The move to social distance and work from home due the pandemic challenges students to re-think extracurricular activities. While the possibility of returning to in-person interaction seems more likely now, students should not wait for the transition to be complete and miss out on time to build their candidacy. Your extracurricular activities are crucial since, at competitive schools, nearly all applicants have stellar grades and scores. Your extracurricular achievement is part of the substance that will set you apart from other applicants. As you determine how to leave a digital leadership legacy, tap into the H&C approach which encourages focusing on projects at the intersection of talents and passions.
Let’s begin with some common activities that were already popular before the virtual shift or were a more immediate transition activity.
1. Post your club meetings online
Choose a platform that suits your club best. Be prepared to assign roles to moderators.
2. Create a website
Website building apps are user-friendly and if you want another kind of creative control, you can learn to code.
Blogs are an excellent way to show sustained interest and engagement in a specific area of knowledge.
4. Host a virtual conference around a series of topics
Create a call for papers around a specific topic. Decide whether the event will be regional, national, or international. Create a schedule with the links to each panel.
5. Virtual science fair
Participants will make at-home science projects and record it in some way. They will test hypotheses and form their conclusion after they have gone through the experiment. You can set up the breakout rooms in Zoom or any similar platform.
6. Host a virtual concert
Choose a submission app. Mix all the vocal parts and instrumental parts together. Include video from rehearsals if you want to include an element of how the final pieces were produced. Dance concerts are also a related possibility. Share the concert link with local groups, organizations, hospitals, etc.
7. Leadership webinars
Organize leadership webinars for younger students in middle school and freshman and sophomore year. Help them locate resources within their school that it will be helpful to them. Point them towards resources outside of the school.
8. Socially distanced outdoor challenges
Have people check into the challenge using an appropriate platform. Ensure that everyone is socially distancing and wearing masks in their individual submissions. They can hike a special trail and submit a video of the highlights. Building events that allow people to be productive away from the screen helps lower screen-time and allows people to break out of monotonous video calls.
9. Virtual field trips
Search for organizations that host online museum tours or other interactive experiences.
10. Open mic online
Reach out to potential performers and create a setlist. Arrange for soundcheck and rehearsals. Host a watch party.
11. Volunteer to research for a professor remotely
Reach out to professors for interviews, then accept the first offer for research.
12. Submit your research to be published
Search for publications that accept submissions from high school students. Read abstracts and articles from the publishing sites. Create a research project that reflects the values of the publisher.
Create a virtual reading group. Allow members to choose readings and formulate discussion questions for each meeting.
14. Graphic arts community mural
Collaborate with a team of artists to put together a community mural. Choose a common software for people to add their updates to the common mural file.?
15. Oral history project
Choose a topic and begin building your interviewee list. Craft questions that address each person’s individual experiences.
16. Start your own non-profit or for-profit organization
Starting a non-profit or for-profit organization that has a real impact in your community can be on the most motivating experiences a high school can have, and one of the best ways to stand out in the admissions process. If you need help, please take a look at our H&C Incubator program to see how we can help you start your own project.
17. Self-care group
Lead spa nights, guided meditations, or other self-care activities at a distance. You can collect dues to cover the costs of materials that are shipped to the participants. Connect with social workers and other professionals to lead group exercises online.
18. Affirmation group
Lead a group that encourages daily affirmations. Set up community goals and create a forum for encouragement and support.
19. Meal-hour group
Grab lunch, and report to your computer. Participate in ice-breakers and recreational therapy games. Inviting people to incorporate socializing back into their routine helps them feel more connected to a broader community.
20. Documentary watch-party
Select a documentary from a streaming site. Prepare an introduction to the topic of the documentary and discussion questions at intermission and the end of the watch party.
Think creatively about ways to reimagine events but leave space for recuperation. Trying to do everything virtually as close as possible to the in-person version can cause undue stress. Remember to consider that logistics and preparation can take longer in an online setting.
Create an idea bank with your co-leaders while considering these questions: How can you show care and impact through your online engagement? Am I giving myself enough time to rest while challenging myself? Being able to demonstrate stand-out leadership even during a pandemic will speak to your resilience and Innovation. Standardized test scores may be missing due to test cancellations so admissions officers will pay even more attention to your extracurricular activities.
Stay safe and stay engaged!