4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Is it worth joining Sci Olmpiad?

So as a junior interested in civil engineering with no STEM-related ECs is it worth joining the Sci-Oly club. I have really good other ECs so I'm a bit hesitant due to time commitment. Any advice is appreciated!

Also since Sci-Oly isn't really engineering-related just STEM is it worth the time commitment?


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Accepted Answer
4 years ago

One of the things we place at the center of our approach is authenticity -- and part of that is being able to back up your passions with demonstrated interest. In this case, it makes sense for a civil engineering applicant to have some extracurricular activities related to civil engineering. Extracurricular activities make up a significant portion of your time in high school and, consequently, of your application, so writing about wanting to pursue civil engineering as a study and a career will seem thin if none of your ECs back this up. In addition, many colleges ask you to write a separate essay about why you want to go into engineering based on your past experiences, so having more experiences will give you a deeper pool of anecdotes to draw from.

Of course, this is not an insurmountable barrier if you don't have STEM activities in your lineup -- you can make the connections from your other extracurriculars to civil engineering, depending on what they entail and how you've interacted with them. A stronger position to be in, however, is to have some STEM involvement, even if you start relatively late in your high school career. This way, you have the opportunity to write about how your other ECs inspired you to explore civil engineering, so you joined this new engineering-oriented EC and confirmed your love for the field.

With this in mind, Science Olympiad is a great way to get involved with STEM, but there are plenty of other avenues as well, and it's worthwhile to pursue one where you feel you'll be engaging with your interest in civil engineering. Do you have the opportunity to work on an independent project or join an engineering-focused club in your community? These might be more meaningful to you than the more general Olympiad framework, but if Science Olympiad is the best way for you to interact with civil engineering, it would be a helpful complement to the rest of your application.

Best of luck!

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SAT: 720 math
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