For many high school students currently in the throes of college applications, the stress about the extracurricular section of the Common App is growing. Perhaps one sport took up almost all your time, perhaps you liked to dedicate your free time to socializing, or maybe you were busy studying to get the grades that you wanted. Whatever reason there is, it can be stressful to see such a long column of blank spaces that you are supposedly intended to fill.
This is the part where I could advocate for branching out: try your hand at volunteer opportunities in local arenas, experiment with new sports, or try out for the school musical or play. These are all perfectly good ideas, and if you have the time and motivation, I still advocate for these options. However, I also understand the realistic side of high school time management. Sometimes, you are dedicating everything to one or two things, and this is perfectly acceptable. In fact, there’s more than one person that will tell you this kind of dedication is actually better.
But if you are one of those people with minimal extracurriculars, and without ridiculously envious amounts of dedication, there is a solution to all of your woes:
Get involved with online organizations
Unlike volunteering at a food shelter, playing tennis, or tutoring the youths of your town, you can do online work from home. From your own laptop. In your own time. Really, it’s perfect.
So to help you get started on a quest for the best online program for you, here’s a handy guide of interesting and rewarding sites to get involved with:
I have been an intern for TP for over a year now, and the growth in my writing and communication abilities have grown ten fold. Getting involved with TP allows you to not only learn from other strong writers and grow with them, but it also forces you to diversify your writing by demanding different types of articles and pieces.
I have also gotten the chance to get my hands dirty with the editing side of things at TP, and this has also helped me to mature and grow. Not only as a writer, though the process of aiding others always helps your own writing style, but also as a leader. I’ve learned how to interact with people that I need work from, and people that are editing my work.
Smart Girl’s Group
Unlike TP, this opportunity, another one I am personally heavily involved with, is only for, you guessed it, girls. Sorry boys, but you’ll have to skip this one. Smart Girl’s Group is both an organization and print/online magazine/blog, and their campus charter system is amazing. I first got involved with the virtual side of Smart Girl’s, I volunteered my time as a writer and editor for one of their blog “loops.” I loved the work, but after a period decided I wanted to be involved with the even more important women’s rights part.
So, I decided to start a Smart Girl’s campus charter at my school. Currently this consists of me and five to six other girls who get together about every two weeks at local coffee shops and discuss global issues. We also organize volunteer excursions around the area where I live, and try to attend lectures and plays with feminist focuses. It’s been a lot of fun and, with the help of the extremely supportive Smart Girl’s Group staff, very easy to organize and run. So if you’re interested at all, head over to their website and check it out!
I’m less familiar with Her Campus personally, but from what I’ve heard from people who have done intern programs on this site, it’s a great place to learn and mature. Beyond writing opportunities, Her Campus also has a strong charter system in place that many recommend, as well as a shop if you’re looking for that extra token of awesomeness in your virtual internship. It’s definitely worth checking out, and even if you decide an internship isn’t what you’re looking for right now, the content is cool and worth a read. You can check it out here.
These are only a few options for you to take your extracurriculars virtual, but these are some of the best. However, if you didn’t see anything that gripped you, a google search of virtual internships and a little digging can illuminate a whole side of web work that you may have never even knew existed. And if you’re on the prowl for that additional thing to add to the application or resume, and think working from home with flexible hours sounds like a good deal, then spending some time finding the perfect internship is well worth the time and energy. Good luck, and remember, find and do what you enjoy and love!