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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Think Outside the Box for Your Extracurriculars

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.


What’s Covered:



Choosing an Area to Volunteer in


Volunteering is a great activity for high school students because it allows them to be exposed to different people and things, as well as make a difference in their community. When you’re choosing an area to volunteer in, try pursuing extracurriculars that are related to your potential career interest. It doesn’t have to be in the exact area, but there should be a correlation to your intended major. This will show that you have been passionate about this topic for many years and will most likely have success in college. 


Another factor to consider is the qualities that you will develop from your volunteer experience. Learning specific skills from volunteering can then be applied to your future goals. Even if the area you volunteer in doesn’t end up being the area you make a career in, the skills will still apply. Whether it’s social skills, writing, or administrative tasks, you can develop many transferable skills when you volunteer. If you have a career path or major already in mind, but there aren’t any extracurriculars available in these areas, you can choose an extracurricular that uses the same skill sets.


Unique Ways to Combine Your Interests


When you have multiple interests, it is a good idea to find a way to combine them into one extracurricular or volunteer opportunity. Not only will you be participating in your passions, but this will also help you stand out from the rest of the pack when it comes to college applications. If your interests are very different from each other, you will have to brainstorm unique ways to combine them. 


One example of this is a student interested in social justice, computer science, and teaching. All of these areas are quite different from each other, but the student could teach computer science to young girls, for example. There aren’t many women in computer science, so tutoring elementary or middle-grade girls in this area would satisfy this student’s passion for social justice, computer science, and teaching. Computer science in particular, or any other kind of math-based subject, can be combined with many other passions.


Extracurriculars for Students Interested in Medical Fields


Being exposed to different individual activities and connecting with them is an especially good experience for high schoolers interested in medical fields. Working in medical fields will introduce you to all different kinds of individuals, so it’s helpful to start practicing these skills early. Volunteering also shows a commitment to your community, which is often a driving force for many medical field workers.


Research is also a great extracurricular option for high schoolers, though there is often a competition-based component if you enter local or state science fairs. Students also have the option to participate in research for fun because there is no requirement to enter any competitions. There will be a great deal of intense research done during undergraduate studies and medical school, so research in high school can be more focused on gaining experience. 


Volunteering Areas for Students Interested in Environmental Studies


Community service is an ideal way to show your interest in environmental studies. Volunteering at a national park, for example, is an excellent extracurricular activity for environmental studies majors. It aligns with these students’ passion and is easily accessible for high school students. If there is no established volunteering group for a park, you can show leadership by getting a group together. Social media is a great way to begin because there are many Facebook groups already dedicated to park cleanups, for example. 


Volunteering at a national park doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do cleanup trips, though. A student could perform their own research study by developing a hypothesis and using the park’s environment to try to answer that question. This could be anything from surveying trees to mapping topographical maps.