Extracurriculars in a COVID-19 World

Most school extracurriculars — from sports to band to theater — were cancelled this spring and have yet to resume. Students not only miss out on activities they love, but are also wondering how to continue building up their college applications.

First, remember that these activities were cancelled for most students so while the extent may vary, everyone is impacted. Colleges get that things changed and you weren’t able to participate in the same way.

But that doesn’t mean you should be complacent and lump yourself in with everyone else. This is a great opportunity to be creative, expand your horizons, and make yourself stand out.

EXTRACURRICULAR IDEAS

For sports or other activities that are currently canceled, work on your fundamentals independently. For athletics, try yoga for stretching, running for endurance, and weights for strength. For drama, act out scenes via video with your friends, amuse your family with skits, or hang in front of your mirror making expressions for a while.

A lot of activities can continue with social distancing modifications. In debate club? Stage online debates. On the track team? Videotape individual races and make a split screen video. That might even lead to more video ideas and an online class or two in video editings. It’s a great time to expand your horizons and try new things.

Write a book, learn a new musical instrument, start an online club, design and code a new app, sew masks for those who need them. It’s also a great time to volunteer — check out these websites and filter for online opportunities:

Opportunities may be limited in some ways, but they’re limitless in others! Use your imagination and see where you end up. Creating something new to do with your time is a great way to demonstrate initiative and passion. You can also explore creative ways to document what you do:

  • Make a book reading challenge and cook a meal based on a theme from each
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel documenting your new initiative
  • Build home electronics projects with tools like a Raspberry Pi

Watch our recent webinars — How to Have a Productive Summer and How to Enjoy Learning and Living while Stuck at Home — for more ideas on great activities.

COLLEGE ROADMAP

FRESHMAN

  • You’ve got time before applications are due, but it’s time to think about what interests you have outside academics and pick some extracurriculars.
  • Try anything that sounds interesting. Don’t try to think about what “will look good” on an application or what you think colleges will be looking for. Be yourself and explore your passions.

SOPHOMORE

  • Continue trying new things and delving deeper into extracurriculars you started last year.
  • As you move through high school, try to take on larger roles within clubs or groups and demonstrated increased leadership and responsibility.

JUNIOR

  • It’s not too late to try something new, but also continue to expand responsibilities in activities you’re already participating in.
  • COVID-19 has thrown many activities into disarray, so you may have to be creative in figuring out ways to continue.
  • You can also use this time to explore new interests, start a new online or socially distanced club, or teach yourself something new. We’re limited in many ways by COVID-19, but there are lots of opportunities out there!

SENIOR

  • It’s not too late to try something new, but also continue to expand responsibilities in activities you’re already participating in.
  • COVID-19 has thrown many activities into disarray, so you may have to be creative in figuring out ways to continue.
  • You can also use this time to explore new interests, start a new online or socially distanced club, or teach yourself something new. We’re limited in many ways by COVID-19, but there are lots of opportunities out there!