11 months ago
Admissions Advice

What can I do if I had zero extracurriculars the first half of high school?

Hello! So, my freshman year I did absolutely no school related extracurriculars. I’m talking no sports, no clubs, nothing. I dedicated my free time to reading, babysitting, painting, teaching myself French and homework (nothing impressive). The first half of my sophomore year looked pretty much the same. A few weeks ago one of my teachers let me know that colleges don’t exclusively look at grades and academic achievements (something I should’ve realized earlier). Academically speaking, I probably won’t be valedictorian, but my grades are still absolutely perfect and I was invited to apply for National Honors Society (something which I may not be accepted into due to my lack of school related extracurriculars). I understand that colleges look into a correlation between what you’re looking to study and overall interests, as well as achievements and an impact in your community. My interests are humanities (history, art, literature), cinematography, astronomy, building things, and math. So far, I see myself studying engineering, physics/astronomy, computer science or criminology. What extracurriculars would be impressive enough for colleges to look past my first year and 1/2 of high school? Thank you for reading my question!

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Accepted Answer
11 months ago

Hey! I was kind of at a similar position last year (I'm a junior right now) so I would love to answer this! Last year, I was on my schools vollyeball team freshmen year and was on the dance team (sophomore-senior year). But, I had no clubs and no other things going on in my life until my junior year started.

This year, I am doing National Honors Society, and I definetly think you should do it! Yes, it's very tedious and annoying, but it forced me to do extracurricular activities, and now I'm also looking into doing more activities! NHS rules are all different depending at your school, but at mine you needed to be in 3 school approved clubs/sports. That forced me to join clubs, so hopefully that could help too! I also needed volunteer hours to get in, so maybe you can volunteer by tutoring others French or any other school subject. There's tons of small organizations you can find that will help with that kind of stuff.

I also suggest you get a job! It will show that you make the commitment to it, along with show your maturity. If you're 15, it might be kind of difficult, but there's always something you can find (I found a job at 15). Also working a summer job that you spend a lot of time on can look good, but I recommend finding a job relating to something you want to do.

I also recommend joining clubs next year. Even though it will be your junior year, joining clubs can help you really understand what you want to do. I see you have a few interests, so joining clubs that correspond to those interests can really help you decide what you want to do in the future. If there isn't lets say an astronomy club, start it yourself! That is one of the strongest extracurriculars you can have!

Another idea is doing a summer program, whether it's at a local organization, university, or online. Summer programs allow you to learn new things, and depending on the program, can give you additional benefits such as college credits or certifications or more connections. Many of them you have to pay for, but with researach you'll easily be able to find free ones or programs with financial aid available. This is also a great way to show that you're still interested in different things and are willing to spend your summer learning even more.

My final suggestion is to make sure that the extracurriculars that you do choose to do are impactful. Starting a club, getting promoted in a job, being given a special award or achievement of some kind. Try not to do the bs, non-impressive activities like volunteering at your school play or babysitting your neighbors. Also, please take your interests and what you already do in your free time for your own benefit. Since you like reading and painting and learning French, apply that and use those skills to find more extracurriclars! Take your interests in science and humanities, and find ecs that not only interest you, but are good at! If you show that you are good at your ec, that can help you get a higher, more impressive role from that ec which will help you with college admissions.

Good luck!

11 months ago

Employment, hobbies, extracurricular outside of school and summer programs are great alternatives. You don't need to do extracurricular in school.

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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