ECs Advice Needed

<p>I'm HS Sophomore. I want to attend Williams, Amherst, Stanford, Yale, etc I think you get the picture. Academically, I'm doing great. I'm taking the most challenging coureseload. I have a strong interset in politics, int'l rel., law. Do u guys know of summer programs or how i can find my hook so i can stand out from other applicants. Also, what kind of awards can I receive to standout in Academics.Finally, my ECs don't have any leadership roles what can I do to show dedication.</p>

<p>You can find your hook by taking your nose out of books and looking around you, and in you. You can show leadership by taking leadership. You can win awards because you deserve them. </p>

<p>It is good that you ask yourself these questions. </p>

<p>There is nothing going on at Williams, Amherst, Stanford, or Yale for you today that is more important than what is going in your backyard.</p>

<p>GREAT reply.</p>

<p>I think you should skip special summer programs unless you are REALLY interested in the specific field of study. Any kid whose parents can afford the tuition to the summer program can go. They won't make you stand out. </p>

<p>During the summer, figure out what you really love and get a job doing it, even if you volunteer (intern). In addition, use that same talent and love of something to share your enthusiam with others in your community or another community where there is a need. </p>

<p>The topic of awards is interesting. I don't think the answer is as simple as saying that you win awards becasue you deserve them. Many deserving kids don't win awards because they don't know when, where or how to compete. Many kids have never heard of the local, regional and national competitions in which many other kids are winning. Many schools don't have a culture of sending kids to competitions or holding competitions of their own. Thus, you can be the smartest kids in the country.....and not win a single award because you had no idea they were even up for grabs.</p>

<p>What are your interests.....math, science, writing, history, art.....? Once you can pinpoint one or two main interests, you can ask your GC at school about competitions for awards.....or ask some of the CC kids or parents about competitions for those areas of interests. I've heard of some of them but my son never won any because his school has a written policy against awards and competitions. If you read the stats on the "chances" thread, you'll find more than enough awards. Unfortunately, most of the kids seem to be winning the same awards.....which probably hurts more than it helps. </p>

<p>Another way to differentiate YOUR involvement with a certain academic interest is to join whatever national organizations are available.....for instance, my son is a History buff. He's a member of "The National Historical Society" (or something like that, I forget the exact name)......I think he spent about $50 on his membership but he receives TONS of books, magazines, monthly and annual reports, etc.....these resources are VERY useful because he can read about events taking place all over the country. He knows which colleges are looking for History professors and what each college is trying to achieve with their History department (job ads come once a month). He knows what the latest buzz is in the field.....and when/where he can web chat or meet with others about it. But, if he wasn't really interested in History he wouldn't have joined this organzation and been privy to such information. </p>

<p>What interests you?</p>

<p>If you find a passion start a club around it and get others involved. It is a great way to have fun share your passion with others and learn valuable lessons around leadership. My D started this last year and it has been an amazing learning and growing experience for her in so many avenues. Brainstorm ideas</p>

<p>If nothing in high school appeals to you, check out community organizations. Do you love to read? The local public library probably has many opportunities to be involved. Does your town have a summer/afterschool recreation program? YMCAs & YWCAs also need volunteers. Whatever it is, make sure you're doing it because you <em>love</em> it, not because you think it looks good to colleges. Believe me, colleges can spot superficial ECs right away.</p>

<p>My daughter became involved in our local 24-hour helpline (they were starting a TeenLine; she went through their lengthy training program and volunteered one shift a week). She loved it so much, she approached them about doing a summer internship. She've very interested in sociology/psychology, so this was a heartfelt commitment for her. She's now training to be a Big Sister in her college community.</p>