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Extracurriculars

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Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 07:34
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My ECs in college were great, but since college they have been minimal at best. I'm going to be a reapplicant this year, which I unfortunately did not find out for sure until late March or early April. The last two months have flown by, and I realized it's the middle of June and I haven't improved upon them since my last applications.

My problem is that I'm a bit lost in terms of where to look or what to do. I live in NYC, which is great in that anything and everything you could want is right here, but at the same time there are also tons more people and most positions that would have any sort of leadership or real effort to them are filled by older people more senior to the community. I don't want to just go work at a soup kitchen - it doesn't interest me in the least (I don't mean this in a bad way, but it's not where my passion lies) and I don't think it will show anything other than that I'm trying to fill space on the EC section of the app.

I'm curious if anyone has any creative recommendations I'm not thinking of. I'm in finance now and looking to get into Banking. I also work pretty long hours (which is the primary reason my ECs lack), so I rarely get back to NYC before 8pm, and often times much later. This limits anything I can do to weekends, which is fine for a couple hours, but I obviously also need them just to accomplish everything I can't do during the week. I'm also not sure how much adding an EC or just leaving it as it would be, but even outside of bschool apps, I'd love to get more involved just to have something new to do and new people to meet.
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 08:35
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sdd996 wrote:
My college EC's were:
-Ran a dorm alumni program - basically planning events, speakers, financing, etc - 2MM budget
-Orientation leader, Tour Guide, some personal mentoring of younger students
-Things like intramural sports

I'd love to work in something either financial or educational. I used to tutor, and really enjoyed it, but I can't be home in time to make normal tutoring hours. A lot of what I do now professionally is in a strategic planning/budgeting sort of role, so something like that I'd be good in. Honestly, I'm not completely sure what's out there and I'm searching now, but that was part of what I was hoping for in terms of ideas.

No, my firm does not offer much of anything aside from more work :o


Ok, thank you for the info. Your issue is that right now you look like someone who's life consists of work and home. The reason schools like to see ECs is because it gives them an indication of how active you'll be on campus. You can't just say, "I'm gonna be involved in this club and that club," when you show no evidence of community involvement now. Schools are keenly aware of people trying to glom on to some EC a few months before apps are due to try to pad their profile.

In order to prevent this perception you should find activities that are in the same vein of what you did in college, that way it will look like a long term interest. There are many smaller organizations that can use your skillset. Just google mentoring/tutoring NYC and you should find a bunch of options. Call or write to them and say you'd love to help in any way possible. And don't focus so hard on finding a leadership position out the gate. Often you can be an informal leader in simply by implementing new ideas. Also, you can get involved at work. If there's nothing for employees right now (mentoring networks, sports leagues, etc.) try to create one. Some companies are best in class in this area. Try to pilfer some ideas from them and then implement on a small scale at your company. Also remember, your ECs don't have to be focused on saving the world. You can get involved in organized activities that are centered around things you're simply interested in.

Here's an example of how I went about making this aspect of my app as strong as possible. From October 2009-October 2011, I had lived in 3 different states. Because I moved around so much it was difficult to show a sustained effort with one particular organization. I moved to Philly in November 2010. Once I was settled I focused on getting involved in community activities that aligned with what I had done in the past. I had been a Big Sister for several years immediately after undergrad, so I signed up to be a Big once again. I had planned a 5K for my neighborhood when I lived in Michigan and another one sponsored by my company when I lived in Minnesota. When I got to Philly I found a youth mentoring organization that focused on distance running. I got involved in their fundraising activities. Although I joined up with both organizations (BBBS and the mentoring org) just a few months before R1, I still included them on my apps because 1) they were a continuation of work I'd done before and 2) I was able to show tangible results there. Neither activity required tons of time. I was able to hang out with my Little Sister on the weekend (twice a month) and handled much of the fundraising duties for the mentoring non-profit via phone and email during my free time.

It's definitely doable to get involved now and have something substantial enough to use in your applications. Hope this helps.
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 08:03
A few questions:
1) What types of ECs were you involved with in college?
2) What are your interests?
3) Does your employer offer opportunities to get involved outside of your job function?
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 08:12
My college EC's were:
-Ran a dorm alumni program - basically planning events, speakers, financing, etc - 2MM budget
-Orientation leader, Tour Guide, some personal mentoring of younger students
-Things like intramural sports

I'd love to work in something either financial or educational. I used to tutor, and really enjoyed it, but I can't be home in time to make normal tutoring hours. A lot of what I do now professionally is in a strategic planning/budgeting sort of role, so something like that I'd be good in. Honestly, I'm not completely sure what's out there and I'm searching now, but that was part of what I was hoping for in terms of ideas.

No, my firm does not offer much of anything aside from more work :o
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 08:46
Thanks for the great write up - again! I do like the idea of trying to carry through what I did from school through now. There's some small events that I helped with internally at work that may be able to fill that gap as well, assuming I can find something similar for the upcoming months.
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 09:57
Cheetarah's advice is great. She said exactly what I would have said, but much more eloquently! In general, start looking at the things you used to do and find extracurricular activities that are in the same vain. This will demonstrate that, not only is this a long-term interest and something you are clearly passionate about, but it is not something you picked up just to pad your resume/app.

Last edited by kingfalcon on 19 Jun 2012, 09:58, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 03:14
Ok, so in the midst of your questions and Cheets fantastic response (tip of the hat), did I miss the part where you said that you were dinged BECAUSE of your ECs and and that no other factor contributed to it?
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 05:26
scorpionz wrote:
Ok, so in the midst of your questions and Cheets fantastic response (tip of the hat), did I miss the part where you said that you were dinged BECAUSE of your ECs and and that no other factor contributed to it?

No I believe you misread. In fact, I said the complete opposite. I dont think my ECs were why I got dinged, but that I would like to improve upon them anyway
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 05:43
sdd996 wrote:
scorpionz wrote:
Ok, so in the midst of your questions and Cheets fantastic response (tip of the hat), did I miss the part where you said that you were dinged BECAUSE of your ECs and and that no other factor contributed to it?

No I believe you misread. In fact, I said the complete opposite. I dont think my ECs were why I got dinged, but that I would like to improve upon them anyway


Ok..so that didn't come out quite clearly from the original post..Nevertheless, as Cheets said, it more or less has to be linked to what you have done in the past. You can't really start something new and demonstrate a passion for it..not happening..

I was a reapplicant (working crazy hours as well) myself this year and hence I can definitely relate to your situation. Rather than focusing on my extracurriculars which were average at best, I chose to focus, change and highlight other aspects of my candidacy. In the reapplicant essays, I mentioned that I had continued with my extracurricular pursuits from last year, but the real highlights were not from that area..

So in sum, what I'm trying to say is that if you don't have the time for ECs, as you'd mentioned in your original post, then try to focus, sharpen and highlight other aspects of your candidacy. I know this is not the best response to a post seeking extracurricular suggestions, but in my opinion it is better to improve what you already have than start something new given such time constraints..

Good luck mate!
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Re: Extracurriculars [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2012, 12:38
Thanks! There are some great tips in here... esp 'cheetarah1980'
Re: Extracurriculars   [#permalink] 28 Jun 2012, 12:38
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