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10 AUG 2020
As we have witnessed, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of online learning and many students’ extracurricular activities including summer programs. Now Zoom and online learning platforms have become every teacher’s best friend.
When it comes to developing your extracurricular profile there are a number of ways to start impressive initiatives even during the pandemic.
I have always had a deep-rooted passion for entrepreneurship and business. When I was 11, I attended a public speaking summer program held by my older cousin when she was a rising senior in high school. Those memories have inspired me to start my own program, now that I am standing in her shoes.
Being entrepreneurial and starting initiatives is a great way to stand out in the college applications process. If you are looking for an impressive extracurricular activity that is relatively easy to get off the ground, continue reading to see how I launched my own summer program - Business Bloom Summer Academy - in less than 3 months.
While I had seeds of the idea of starting a summer program, I only started implementing my ideas in March of 2020. I spoke to my best friend about launching a business-oriented summer program and we began developing a week-long curriculum starting mid-March. Leading up to the program, we created slide decks, worksheets, a Google Classroom, a website, a Facebook account, and other supplementary materials needed for the curriculum. We were able to rely almost completely on our knowledge from classes, clubs, and other programs we attended; creating the content came naturally to us. I would suggest picking a topic you are passionate about and/or have solid hands-on experience in so that creating the materials is more efficient. Within a week we had a solid curriculum down but we continued to iterate and change small details and activities around as we discussed the details more closely.
As this was going on, we simultaneously launched social media accounts with promotional flyers made through Canva, an easy-to-use graphic design website, and marketed our program to our community. Looking back, the two platforms that brought us the most students were Roundpier and Nextdoor. Roundpier was great for getting students around the world to join our program and Nextdoor was amazing in getting the word out within the local community. Having a high number of students is crucial to making your summer program stand out as an extracurricular activity on your college applications. Mentioning the total number of attendees and how many countries/states your program covered are great metrics to provide when gathering data to show to colleges.
We continued our marketing efforts and after seeing that the interest was so high, we decided to hold multiple sessions all free of charge. Given the pandemic, the program was held through Zoom and was very activity-based. Some examples of activities we incorporated within our curriculum were a Shark Tank Pitching event, online games like Kahoot, story chains to improve impromptu speaking skills, and a Socratic seminar on emerging business issues.
Here are some final statistics we gathered
To give back to the community we opened up a donation platform on our Facebook page to raise money for the Malala Fund, an organization with a cause dear to our hearts as females in business. The fundraiser is currently live and will close on August 31st so any amount of support is greatly appreciated. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/BusinessBloomSummerAcademy/ for more information on our program.
I hope this blog helps someone out there trying to start a summer program of their own. Good luck with your future endeavors!