International Research Conferences as Extracurriculars in College Admissions?

Hi all,

I need some advice on a few research opportunities I have right now. As a high school senior who has done scientific research throughout my high school career (presented at Intel ISEF as well), I have been interested in presenting my research at more professional conferences – similar to how undergraduates and graduate students present their work at research conferences.

I have applied for a few high school level international science conferences, such as IYRC (oral presentation) and HSRC at Harvard (general conference), but my main question here would be mainly about the general international research conferences. I have submitted my work to a few international research conferences that are targeted more towards graduate and PhD students, and fortunately got invited to present oral/poster presentations at some of them.

I was wondering how much weight will presenting at these conferences hold? In the academic sense, I guess presenting at scientific conferences is a nice addition to the CV, but how much weight will that add to my research experience for college admissions? I would have to travel to different countries to attend some of these conferences, and they’re not necessarily the “big name” conferences like IEEE (I don’t think a high school student could possibly present there lol) or even as large as high school level Intel ISEF (which is the only really “major” experience I have). However, they are still considered international level and I did have to be selected to speak, and my abstract would appear in the conference proceedings, so what weight would this add to my application/resume/CV? I’d want to know this info so that I can decide whether it’s even worth presenting at these conferences.

BTW, just for reference, some of these conferences I’m talking about include ICVISP Vancouver August 26, ICAST Singapore October 4, and ICBEB Seoul October 22.

Thank you in advance for your help!


This will look great. There is no golden ticket, no guarantees, of course, but this is an excellent way to show you have challenged yourself and have taken your activity to a new level.

Consider videotaping the presentations and include a link in your applications. Good luck!

Totally awesome is what it is. This is the type of activity they will make you stand out if you have the grades and stats. But will always look great on an application plus good networking potential for internships in the future. Nice job BTW.

It won’t make up for any other balance that’s missing or coming off as too pointy. But here, you wrote this in such a nicely humble (and intelligent) way that you may want to note it in Activities, then describe this in Addl Info. Just a paragraph or so, not essay length. Your GC and/or an LoR writer who teaches you in hs, can also incorporate it.

For tippy tops, remember that holistic isn’t hierarchical. It’s not a matter of the heights you reached, more accomplishments or accolades than others. Certainly not being unilateral. So with this nice icing, do make sure you understand what the rest of the app/supp should show.

And in anothr thread, you said, “…ECs are not going to reveal much of my “humanity” and roundedness/motivations — my essays are the place for that.” I still feel this is a big misunderstanding. The activities you chose are either the right (holistic) evidence or not. The essay enhances, not replaces. The essay isn’t meant to be a Hail Mary Pass.

@Groundwork2022 @Knowsstuff @lookingforward Thank you for your feedback. I feel much more confident in actually going through with this plan.

In general, my one question would be regarding the IYRC high school research conference: it is fairly new (which is why it’s not very well known), but it is still quite competitive and an international conference. Would this still be a good conference to go to along with the other normal science conferences, or do you all think it would be a waste of time and wouldn’t do much for me? I would be published in their conference proceedings though, so I would still be recognized for my work… I know these things are not any golden ticket, but I am just not sure how this conference would compare with these others.

Here’s the link to their site:

^ anyone can feel free to give their perspective on this question. Thanks!

Anything that you enjoy and is positive is a good reason to do anything. This is impressive and basically the same question already answered. If my kid and wanted to present, I would say present at any conference. Anything like this looks good whether an international conference or at the local “Y” down the block. It’s all great experience.

@Knowsstuff Great, thanks so much!

Do you have a research mentor? Conferences are good, but a great letter from a research mentor will add a lot to your application, especially if their name carries some weight in the field.

Do the IYRC if you WANT to, not to impress AOs as you will already have similar experience under your belt. If there is something new or different to be learned from that experience go for it. At some point you have to make sure you’re not missing too many days, keeping up with your school work, and enjoying senior year.

I think that it is not cost-effective to travel to Japan for a 2-day IYRC conference (of unknown quality), with the hope of augmenting your college application. Our very own AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the world renown weekly journal “Science”) has a chapter AJAS (American Junior Academy of Science) for middle and high school students. See if it interests you.
Through my work, I receive many solicitations to attend conferences (mostly international), a few might be legitimate, but most are not. Be wary.