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Which extracurriculars are better?

wisteria27wisteria27 4 replies2 threads New Member
Hi! I'm new to this forum. I'm currently a rising sophomore in high school, and right now I have a problem with my extracurriculars. Just for background information, I'm doing Pre-IB and will probably continue pursuing the full-IB diploma. I'm also hoping to go to the Ivy League schools or a Top Tier Public University and major in the medical field, such as biomedical engineering.

Anyway, here are the extracurricular activities I'm debating over:
Class Office - Sophomore Class President
HOSA - Sophomore Representative
Climate Change Youth Leadership Group - Member
DECA - Member
I am also looking to start a club that helps students create change in the world.

However, I'm worried that I'll be too busy next year to manage all of these leadership positions while maintaining my GPA. Assuming I'm equally passionate about all these activities, has anyone had experience with having so many positions all at once, and if so, would you recommend it? How much do each of these help college applications? If I needed to drop some of these, which one would you recommend dropping? Also, if I become Sophomore Class President, I might have to drop Pre-IB History 10 to take leadership class because it's required, so will this negatively impact my application? In addition to that, will not taking Pre-IB History 10 have a huge impact when I'm taking IB History HL? For people who have had experience with any of these clubs, what was your experience and what did you learn? Thank you for any help or advice!
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Replies to: Which extracurriculars are better?

  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 562 replies7 threads Member
    My recommendation is that you do not think about what university admissions will think of your ECs. Think about what you want to do. Think about what will actually help people. Think about what will make your high school a better school.

    Admittedly it was a very long time ago, but this approach got me into MIT for my undergraduate studies and Stanford for my masters. I never for one moment thought about what I should do to get admitted to these schools. I thought about what I wanted to do and what would actually be helpful.

    The best ECs are the ones that you are going to do well.

    https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/applying_sideways/

    THIS! Trying to check the boxes of what you think admissions folks want to see does not make you an interesting candidate. Do activities you enjoy - not only should you enjoy high school for what it is, and not just a stepping stone to college, but admissions people want to get a sense of who you are in your application and what interests you.
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  • wisteria27wisteria27 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you for your replies! However, for me, I've always wanted to do something impactful for the world, and ideally, I would want to do all of the extracurriculars I listed. I just don't know if I have time for all of them, and if I would be able to actually do a good job at any of them because I'm so busy. Although based off of your responses, I think my best choices would be HOSA and my club, although HOSA at my school isn't exactly the best or most organized club, so I was almost considering not joining for my second year. I joined as an officer because I wanted to reform the club, but I'm not sure how that'll work out. Does anyone have experience with this?
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  • wisteria27wisteria27 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Since I can't see where to edit my previous post, I'll just add it on here. For people who have been in DECA or Class President, what was your experience? Do you think it's worth it, and would you recommend it for others? Also, how much did you learn from either of these? Thanks!
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  • CCEdit_SurajCCEdit_Suraj 89 replies162 threads Editor
    @wisteria27 : College Confidential recently covered this topic in an article that may help answer your question. Read more here: https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/extracurriculars-that-help-you-stand-out
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  • Matty1600Matty1600 5 replies0 threads New Member
    @wisteria27 you mentioned that you want to "major in the medical field, such as biomedical engineering". IMO, colleges try to build a well-rounded class from individuals with "spikes", and college apps are kind of like applying for a job. Colleges want students with a proven track record that suggests they will become leaders in their chosen field of study.

    With that said, I would suggest focusing on the activities related to your major such as HOSA and leadership opportunities such as Class Office. Do these to the best of your ability and aim to place at states for HOSA and even attend/place at ILC; try to change something about your school with your position in class office and aim to continue to be Junior class president if you get selected as Sophomore class president this year. Also, don't start a club just for the sake of putting it on your resume. If you're busy and don't really care about the club/ startup, it won't have a tangible impact (e.g. feed and clothe 500 homeless around the city or raise $5000 for a cause and get featured in your local newspaper). WIthout impact you can speak to in your essays, your startup is a complete waste of your time.

    Also, if you have a deep interest in bio/ bioengineering, cold email around for an internship at your local university; internships are a great way to show colleges you're super into your major, but more importantly, they are quite fun and enlightening and help you develop as a person. As for your question about pre-IB history, I can only speak to my experience taking IB HL Econ and doing well without any previous business/econ classes or experience. These are just my 2 cents and I hope they help!
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  • wisteria27wisteria27 4 replies2 threads New Member
    edited June 2
    @Matty1600 : Thank you so much for your reply! Your post was very helpful for me. I will try to email around for an internship, although I don't really know what will happen because of COVID-19. This is kind of an unrelated question, but I've heard that most degrees in the science field usually require at least a Master's or PhD to go beyond an entry level position. If I do go to graduate school, how much will my college for my undergraduate degree matter for employers? A lot of universities are very expensive which I can't afford, so some people are suggesting that I go to a cheaper college for undergrad, and then a University for graduate school. What would be your suggestion? Thanks!
    edited June 2
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  • ms50263ms50263 17 replies0 threads Junior Member
    You can definitely handle all of those activities, but I'm not sure if you would be able to do a lot of the "world-changing" you want when you have so much going on. You can choose to do a lot with a few things or a little with a lot of things. That is up to you!

    And Re: the graduate school question, it's a little early for you! I would start asking those questions when you get all your undergraduate offers/financial aid back from colleges. Balance the pros and cons. Yes, usually if you are dead set on gradate school, you should be saving some money and maybe opting to go to a cheaper school. But oftentimes plans change. I would wait until you're there to start planning that ahead!
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  • wisteria27wisteria27 4 replies2 threads New Member
    edited June 10
    @ms50263 : Thank you! I would prefer to do a lot with a few things, but I guess I'll see how this plays out. At least I'll know what to do by junior and senior year...

    Also, regarding the financial aid, colleges consider properties right? I'm from an upper middle class family, and in terms of annual income, we qualify for financial aid. However, when I used the Harvard financial aid calculator, immediately after I put in the properties, it said we couldn't receive financial aid. Technically we could sell our house, but that's not really the ideal solution. Is there any other way to get financial aid from the school? It would just be nice to know, but there's a low chance of getting in anyway.
    edited June 10
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3449 replies78 threads Senior Member
    wisteria27 wrote: »
    Also, regarding the financial aid, colleges consider properties right? I'm from an upper middle class family, and in terms of annual income, we qualify for financial aid. However, when I used the Harvard financial aid calculator, immediately after I put in the properties, it said we couldn't receive financial aid. Technically we could sell our house, but that's not really the ideal solution. Is there any other way to get financial aid from the school? It would just be nice to know, but there's a low chance of getting in anyway.

    Harvard is need-based, although they are generous and even six-figure incomes can get some aid. However, if you ran the NPT (Net Price Calculator), it is probably accurate. Generally upper middle class students must rely on merit aid colleges. However, run the NPC for every college that interests you, as you will find yourself surprised by wildly different numbers. Also, yes, if you are planning to go to graduate school, you must consider keeping undergrad costs and debt as low as possible.
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