Activities to boost chances of acceptance

I recently attended a college fair. One of the admissions officers there, upon hearing my stats and extracurriculars, told me that while I am a good candidate, the fact that I am applying as an engineering major doesn’t reflect in my activities. Are there any activities that could help fill this gap? Thanks in advance!

There are quite a few options. The trouble is, you might not have access to them at your school or in your community. What’s germane also depends on the field of engineering that you are interested in.

Most schools have a math team. It’s the most important skill for engineering. FIRST Robotics is common. Many cities have hacker/maker spaces you could get involved with. You could shadow an engineer in the field that interests you.

The bottom line is that this will be important to a few schools, but many of them don’t care at all. They care about GPA, test scores and in particular your math and physics level and grades. They also know that not everyone has access to engineering ECs.

My son got into every school he applied to except Stanford and the only EC that was even close to engineering was math club. Had he had engineering ECs he still wouldn’t have gotten into Stanford. They’ve never taken a non-legacy from his HS.

Good luck.

Of course not, you’re still in high school. Did you know the average college student changes their major 3 times before deciding on what to study? It’s part of the maturation process. It’s kind of silly for a university to expect a high school student to have a list of ECs based on a future major. I would say, don’t stress over it. Keep doing what you’re doing and apply to a wide variety of reach, target, and safety schools.

Does your school have a science olympiad team? Robotics? Math bowl?

There are also wonderful summer programs for STEM students if your school doesn’t offer anything in house.

Do whatever ECs you enjoy-- it is more likely you will engage substantively, assume leadership. and stick with them if you actually enjoy them. If you have a STEM heavy academic load it is perfectly understandable that you want to do something different in your “free” time. My D21 is an IBD student and totally slammed with academics plus the other IBD stuff like essay and CAS requirements. She thought about MUN or debate b/c it matches with her interest in polysci but instead she has ended up in Art Club and Hip Hop Club and is really enjoying that they are a relief from her academic pursuits. Honestly I would say having non-STEM ECs would make you a more unique and interesting candidate. (But make sure you do well in rigorous STEM courses and that your standardized test scores reflect a strength in math/science.)

Oh, and make sure you are going Engineering for the right reasons (a love of Engineering.) So many kids are getting pushed into STEM that are not cut out for it. They may smart enough but if you don’t want to live and breathe Engineering you are going to HATE Engineering school.

I don’t think many kids love or breath much. Most college kids in engineering don’t know what engineering is (read reddit it’s funny).

Do things that interest you. Even being a science /math peer tutor is positive.

This is a great program about working with different types of engineering. It’s civil focused but my son loved this program because you learn what engineering is. Work side by side with engineering mentors. Work in teams and work with different types of engineering like in real life. Plus it’s a lot of fun.

I don’t see a need for STEM EC to boost admission chances. But… it could help validate your choice of major.