In the spring of 2019, we took a moment to discuss on our blog how extracurriculars can have a positive impact on a student’s college application process. READ THAT ARTICLE HERE.
While many of the points addressed in this article, much still remain true, a significant change occurred throughout schools across the country due to the arrival of COVID-19. Not only has the pandemic forced many students to change how they approach schooling with the switch from in-person learning to online platforms, but it’s impacted how incoming college students can stand out on their college applications. The pandemic has implications that go far beyond the classroom. With restrictions on social gatherings, many schools are canceling their traditional extracurricular activities. These limitations have brought up many questions in regards to just how important extracurricular activities are and how they look in a COVID-19-era world.
We’ve previously discussed three ways in which you can determine if your extracurriculars help you stand out:
- It showcases you and your interests in a unique way
- It relates to your academic interests and future career path
- It displays your strengths as a leader
You may still be wondering how to go about choosing extracurriculars that will allow you to stand out while complying with COVID-19 regulations. Rest assured, we will be discussing how to overcome these obstacles as you apply to colleges.
Take Advantage of Virtual Platforms
With the major exception of athletics, many extracurriculars are still compatible with virtual formats. In some cases, your interests and activities can seamlessly translate into online formats without the need for any major changes. Are you interested in being a part of a poetry club? Make use of platforms such as Zoom or Google Meetings to host group readings, discuss your favorite poets, and receive critiques on your current works! By utilizing such platforms, students can avoid the need for physical meetings while still interacting with others. In other cases, you may have to display some creativity when translating your activities to online formats. However, that just leaves you with more opportunities to explore your innovative side! Furthermore, if you are currently a part of extracurriculars that haven’t yet moved online, why not take the initiative to make them virtual? By taking the time to move your extracurriculars online, you are showing application reviewers that you are creative and flexible.
Take the Time to Learn Something New
If you are a student who isn’t able to engage with your typical school-related activities, use your free time to discover more about your academic interests. If you aspire to engage with your community, search for virtual internships in the area such as those which promote education and awareness. Do you have a passion for the arts but aren’t sure on where to begin? Many colleges are extending their flexibility and offering free courses on graphic design, photography, and more. By making an effort to engage with your interests outside of school events, you are also selling yourself as an individual who is capable of overcoming obstacles while becoming more knowledgeable.
Create Something New
For those who are unable to find an extracurricular related to their interests, make use of the opportunity to start your own organization or activity! While colleges are more understanding of the constraints surrounding COVID-19, they will still be looking at how you take advantage of these changes. Are you interested in community activism? Try starting a small group with friends to raise donations for your local homeless shelters. By taking charge and creating a group of your own, you are highlighting not only your ingenuity but also your tendencies towards leadership.
“Most colleges want to see a positive impact in whatever co-curricular activity(s),” said Tim Parros. “This allows colleges to predict that you will contribute to the college campuses outside of academics.” At Parros College Planning, we are here to help guide you through these steps as you pursue your future college education. As a final reminder, remember that getting ready for college isn’t all work. Follow the advice we like to use here at Parros: Find something you really enjoy doing, then dive into it.
Written by: Nate Lasley