology. Apart from this I also want to write a short educational book on "The future of Air Travel", targeted at high school students like me who have a taste in aerospace engineering! These are amongst the many internships I plan to take, as well as work on my organisation.
The main question is, is this profile good enough for a competitive university (like say MIT) - I know my question sounds a little off, but I want to know wether my extracurriculars highlight a ‘spike’ and showcase me as a well rounded student, and wether there are things I should (or should not) pursue.
I’ve worked, and plan to work, really hard to get into MIT - I just want everything to be perfect.
Any response would be extremely appreciated! :)
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Hey Ali, you came to the right place! My name is Evan, and I'm a Sophomore in High school. Although I haven't applied to any Ivy Leagues or any colleges, I have networked, which is the best thing to do as a person like you.
Think of the college application process as like selling a house:
1) Academics are the foundation, without a good foundation will be unstable, and nobody wants to buy that.
2) Extracurriculars are the decor, nobody wants a bare house.
3) Finally, networking: how will one buy a house if nobody hears about it?
My point is, in my Freshman year, I joined clubs, but I also networked and made good Senior friends, in which they got into MIT, which they are attending Princeton.
Since your post is specifically tied to #2, here is my advice from the knowledge I have accumulated: Build a spike, but also show your personality.
For me, I have a huge spike in humanitarian work, in which I have done many things such as:
1) Feeding thousands of people in my home 3rd world country (Sri Lanka).
2) Building a curriculum to aid in the upcoming Sri Lankan youth mental health crisis.
3) Becoming a director at a nonprofit.
There is more, but you get the point.
Although I have a spike in my interest (Law/Politics) I also am passionate, hobby-wise, in Chess and Flute! This year alone, I got into one of Florida's largest counties' All-County Band, for example.
So to answer your question: " is this profile good enough for a competitive university?"
The only person who can answer that is you. Two questions to ask yourself:
1) Do you have a big spike in your #1 career passion per se (in this context, aerospace engineering)?
2) Do you know who you are, and will you convey that in a college application?
If yes on both those questions, you are well on your way!
(P.S. don't fluff up your application with "filler" clubs, colleges know fakes from a mile away!)
Hi there, Ali! I am also a freshman in high school currently, and I have to say, your extracurriculars sound very impressive so far! It sounds like your academics are strong (I don't know very much about the A-level system, I go to school in the US), so I would recommend focusing as much as you can on your activities.
You are part of many societies at your school, and it sounds like you've had some experience with community service and volunteering, which are all good. If you are more passionate about one of your activities, such as Python coding or aerospace engineering, it might be a good idea to put more time & effort into those, so schools can see your achievements in those fields!
As @Phycoticcc said, you should also try to show a "spike" in something, but try not to add too many "filler/fluff" activities. Show that you care about something, and use your years in high school to achieve impressive things in those fields!
Hope this helped, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey!
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Thanks for the insightful reply! I would work towards my ‘spike’ - hopefully country wide stem competitions, the insta account, the book, essays etc all can help generate one. Apart from that you’re quite right about the clubs, the MUN club at our school is basically dead all year round, same with community service - I still have more than a year to focus on building my profile, and this provides a great headstart