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What're the most attractive extracurriculars for applying to a ME Grad school?

  1. Apr 18, 2010 #1
    I want to make the best use of my time in undergrad, so I can't just sign up for everything. I want to apply to the top grad schools like Stanford's and MIT's.

    So, can someone help me out? What're the best ones that'll make my application look better?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2010 #2
    The robotics team is always fun.
  4. Apr 18, 2010 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Grad school admissions are not undergrad admissions. They don't care if you can sing, or act, or twirl a baton. "Extracurriculars" are just not a concept.
  5. Apr 19, 2010 #4
    If you consider research part of the curriculum, Vanadium 50 is correct. However, if you aren't getting credit for it, it's an extracurricular activity, and it's very important for grad school admissions.
  6. Apr 19, 2010 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Actually, I think most of the people here overweight research by a huge amount.

    What matters is letters of recommendation. Research helps you get good ones, but a lackluster performance in a research environment is a net negative. As is having the opportunity to participate in research and not to take advantage of it.

    But baton twirling is not important.
  7. Apr 19, 2010 #6
    Which you can also get from extracurriculars (like the robotics team or the ACM programming contest) if the advisor is very involved or recruits for his lab from participants.

    Aside from that, there's also doing extra-curriculars for yourself as a breather from all the school stuff or to reinforce your skills/learn more-the latter involves joining academic clubs that do competitions like ASME (American Society of Mechanical engineers) or SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers.)
  8. Apr 19, 2010 #7
    I absolutely agree, for grad school. I'll just add that, depending on the job, many employers will care more about baton twirling than a .1 difference in GPA.

    The above posts nail it for science grad school though.
  9. Apr 19, 2010 #8
    In my experience the most important things for grad school applicants are GPA, GRE, and LoRs. They really don't care how smart or creative you are, they just want people who look really good on paper.
  10. Apr 23, 2010 #9
    So I shouldn't even bother with extracurriculars that pertain to my field (other than research/internships) if I don't have personal interest? Robotics, math club, etc. wouldn't really be cared about in grad admissions?

    (btw, thanks everyone so far!)
  11. Apr 23, 2010 #10
    I would recommend doing activities that keep you sane. In other words, do things that you are passionate about and enjoy. This is less about what the grad school wants to see, and more about keeping a healthy mindset and not burning out trying to study all the time. Balance is important. Ironically, even time consuming activities could allow you to get better grades.

    I agree that grad schools don't really care about particular activities, but it does give a good impression to have done other things, and it does look good to have outstanding grades while doing these other things. That speaks volumes about a person.

    As an example, I did crew all 4 years of undergrad. This was time consuming and physically exhausting, and it was a pain to get up at 5:00 AM every morning. Yet my study time was very focused and effective because time was precious, and time on the water was inspiring to my soul. For me, this worked perfectly, but everyone is different, so you need to figure out what works for you.

    I really don't know what impact my crew experience had on grad admissions, but it couldn't have hurt, and might have helped just a little. I know I was fully motivated to go into grad school, which is probably the most important thing, and this is something I attribute to living a somewhat balanced (or at least happy) life prior to that.
  12. Apr 24, 2010 #11
    Not very different from applying to an undergrad then lol, except GRE is replaced by SATs
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