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How did you find all your ECs/volunteer opportunities?

A photo of Starring Starring
I'm thinking about going to business, and I realize that it's very competitive, and ECs are really important. Especially because my marks aren't super great. I'd probably be pretty close to the cut-off.

Has anyone else had trouble finding ECs and volunteer work in your community (I live in a fairly small one, and I just moved here last year, so I'm not too familiar with everything going on, though I have looked around a lot online and at the public library)? How did you get all your ECs and where did you find all your volunteer opportunities?

I'm "athletically challenged," and I have zero hand-eye coordination. I can't even swim. Even running is a challenge for me. So I definitely can't join any sports (not even table tennis), and there aren't really any other clubs that I think I could get involved in where I'd be able to get a leadership position. I'm also not that comfortable with a lot of the students in my school. On a more important note, I'm not even really interested in the other clubs in my school.

Also, there are a lot of volunteer opportunities that I find myself unable to do because they require some kind of athletic ability, or it's too far away from home (the main problem). I feel like all the opportunities in my area are things that require physical activity (a lot of assistant coaching positions and similar things), or are just one-time things. The ones that seem like it would provide a valuable experience require previous experience that I don't have. And the ones that I seem pretty qualified for are too far.

I'm in grade 10, and the only school club I'm in is the Equity Council (promotes equality in the school, deals with racism, homophobia, etc.), and am basically guaranteed a leadership position in this club for next year (the teacher supervisor is really pushing it onto another friend and I). Meetings take place once a week after school. The only other thing I'm in is eco council, but I don't really do anything significant.
In the community, once a week for 2 hours, I help kids with their homework (it's run at a church). I also do administrative work at a place that offers services to seniors once a week for an hour.

In grade 9, a couple of friends and I organized a school fundraiser that raised around $2000 over 4 weeks for the Japan earthquake. However, we can't do any more of these fundraiser-type things in our school anymore, because a new thing with our school board this year is that each school gets a set amount of dates in which they can sell food (which is really the only thing that actually sells with the kids at my school) and they all have to be relatively healthy (all our vending machines are stocked with 'baked' chips), plus must be approved by our caf. There's a new lady (not as nice) in charge, and she won't let you sell cookies or anything like that since they're selling it (and we'd be competing against them). These dates for selling food have been already distributed to the different clubs in my school.

I, along with a friend, made a brochure for an organization that was shown to the town council last year.
I was also a teacher assistant at a Korean summer school (it's really just a day camp thing for kids) for one week in the summer of grade 9. I wanted to volunteer as a teacher assistant during the summer more, but it's pretty far from where I live-about 40 mins-and my mom isn't willing to drive me that far every day. And I don't think I'll be able to find anything like that around my area that I would be able to do.
I helped plant a vegetable garden at a senior's home for 3 months as well. (Would this help with anything at all..?)
There were a bunch of other one-time volunteer jobs that I did too, though I don't think they really matter.

Would I be able to use things I did in grade 9 for university applications? I don't know if I'll be able to find any more good volunteer opportunities for the upcoming years.

Does anyone have any ideas? And I really have searched extensively online for volunteer opportunities (literally hours). I have a couple of things bookmarked, but there isn't anything that I saw that I immediately thought I really wanted to do, and would seem plausible. A lot of them I'm just unable to do because it would clash with another commitment, or is just not something I can do right now.

Any and all advice would be appreciated... Even just for reading this whole thing (I have a habit of writing too much) deserves appreciation, so thanks in advance!
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8 replies
 
A photo of ktel ktel
I don't know if my experience will help you much. All of my ECs were either sports, through my high school, or related to the community sports I was involved in.

That being said, you sound more involved than I was in grade 10. I started really slowly, just being a general volunteer for an event here or there and the opportunities really opened up after that. If you're really having a hard time finding stuff, try to create stuff for you to do.
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A photo of Starring Starring
Thanks anyway!

Well, I'm a lot less involved this year. My grade 9 year was when I did the most. So I was wondering if I could still use those for university applications and such?

