No Extracurriculars? Try the Congressional Award or Learning Something New
If you’re starting your sophomore or junior year and don’t already have an extracurricular activity that you can see turning into a leadership position, or something that you can describe as central to your life, it’s probably time to hunt something out.
College admissions readers definitely want to see you being involved in some kind of activity outside of class.
The type of thing you’re involved in isn’t as important as what you do in it. You can be involved in activities at your school, or have a role as a community volunteer, or be actively working a job, or learning a skill outside of school. You could be acting, running, writing or care-giving. Whatever you’re attracted by, do it!
But, don’t worry, not every activity has to be one you lead. You can definitely take a member-only role sometimes. Your dedication to these activities, even when you’re not in the lead position, is also admirable. If you’re just joining a bunch of clubs haphazardly to up your “activity list” though, that’s not going to help you so much. There’s no way that one over-subscribed person could be fully engaged in all 20 clubs that they are claiming to be a member of.
If you’re still not sure what to do, however, or are frustrated by a lack of activities offered at your school, or may you’re homeschooling in a country with few activity options at the high school level, look for activities you can do online, or independently.
Take a MOOC in a subject you might pursue in college.
Do an Outschool (https://outschool.com/) class in cooking, acting or computers, or teach one for younger kids.
Learn to code an app with CodeAcademy (https://www.codecademy.com/).
Take martial arts, language, or something else taught to mixed ages and adults in your current city.
Consider earning the Congressional Award (http://congressionalaward.org/), a program that honors Americans who devote time to serve the community, build up their personal strengths, and explore the world around them. The commitment is high, as with the Girl Scout Gold Award or the Eagle Scout Award, but it doesn’t require a team or troop to earn. Each aspirant sets their own goals, tracks them, and certifies them with a mentor. This same goal setting and achievement could be done without pursuing the congressional award as well. If a college sees that you’re the one who planned and achieved that goal, it will be intriguing, regardless of whether it was done as part of a formal program or award.
Are there other opportunities that TCKs could pursue when they might not have access to the kind of cool extracurriculars that are available to domestic high school students?