With continuous rise in the technology industry and the rapid revolution of innovation, computer science skills such as programming and data analysis are the basic requirements of a lot of jobs. Social demand has also caused an increase in the number of computer science students on campus.
Are you also interested in computer science and would like to major in this field?
If you are committed to this goal, participating in extracurricular activities will be extremely helpful. As part of the practical activities, you will learn programming, data analysis, computer architecture and networks and other computer science skills that you need to excel in the work place.
There are a huge variety of such extracurriculars. Which one should you choose?
In your choice of extracurricular activities, you should first have a basic understanding of which activities can be placed higher in your college application and which will help you acquire more knowledge and skills.
Types of extracurricular activities to build your computer science skills
Extracurricular activities can be divided into four categories as below, each explaining how the admissions committee will look at your application through extracurricular activities.
This category belongs to the common extracurricular activities in the application, such as: robot team members, volunteers from an association, campus band members, etc. Being a member usually sends out the message that this could just be a hobby you do when you have some extra time. Hobbies cannot attract the attention of the admissions committee and are not enough to make you stand out among the many applicants.
This is slightly more specialized than the participation, which will reflect your special abilities in these activities, such as: being the director of a school club and getting excellent results in a certain activity. These achievements are more convincing in college admissions and they can reflect your own abilities.
This is where students really stand out. It reflects students’ abilities such as management, dedication, entrepreneurship and other impressive skills, which are necessary in future work and life. Which activities will showcase these abilities? For example: organizing or leading fundraising activities, forming a symphony orchestra, forming a club, organizing an event, etc.
Winning a competition is rare among university applicants. This includes claiming titles such as winner of the national simulation test competition or winner of the national competition. Among the many applications, students with such experience are not common. Once you have these awards, your application will stand out.
Engage in reading
Extracurricular reading is very important. Not only does it help keep your brain active, it can also help you better explore topics of interest, and even make you a better writer. Now is a good time to get some new books, magazines and other publications. Find resources related to your interests. For example, if you are really interested in international politics, read more on international news and spend some time watching videos of political debates. If you are keen on US politics, ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama can be a good choice.
Computer science extracurricular clubs to consider
Begin to explore different clubs and activities offered by your school. You can choose to join any activity that sparks your interest. The following clubs are some examples that will introduce popular Computer Science concepts and build your computer science skills, which are great for students who want to devote themselves to Computer Science majors:
- 3D Printing Technology Club
- Artificial Intelligence Club
- Computer Science Club
- Cyber Security Club
- Amateur Radio Club
- Information Technology Club
- Programming club
- Robotics Club
- Video Game Design Club
- Web Design Club
Join some competitions to build your computer science skills
If you would like to try something competitive, you may consider joining international competitions:
The American Computer Science League is an international organization that organizes elementary, middle and high school computer science competitions. Each competition consists of two parts: writing and programming, covering topics related to digital electronics, boolean algebra, computer numbering systems and graph theory.
“Cyberpatriot” (cyberpatriot) is a nationwide online education project aimed at guiding students to pursue a career in cyber security. Every year, they hold the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for high school and middle school students. The participating teams must find known cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the virtual images of the operating system.
First Robotics is an international robotics competition. Students need to make game robots that can perform a series of tasks, such as hitting a ball into a goal, maintaining balance on a balance beam, and hanging from a railing. Each team is composed of students, teachers, and instructors. Students first use materials provided by the organizer and later develop more advanced materials and components by themselves to build the robot.
Vex Robotics is known as the largest robot competition in the world. It is open to students of all ages and is divided into different competition levels according to age and grade. In this competition, students build their own robots according to the requirements of the competition.
Of course, your extracurricular activities should be based on your interests and enthusiasm. There are many other available clubs and competitions that may interest you more and this list barely scratched the surface. Your ultimate goal should be to improve your Computer Science skills through these extracurricular activities and to put them on your college application.
Next, you may be interested in a computer science mentorship program to build relevant skills for your college application.