COVID-19 has changed school and life for many individuals over the last year. Many high school students will be applying to colleges next fall and are concerned about maintaining their grades while still searching for new ways to continue their extracurricular activities during the pandemic. The first thing is to realize that your extracurricular activities may change the format. That’s okay. You just have to get a little creative.
You may think that volunteering from home is not going to work. How can you sit at home and volunteer? Well, one solution is a virtual service. Call a local elementary school and offer to tutor some of the children who are struggling. You might also volunteer to make phone calls for local charities to confirm or solicit donations. You can also set up a tutoring circle in your neighborhood. Create some flyers and post them around your neighborhood offering to tutor elementary school kids through Google Meets, Zoom, or WebEx for free. While you might get paid for tutoring, many families are struggling to find resources right now, and volunteerism will help you to connect with others who may need your help. Bonus tip: Your school may allow you to count these hours for community service requirements as well.
Coding classes, foreign language classes, and even crafting can be a great way to showcase your initiative during the pandemic. While you might already take a foreign language at school, becoming more proficient on your own time shows that you are interested in your future in both academics and career development.
Once you get good at something it means you now have the skills to teach and help others. Start a YouTube channel or even a TikTok that teaches people a new skill. This can be a cooking channel, crafting, or even fashion design. If you can tie your “teaching” into your desired career field, even better! Some recreation centers are offering virtual personal enrichment classes, offer your services to teach something new.
You could start a Study Buddy Club for those students who enjoy studying in a group.
Colleges want to know more about how you spend your time outside of school. Bonus points for those of you who are avid readers and enjoy learning just for the joy of it. Make sure to document your hours so that you can include this information in your college application. Reading novels is a great extracurricular and it also is a great way to connect with friends while having a meaningful discussion.
Most colleges and high schools have clubs. However, once remote learning began, many of these clubs stopped meeting. Rather than sitting around wishing for human interaction, start a virtual club at your high school or college. It may start small at first, but if you keep inviting people, it may become quite popular. Start a pop culture club by posting it on Facebook and you can start by creating music blogs and posting information about movies and music. Get your friends involved.
Now that many states are relaxing their stay-at-home orders and mandates, you might be able to begin an in-person club. Be sure that you follow all CDC recommendations for social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitation. Think about how you and your friends might perform a play in the park. Try to get help from teachers, parents, friends and mentors. Think about how much enjoyment this could bring to the local community.
Nothing stands out on college applications like entrepreneurship. Starting a business during the pandemic can be overwhelming but one way to start is think locally. Think about providing services for people who can no longer get out of their homes. Uber Eats, Door Dash, and Instacart offer many of these services already, but many seniors who live at home who are uncomfortable with these apps. Offer another option for these folks. Start a grocery delivery service in your area.
Some community colleges allow high school graduates to take summer classes and include them on the students transcripts. See if there are electives you might be able to take over the summer. If not, go to websites like Coursera, EdX, and Open Culture to find some MOOCs.
Open culture also has lectures, ebooks, and audiobooks available on many subjects.
Many students go to school near their neighborhoods. Round up your friends who are also looking for something to do. Create a volunteer network to help the people in your surrounding area who need help. If your neighborhood primarily needs lawn-care, shopping, and delivery services, consider volunteering to do these jobs for the residents having the most financial troubles. Locate some services that may also help and refer your new clients when you see fit.
If you are musically talented, consider starting a band and holding virtual concerts.
Additionally, “Radio plays” can be done through online platforms. You don’t even have to be in the same city. Each person can log in and perform their part from their homes. People are enjoying virtual events at home—make those work for you.
Colleges do understand that the pandemic has hit students hard. They know that typical programs have been halted in many areas. Do the best you can to participate and begin some of these programs and continue to look for new opportunities. Starting a club or activity may be easier than you think. Continue to engage in your favorite hobbies and activities while at home.
There are dozens of things you can do while you are remote learning and primarily remaining at home. You are doing a great job in considering how to continue to be active. This list is just a few of the activities you may choose. Be creative. Let these ideas be an inspiration for your own endeavors. Connect with others in your school and community and try to help those in need. This is always the best place to start.