As COVID-19 has limited our ability to gather in all walks of daily life, it has also affected our participation in high school extracurricular activities. Still, these activities will be taken into consideration by college admissions committees when reviewing applications. No doubt, as part of the “new normal,” admissions committees will be looking for evidence of a student’s grit and creativity during these unprecedented times. How did you take a seeming “constraint” and view it as an opportunity to learn and grow?
Below are 6 ways that you can work on your extracurricular activities from home during the necessary social distancing of COVID-19, designed to help with displaying such grit and creativity to admission committees.
Take one or more online courses, such as those offered through edX and Coursera. Both of these online learning platforms offer a wide range of courses—often for free—from leading colleges and universities and companies, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, Google, and IBM.
Create a virtual extension of one of your existing extracurricular activities. If you’re already a member of your high school’s student government, drama club, or robotics league, for instance, seize the many opportunities available to you through virtual venues. Document your proposals for your school’s improvements, your newest play script, or your latest LEGO Bot build on a blog, YouTube channel, your Twitter, or Instagram—or on all of these platforms.
Start an entirely new online group or club. The possibilities here are endless, so think about what might best suit your needs or wishes. What about a weekly Zoom study or peer editing group for a particularly difficult class? A monthly book club or creative writing workshop? Or jam sessions with fellow student musicians? These meetings can be as formal or as informal as you’d like them to be, since they’re entirely your creation.
Learn a new talent or skill, such as graphic design, including how to fluently navigate a program such as Adobe InDesign or how to take great pictures and best utilize Photoshop with the service Phlearn. Again, the possibilities here are endless. But, if you’re interested in picking up a new instrument, you can connect with thousands of professional musicians to learn everything from bluegrass mandolin to DJ scratch at ArtistWorks.
And if learning a new language is more your speed, either connect with a native speaker for regular virtual chat sessions or study solo through a language-learning app such as the fun and addictive Duolingo. Alternatively, you could offer to be a discussion partner for an English language learner.
Don’t forget, too, that the new language you pick up could be a computer programming language. For online classes in coding, check out Codecademy.
Do volunteer work. There are currently many ways to remotely connect with charities, movements, and political campaigns of your choice and make an important impact. For instance, you can help provide virtual COVID-19-related assistance from behind your computer screen as a Digital Advocate for the Red Cross.
For resources on how to get involved in the 2020 election, visit Youth Service America for a list of volunteer suggestions, opportunities, and even awards.
If athletics are more your thing, organize group training sessions with your team, or gather a group of friends to commit to a workout regimen together for fun and accountability. If you prefer to work out solo, use one of the countless programs or apps available to train and track your progress, such as Blogilates, Springmoves, and Waterlogged. Some programs, such as NBA legend Kenny Smith’s Jet Academy, allow you to participate in virtual athletic camps, with the aid of professional players and trainers.
No matter what you choose to do, try not lose a sense of your goals during the coronavirus pandemic. Remember that colleges will be looking for evidence of your drive, grit, and creativity—even during these unprecedented times. Plus, keeping busy and still having fun— while retaining a connection with others—is simply important for your health and wellness.