How was I supposed to know to do extracurriculars (is there still time / can I do them fast?)
I moved to the US in 9th grade. That was good for my schedule, because I started High School and was able to transfer most subjects I took and get into OK classes here. Now, I have 3 APs and plan to take 5 more next year 12th grade (Statistics because I already took Calculus, Physics, Economics, English, Latin) This is only to show I’m not trying to be lazy haha. But I recently talked to the counselor, and she said my extracurriculars are really poor, like I don't have any. Probably most people born here know to do extracurriculars, and focus on them but I feel like maybe I am late?
Now, I’ll probably have good grades and academic, but the really good schools also want the personal stuff. I thought volunteering and stuff was funny, like why do Americans do this so much. But now I see it’s also good for colleges and is maybe something I missed. Can I still fix this? I’m in 11th grade now.
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Extracurriculars are just activities that you do outside of your school/classroom. It can be things like volunteer work, jobs, clubs, sports teams, etc. I would say to find something your passionate about and then see if there are any clubs or summer programs for that said passion. If you are not really passionate about anything, you should try to find something that requires a lot of leadership because colleges really like that. Also, since you haven't done anything yet, you could most likely use it to your advantage. In college essay's they might ask you a question like "When was a time you were challenged but overcame it" or "What is your story". You could then explain the situation and how you were able to overcome it.
I know how you feel. Whenever I talk with my friends it seems like all of them have such amazing ECs and I'm here with a pretty basic profile. Try not to compare yourself to others too much. I started spending so much time on other sites comparing myself to all these other students that it was affecting my mental health and confidence. Once I cut back on that and actually sat down to think of what I can put for ECs it helped a lot.
Volunteering is probably one of the easier ones you can get involved in right away. Definitely join some clubs at your school if there are any which interest you. If none are interesting consider starting your own. That will show solid initiative and leadership. Taking care of family members can also count as an EC if that applies to you. I know it can be really hard but try not to stress too much. If you start now you'll have enough to put on your applications. Keep solid grades and spend a lot of time on your essays and everything will turn out fine!
It's definitely not too late! Try to find some clubs to join, or if you're athletic at all see if there are any teams that might be active in the spring or summer. You can also find some causes or organizations that you care about and offer to volunteer for them. Even getting some kind of job can go on college applications too.