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I am currently a sophomore and I’m very interested in Ivy Leagues. I’ve been doing SAT tutoring and have a pretty high GPA, I also currently am number one in my class (and I’m going to try to stay there). The main part of my application I am worried about is extracurriculars. I did 2 years of a varsity sport, I applied for NHS (🤞🏻), I’m in spirit club at my school, and I am a part of a political organization. I feel as though I could be doing more, especially considering I don’t have any leadership roles in these areas. Are there certain extracurriculars that really stand out on applications? I haven’t decided my major yet, but as of right now I am interested in medicine, psychology, and astronomy.


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Accepted answer

I think you're already on the grounds for a strong application! If you wanted to make your application stronger, I've seen that participating in competitions related to the majors you'd want to go could really help. I'm also interested medicine and actually posed a question about any competitions related to this field that are credible and rigorous. The main competitions I was steered towards were HOSA, National Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, and the USA Biolympiad. These are all science based competitions, with most of the focus being on medicine. I'm not really sure for psychology and astronomy, but if you go to the Center of Excellence in Education Website, there's a lot of prestigious competitions you can sign up for that cover many specific topics.That's the link: Of course, take any advice with a grain of salt, but I hope that was helpful. Good luck!

Thanks this helped a lot! I will look into all those things :)
answered on

If you're able to keep up your academics and score well on the SAT you should be in a good spot - at least to get your application looked at by admissions officers. Once you get to that point though your ECs become very important. Luckily you're still a sophomore and have plenty of time to add your accomplishments. @prstudies gave you a list of great science competitions that you should look into. I know you're considering a few different options for majors but for medicine or psych I think you should look into volunteering at local hospitals or psych wards or shadowing. Internships are also a great opportunity if you can find them.

Honestly, even if you don't know what major you want it will never look bad to have volunteering/internships/shadow opportunities on your application. They can also be great ways to get involved with fundraisers for causes you care about. Consider starting one for your local community! If you do decide to volunteer try to stay committed for as long as possible. Colleges like to see commitment and it's not super impressive for admissions officers to see someone with 100 volunteer hours. That's basically only 2 hours a week for a year - you're going to want to have a lot more hours, a leadership position in a service club, or start an initiative that raises a decent amount of money.

Thanks!! I’ll look into internships and more leadership/volunteering opportunities :)