Limited opportunities, how should I get involved in extracurricular activities?

By Maxine Seya

How should I get involved in extracurricular activities when my city has limited opportunities?

- student in the United Arab Emirates

“How should I get involved in extracurricular activities when my city has limited opportunities?” ad-free college admissions newsletter

Recently, a reader asked a similar question about how to get involved in Math or Science Olympiad their school doesn’t offer it. Here’s what I wrote. That reader, however, lived in New York, a city with an abundance of options. Your situation may be different.

If want to get involved in extracurricular activities, but don’t have many opportunities in your city, I suggest taking one of three approaches:

1. Pick your favorite activity from the limited opportunities available in your city. Urban dwellers sometimes have too much choice in what to do. This causes them to second guess their choice, jump from activity to activity based on what others are doing, or spend too long deciding on what to even commit to. If you believe you have only 3 opportunities available in your city, eliminate the analysis paralysis, choose one out of the three, try it out for a year, and see what you think. You may end up liking whatever you choose and getting involved much quicker because you weren’t paralyzed by the overwhelming number of available options. If you don’t like it, try it for another year or join another one of the three activities available in your city.

2. Start a new “activity” in your city. Let’s say you don’t like any of the available options in your city. The truth is that the number of opportunities in your city is unlimited if you are willing to create it. The good news is you still live in a city that has a population, not a small village of 3 people.

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Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.