How to turn a hobby into an EC?
I am starting work on a podcast and want to try and turn it into a very nice ec to further strengthen my application. How can I turn the podcast into an eye catching ec that will turn admission officers' heads? Would turning it into an opportunity for fundraising/ community service for my community?
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For questions like this, I always try to reverse-engineer what worked for someone else.
The creator of "Populearn" turned parody music videos into a spike for Brandeis. She became an educational content creator, partnered with teachers across the country (Taiwan), spoke on the country’s national public radio, and received tens of thousands of views on her videos.
So, it looks like the videos became more than a hobby once the creator partnered with teachers across the country. This showed initiative and is what led to the attention the videos received.
Who do you think needs your podcasts? In the example, it was students. How can you reach the group that needs your podcasts? In the example, it was through the schools and teachers.
So just think along those lines and it should happen pretty naturally.
Hi! I'm gonna quote an answer from a few months ago posted by CollegeVineExpert @maplecreamcookies that I thought was very helpful:
"Starting a podcast is an awesome idea...for a self-driven extracurricular to be [a higher EC tier], you do need some sort of quantifiable results. That might mean producing a certain number of episodes (like 50+), getting a certain number of monthly streams (like 1000), or number of 5-star ratings. You'll likely want to learn marketing strategies to help get your podcast "out there," like SEO, networking, and social media. These are also great applicable skills that can give your self-driven extracurricular more weight. Just remember that while there is a strategy behind growing a podcast, be sure to enjoy what you're doing. Colleges can tell if you're doing things just to pad your resume, or if you genuinely like what you do. It can be easy to lose sight of the fun if you're always concerned with stats. Best of luck!"
Your podcast would probably go under "hobbies." While it might start out as a Tier F ("There's something tangible to prove my participation in this hobby…"), eventually you might be able to classify it as Tier C ("I took substantial initiative with this hobby and have some sort of tangible accomplishment/documentation for it”). Like @maplecreamcookies mentioned above, colleges can tell if you're really passionate about your hobby.
If you turned into a fundraising opportunity, it could be classified as community service as well. Tier J of community service involves "leading an initiative that raised more than $100" and Tier I involves "leading an initiative that raised $1k+ OR leading an initiative that attracted 10+ participants."
Hope this helps!
When colleges look at your ECs, they often look for common metrics that help them determine the "strength" of the EC. This includes many things like dollar amounts of money raised or the number of people you've worked with. One of the biggest metrics they look for is the reach you have achieved with your EC. Are you operating on a school level? Expanded throughout your county? Operating a state or nationally recognized program?
Having an EC with a nationwide reach is, in my opinion, the most effective way of making it stand out. When I hear that you're starting a podcast (which is super cool), I immediately think about how I could expand this to the national or state level. What I would do is try to interview the most influential people you can during your podcast. Start with a teacher, then ask if you can meet with the principal. After that, maybe a school board rep. Once you have built credibility through these interviews, you can go for local celebrities or state government and continue to work your way up.
As for your ideas about fundraising/community service, these are great as well but they can be very difficult and time-consuming to achieve impact with. Whereas, by reaching out to public figures, you need only write letters/emails/plan out other ways of contacting people. If you wanted a clever way of generating money to donate, you could have your interviewees donate a certain amount based on interview games you play. Maybe you could see if your senator knew all 27 amendments for example. If he/she doesn't, they have to give 50$ to a certain charity.
If you do something like this, PUT IT ON TIKTOK! Having clips like this would go absolutely viral.
I wish you the best in your admissions journey and look forward to seeing your podcast clips on the internet soon!
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