What do you mean by try to create stuff for me to do? Like organize an event of my own in the community or something?
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A photo of ktel ktel
I think grade 9 is pushing it for including stuff. Most of my applications asked for grade 10 on or grade 11 on.

That's exactly what I mean. Start an event, start a club, do something innovative. It shows leadership and creativity.
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A photo of Starring Starring
Ah, that kind of sucks.
Thanks! I'll try to gather some friends and see what we can do.
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A photo of iliketurtles iliketurtles
Sports is your best bet. If not, start a club or two. You don't need THAT much on your application for Canadian schools. Stick with 2/3 really good ones over your grade 11/12 years and you'll be fine. IMO it's more important HOW you write, not as much WHAT you write about.
Also, some schools ask you to write stuff that you did "within the last 2/3/4 years, etc." so it depends on the school.
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A photo of Starring Starring
Yeah, I know, and I really wish my parents had signed me up for a bunch of sports and stuff when I was younger. But I really suck at sports now, and PE was the subject I always hated and dreaded the most. It was also my lowest mark in grade 9 (my only 80, actually... Made me really frustrated, lol).
Ah, thank you, puts my mind at ease a little bit. I'm just worrying a lot because of all the amazing ECs I see on here. It intimidates me when I think I'm competing with all of that. /:
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A photo of Cr?meGlac Cr?meGlac

@Starring wrote
Yeah, I know, and I really wish my parents had signed me up for a bunch of sports and stuff when I was younger. But I really suck at sports now, and PE was the subject I always hated and dreaded the most. It was also my lowest mark in grade 9 (my only 80, actually... Made me really frustrated, lol).
Ah, thank you, puts my mind at ease a little bit. I'm just worrying a lot because of all the amazing ECs I see on here. It intimidates me when I think I'm competing with all of that. /:


I know how you feel. Many of the volunteering positions I got this year/last year were ones that I applied to over a year ago. It's good to start getting involved early, and I think you're on the right track. You still have 2 years left to do a bunch of awesome things.
I worry a lot after seeing all the amazing things people do here too, including yours- your ECs are a lot better than mine and I'm in Gr 12! They look pretty good to me!
I agree that if you have a hard time finding opportunities, create them for yourself. It doesn't have to be sports, if that's not your thing.

For example, I used to be involved in delivering sandwiches to the homeless with an organization, but the times/location the organization did the activity didn't match my schedule/location, so I started running my own program. Granted, it never got to be as big as the organization I worked for, considering I'm doing it part time, but when it comes to volunteering, every little thing makes a difference. It's like that story about throwing starfish back into the ocean.
Another example, I originally started tutoring for clubs at school, but I realized no one was going to the meetings so I was wasting my time. Instead, I decided to advertise and recruit my own students =)
And when you volunteer for organizations, maybe go above and beyond what is expected of you. For example, if you volunteer at a charity event, why not make a video/flyers to promote it too? Or offer to help bring food/provide musical entertainment etc.?
Those are just some ideas.
Not as impressive as starting a club maybe, but a lot easier.

If you can't start a fundraiser at school, can you start one from your home?

One last thing, many universities don't ask about your ECs. And remember that grades matter too, as well as your writing skills.

Hope this helped, and hope it wasn't too incoherent. I didn't get any sleep last night- I was working on these university applications!
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A photo of Starring Starring
Well, I want to start as soon as possible, because I think that'd make it easier for me later on. I hope they look good! But I'm not sure if I'll even be able so use them since they're all from grade 9. :(

I'm interested in going into a business program (not 100% sure yet though) and I heard that ECs were very important. I'm afraid my marks won't be too high (hopefully at least a 90), since people say grade 11 is a huge jump and everything gets super hard. I'm hoping having good ECs will help that /: (but then again, I don't know how much that will help me when some people have really great marks AND great ECs.)

Thanks for the ideas! It really did help. :)

Haha, you sound way more coherent than I do when I've had no sleep at night!
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