How to Combine Passions for Your Extracurricular Spike
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Shravya Kakulamarri in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
How to Create Opportunities
Many students believe that they need to join an established group activity, like a club or organization, for an extracurricular to carry weight on their application. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the area you want to volunteer in doesn’t have an established club or organization to be a part of. This is especially common at the high school level.
If you find yourself in this position, keep in mind that colleges value students who will take the initiative to create opportunities for themselves. If the path to your passion doesn’t exist, try developing a new path. This will show colleges your ability to lead and succeed in the face of adversity.
For students interested in areas such as public health, this can be especially difficult. There are often age restrictions for working in hospitals and clinics. It takes an extra level of creativity to find a way to involve yourself in these fields. One potential idea is to find an already established organization that isn’t in your city and begin developing a new chapter.
Why Colleges Prefer Self-Starters
When you are passionate about an area, you will find a way to make it accessible in your day-to-day life. You can then mold and create your own extracurriculars to revolve around your passion. Colleges love seeing students take the initiative to create a new club or organization because it shows that the student is genuinely passionate about that topic.
This type of action also indicates that the student will not need much guidance or structure to succeed. College is often when most students experience being on their own for the first time, so a student who is comfortable being self-sufficient is more likely to be successful.
Blending Two Interests
A great way for students to stand out is by tying together two interests. A common pitfall of college application spikes, a focus on a particular topic or field, is that they can make students look very generic. For example, if a student has a spike in writing, they will probably be involved in traditional activities, like the school newspaper or publishing short stories. These activities will be common among many aspiring writers. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but it doesn’t make a student stand out among the crowd.
How This Can Help You Stand Out
Students need to find a way to differentiate themselves from everyone else who loves that topic, and the best way to do this is by pursuing a contrast profile. This profile is a blend of two well-developed interests that helps the student come across as more complex and unique. Going back to the writing example, if the writer combined their passion for writing and their love for science, they could then market themselves as a scientific writer. This will make a student’s application more memorable to readers and more importantly, enable a student to pursue more than one interest.
This is another area where students can get creative and innovative. If you are unsure how to combine your two passions into one extracurricular, brainstorm unique avenues that you haven’t seen before. Even if the combination seems a little unconventional, this creativity is something that colleges love to see in applications because they know that the student will bring the same level of creativity to the classroom and their community.