Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Give me some examples of a spike

classifyed98classifyed98 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
The folks at the blog Prepscholar have a Harvard guide in which they say you have to develop a spike. What could be a spike in programming/technology?

Replies to: Give me some examples of a spike

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,623 Senior Member
    You don't have to develop a spike. Personally, I think that concept is nonsense. Sure, it's helpful to have related activities that show a connection and genuine interest. There is no secret trick to getting in to HYP and the like. You need the basics: rigor, high grades and testscores, great recs, great essays. Beyond that, it's up to the college.

    If you like programming and technology, do things that reflect your interest in programming and technology.
  • doorrealthedoorrealthe Registered User Posts: 500 Member
    Having a "spike" means that you devote some of your academic attention and most of your extracurricular attention to a specific field.

    This means that you would take the hardest classes available to you in programming and technology and, more importantly, you would immerse yourself in activities relating to programming and technology. You could start a programming club, or become the president of it if your school already has it. You could enter in high school programming events such as hackathons or whatever, develop an app and put in on the App store, start a non profit organization that teaches programming to disadvantaged students, create a YouTube channel about how to start coding, join the FIRST robotics competition, start a Robotics club in your school, etc. To have a great "spike," the key is to be passionate and highly skilled in one area. Getting 1000 downloads on an app you would make would be great, or winning the FIRST robotics competition. Those are the extracurriculars that contribute to a "spike."
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 17,077 Senior Member
    I have heard a number of admissions officers say that they look to create a well rounded class. This class will include some students who are well rounded and some students who have displayed talent/passion (what you refer to as a spike) in a specific area. You can get into top colleges either route. Do what interests you and what makes you happy.

    If you love programming/technology and want to develop a spike then find ways to develop your talent and utilize your skills in a way that interests and excites you. The answer won't come from a blog post.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 1,964 Senior Member
    My daughter's spike happened rather accidentally. She read a book and became obsessed with a topic, and she did all her subsequent science fair projects on through middle and high school. If you do the same thing every year for six years and try to move forward just a little from where you were the previous year, you can go pretty far.

    That being said, while "spikes" can be impressive, there is no One Sure Way to get into a selective college. I don't think kids should spend hours doing something they do not enjoy just to get into college. My kid has a couple reach schools on her list, but we definitely found schools at lower levels of selectivity where she could still do what she loves to do.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 5,778 Senior Member
    Give me some examples of a spike

    Google "Gronkowski spike" and look under images or videos.
  • kjake2000kjake2000 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
  • prof2dadprof2dad Registered User Posts: 673 Member
    We used to have a local high schooler who is very good at "visiting" any computer network globally. As a result, he was recruited by NSA and works part-time for NSA. We all call him the NSA kid. I bet college admission officers must use this label on his file as well because it is an obviously spike: long-term commitment with impacts. He is now in an elite pre-med program.
Sign In or Register to comment.