The advantages that come with involvement in extracurricular activities for middle school students are numerous. While one motivation for joining a club may be for high school applications, there are other reasons to consider joining one too. Academic clubs such as math teams, science teams, and Model UN can be a fun way to learn outside of the classroom and to learn important life skills.
The math team is a great option for all students, whether they want to feel more challenged in math or are looking for extra help. This team will strengthen your problem-solving abilities and most importantly, make math enjoyable. In math team, you can often expect to play games and engage in some friendly competition with your peers. This competition can drive you to stay motivated. Additionally, many math teams participate in annual math competitions where you compete with students your age from other schools. This provides you with an end goal that encourages you to challenge yourself in math. A sense of community is also felt as you and your teammates grow closer through working together. Two major competitions you can participate in are MATHCOUNTS and MoMathlon. Consider joining your school's math team!
Science clubs can give you access to more opportunities to perform experiments. In science class, time and resources can be limited but after school, you have the space to go above and beyond. Science fair is an optional competition that many schools offer that should be taken advantage of. In science fair projects, you have more freedom to work with topics that you are actually interested in. The science fair has many levels that also come with different rewards. For example, if you place in your school’s competition, you may earn a chance to present at the Natural History Museum! It is all the more fulfilling when you are talking about a subject that you have chosen and that you feel passionate about.
Model UN teams participate in debates where students simulate the United Nations and play the roles of delegates from the different countries. The topics discussed are real-world issues and the club exposes you to current events. At Model UN conferences, students are invited to debate with different schools and experience a little of what committees in actual debates between countries might be discussing and working through.
In whatever subject you are interested in, there is most likely a club that can help you expand your knowledge of it whether that be in math, science, history, or other topics. This leads you to become a better student and may aid you in finding things that you actually love to learn about. Tournaments, debates, and fairs may also help inspire you to do your best. The abilities gained from joining academic clubs and engaging in competitions prepare you for success in the future.
Oliwia Caes is a sophomore at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music, Art, and Performing Arts. She is a dance major, an editor of the school magazine, and spends her time reading mystery and science fiction.
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Volunteering and extracurriculars are activities that can benefit both the community and yourself. For middle school students, volunteering and doing extracurriculars provide opportunities to develop new skills and interests and demonstrate to high schools that you are well-rounded and hardworking. High Schools are always looking for capable students willing to do more than what is required. So if you’re not doing extracurriculars and/or volunteering, getting the headstart and being a part of a club or helping out your community is the best way to demonstrate to schools that you are a hardworking and all-around person.
Public high school admissions decisions came out on March 9th, and families have until April 5th to accept an offer. Many high schools are now offering information sessions, open houses, and virtual events for accepted students. These events are the perfect opportunity to ask students and teachers detailed questions about the schools, so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. If you have trouble getting started thinking of questions to ask, asking these sample questions (divided by topic) can help you to consider a broad range of factors to decide on a school to attend!
The highschool admission process is very stressful. With all of its different required parts, the essay section of the application can be really overlooked. The essays are a chance for the admission officer’s to get an insight into who the applicant really is. Numerous people can have very similar transcripts, but a creative and charismatic essay will make an application stand out.
Recommendation letters are a key aspect of high school applications and are a great way to demonstrate your character and abilities from another perspective. While not mandatory in some schools, it’s highly encouraged and should be seen as a requirement. But, who do you ask for a recommendation letter? Choosing who to ask is very important and should be someone that has seen your growth as a student. Most schools usually require at least one recommendation letter from a core teacher (Math, Science, Social Studies, etc) and one letter from either another teacher, mentor, coach, or counselor. So after making a list of potential candidates take some time to consider a very important question. “Who knows you the most?”. If you choose a candidate that barely knows you, their letter may sound disingenuous and phony. So when selecting a recommender, you should consider someone who has had a significant impact on your life and should be someone who knows you both academically and personally and can attest to your abilities, interests, achievements, and growth.
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