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Extracurricular activities in foreign countries

BigTicketBigTicket Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
edited June 2010 in International Students
Hi. Are the top colleges aware of that the EC climate and culture might vary from the US one?
I see some kids with 500 hours of community service, dozens of awards and Founder of a doze clubs based on ethnicity or whatever.

I am from Denmark. Over here all of those things are completely absurd. Awards even barely exist, doing community service is for prison inmates and we don't really have clubs either. We do have different ethnic groups, but creating a club for one would cause racial separation on the school and a lesser of feeling of togetherness across the various races.

Sports are also outside of school and an entirely private thing, it's like playing video games, it has no relation to school whatsoever. A hobby.
The admission process is also different, it's similar to the one in UK.
Students get admitted to the degree purely based on GPA. The ones who have the highest GPA gain entrance first, then the second highest and etc. until all the spots are full. Naturally the high school system is shaped by this.

We do have some National Math and Science teams, they practice a couple of hours per week in their mom's basement with no tutoring or hardcore training.


Do the top colleges consider this?

I have become President of some prestigious national associations, done some high profile internships and summer programs though, to keep up with the US kids, but I'm just wondering if colleges expect the same style of EC activities.
Post edited by BigTicket on

Replies to: Extracurricular activities in foreign countries

  • tobiz.inttobiz.int Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    Well first of all yes colleges are aware of different situations in different countries.

    Second: I am from a country with a very very similar school system (Germany) and while ECs are not directly related to schools, they absolutely do exist in the same way. Remember that competition among internationals is more fierce and almost all of them will have a record of ECs equally good or even stronger than that of US applicants.
    The big difference is that those are not necessarily pushed upon you by your school system. But for admission to top colleges (where adcoms expect you to be involved because you WANT to be) this makes little to no difference. Community service is maybe not a part of the curriculum, but you can still work in a soupkitchen. A whole big lot of competitions, MUNs and activism groups do exist, you just have to search for them. There are just as many sports-teams and you can still be an officer in any kind of group.

    Yes your ECs will look slightly different but they are still expected and a lack in your resume can't be blamed on your residence (unless you really live in a rural developing country)
  • BigTicketBigTicket Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Haha, not true! Germany and Denmark are very very different. In Germany smart and stupid are separated from age 11. That's seen upon as pretty crazy and cold over here.
    We don't even get graded until age 14-15.

    Yeah, I see what you mean. Actually getting good spots on EC's is easier here, because there is no competition and I can just swoop, colleges don't know that though.
  • equillibriumequillibrium Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    Colleges are probably aware of different school systems having different emphases on ECs. You will probably be fine as long as you keep in mind that anything you do outside of school counts as EC (e. g. private sports), and can be included as a part of your application.
  • peachasopeachaso Registered User Posts: 335 Member
    I think if you really wanted, you could probably do community service (just find a non-profit organization that you are interested in) or start a club (not ethnic based)? On the one hand, you might change the entire climate of your community, but on the other hand your friends might think you weird.

    Anyway, I think there are still opportunities to get ECs, but if you don't want to, like what equillibrium said, non-school related activities count too!
This discussion has been closed.