Life has been transformed due to social distancing, and the high school experience is no exception. A lot of your events that would have attracted crowds and activities in areas like sports and volunteering have been canceled. The good news is that proactive students are responding by moving whatever activities they can online. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and you may be stressing out over what you can do to add to your profile nowadays. Here are 4 ideas to get you thinking.

1. Hold or participate in a hackathon

This is a great opportunity if you’re interested in solving problems and/or using your (or a friend’s) computer science skills. Hackathons can easily be hosted virtually. They also give students a chance to use their creativity and teamwork to think of solutions that could help people during the COVID-19 situation. This will show university admissions committees that you are engaged in the most pressing challenges facing society, and you are proactively working with others to create positive impact.

Some ongoing hackathons can be found at these links:

2. Use Zoom to hold a meeting with a student group in another country

Right now we’re unable to travel much, but you can still build your international outlook. A benefit of having activities move online is that students in other countries can more easily join in.

So, if you’re part of a Chemistry Club in your own school, move your activities online and partner up with Chemistry Clubs in other schools in diverse countries. This doesn’t have to be purely academic. Whether you’re in a club devoted to anime, Shakespeare, sci-fi, poetry, or medicine, reach out to similar organizations abroad. Cross-border collaborations will help you develop your global awareness, and improve your teamwork and communication skills.

3. Pursue online volunteering opportunities

Some students believe the only value in volunteering is interacting with the people you’re helping in person. While that is certainly an important component of volunteering generally, it’s not the only way to help others and show you care.

Many students enjoy teaching, and have taught peers or younger children before. You can also stretch yourself and try teaching adults – for example, teaching English to migrant workers online. (https://sites.google.com/view/madwish2020/home)

You can also call old folks homes to have phone conversations with the elderly. It’s not the same as an in-person interaction, but it can still make the day a little brighter for both of you.

Pursue a remote internship with an international NGO (e.g. the Climate Action Network International).

More generally, try reaching out to marginalized community groups within society and finding out what they might need at this time. All it takes to get started is a phone call or email.

4. Host an online discussion group with your CCA members

Whether you’re active in Model UN, your school volleyball team, Forensics Club, or windsurfing outside of school, try bringing like-minded peers together to discuss a book or piece of media that relates to your beloved activity. This could be a good chance to learn more about the history, general context, or recent trends of the activity, and could lead to ideas on how to improve in the activity or plan for future goals.

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