As social-distancing measures continue, students have lost out on the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that are needed for college applications. With that in mind, La Puma has compiled a list of opportunities still available to students looking to build their resumes.
5. Online Competitions/Contests. There are a great way to both challenge yourself and a means for battling boredom during the shelter in place.
Why this would improve your college application: It is a powerful statement about your character that you chose to seek intellectual challenge while many of your peers took the free pass as a result of school closures. Also, some of these competitions use scholarships as their competitor prizes.
Here are several challenges for inspiration, but your own searches online would definitely benefit you in nurturing your passions:
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge (STEM): Partnered with Khan Academy, National Geographic, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, this annual global competition asks students ages 13-18 to create a video (3 minutes maximum) that explains a difficult life science, physics, or math concept. Because of the current circumstances, however, COVID-19 has also become a new, separate topic. Application submissions are due June 25. The winner earns $250,000 as a post-secondary scholarship, $50,000 for their teacher, and $100,000 for the Breakthrough Science Lab. Finalists will be featured on their website.
To learn more, visit: https://breakthroughjuniorchallenge.org/?utm_email_kaid=kaid_469607377141826799661403&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=041320%20breakthrough%20challenge%20students%20launch&utm_content=Final&utm_term=All%20Users
Toshiba Exploravision (STEM): According to their website, as a STEM competition, “it encourages students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions for the future. Teams of 2-4 students select a technology, research how it works, learn why it was invented, and then predict how that technology may change in the future.” All participants write a paper about the technology, and finalists make a website, video, and prototype of their “future vision.” Prizes are given to the students, their school, as well as coach/teacher – and all participants receive an entry gift as well as a certificate of participation.
To learn more, visit:
The guide: https://www.exploravision.org/sites/default/files/About%20Toshiba_NSTA%20ExploraVision%20–%20Program%20Guide_0_7.pdf
Science Without Borders Challenge (Art): This is an international art contest “created to get students and teachers interested in ocean conservation through various forms of art. This annual contest inspires students to be creative while learning about important ocean science and conservation issues,” according to their website. It allows students 11-19 years old, and winners are awarded scholarships of up to $500. This year’s theme is coral reefs, and people are asked to depict various means of preserving them.
To learn more, visit:
4. Explore your passions, or find new ones. Everyone is familiar with the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, and, astonishingly, many of these breakthroughs were made when he was self-isolating during the Great Plague – surely we are experiencing some parallels to history right now.
Why this would improve your college application: Hobbies are currently invaluable. With the free time that we have, especially as it seems much of the summer will be spent at home, now is the best time to truly analyze your interests and create, research, etc. At this time, colleges are likely going to be a bit more flexible, and impressed, with what you can accomplish during quarantine.
3. Campo Clubs. Showing both initiative and passion in continuing student organizations is a sign of an exceptional student. While most club activities have stopped during the shelter-in-place, continuing your own projects will make you stand out.
Why this would improve your college application: This effort to keep a club “alive” conveys that you are willing to overcome challenges in order to meet your goals.
2. Online Classes. Whether you are interested in getting ahead in classes for next year or want to explore other topics that interest you, online classes are a great way of demonstrating diligence.
Why this would improve your college application: Showing engagement in learning will prove to universities that you are a determined, hard working student despite stressful circumstances.
Helpful websites/places to start: Although some online classes provided by top universities can be expensive, many courses offered online are much cheaper — and even free!
Coursera. This online learning platform provides free online classes from top universities like Stanford and Yale. Not to mention, you can look up any type of course, and there is sure to be 1 you find yourself interested in – and certificates are provided for completion. Courses are customized to what you prefer, and take between 5-12 hours to complete (as suggested in the overview of each course).
Likewise, there are statistics provided for each course describing what percent of people “started a new career after taking these courses” or “got a tangible career benefit from this course.”
Alison. This platform provides a great range of courses – and courses are free! Upon completion, certificates and/or diplomas are provided\; certificate-providing courses are approximately 5-6 hours long versus the 10-12 hour-long diploma courses.
1. Volunteer From Home. Although many in-person internships and volunteer programs may have been canceled, organizations are aware that many still need help — and there are people that want to help! Consequently, there are various programs now where it is possible to virtually provide aid. A good web search may do you good, but some ideas to help you get started include The Red Cross, virtual tutoring, the Contra Costa Food Bank, and participating in the UN Online Volunteering Service.
Why this would improve your college application: Colleges will think highly of your selflessness giving time to other causes.