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How to Impress Adcoms with your Extracurriculars


Replies to: How to Impress Adcoms with your Extracurriculars

  • palermopalermo Registered User Posts: 351 Member
    I am so glad to hear your story. I was getting worried about my daughter - she spends so much time with her dancing (typically four days per week) that she has no in-school activities. You give us some hope.
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Of course we didn't get to hear the daughter's GPA or SAT, maybe that was a boost. I mean if you're a 4.0, 1600 you'll be able to disregard the EC category a bit more.

    I don't get adcoms, a lot of them must be stupid. If they press the idea of ECs, don't they know they're going to get people just doing it for college. They should shut up about it and just let people do it themselves.

    The people who have a passion do it without the college thing in mind. So if the adcoms didn't push the EC importance so hard this issue of "passion" would be moot.
  • ticklemepinkticklemepink Registered User Posts: 2,764 Senior Member
    Agreed. I suppose that the adcoms sort of saw through my app that I didn't really care too much about this EC that I wrote about- thought it'd be more impressive than my true love (riding horses). Was denied from a lot of places...

    However, definitely learned my lesson and wrote about riding in my transfer essay-it worked!!! What can I say? Just give it a shot, even if it might be lame at times.

    The main reason why I didn't write about riding horses the first time around was because I love it so much that i wasn't sure how to convey it and make the essay coherent about my feelings regarding dealing with horses. But after a year and of better understanding of why I was still riding in college, I was able to convey myself better. As for HS students, if you've been doing this EC before high school, why are you still with it despite tight schedules? I think that's the idea.
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Everyone acts like you have to win a load of awards and stuff for your EC for it to matter.

    I've been playing piano for ages now, and I'm extremely talented, and can compose complicated pieces in all the main styles of piano.

    It's just for fun though, and I enjoy it. I don't go out and sign up for talent shows to win and brush up my college application. And I don't think that means I don't have passion for it.

    I have so much passion for music I don't need the load of awards I could easily win.
  • sparkledustsparkledust Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    This is soo cool. I've always thought that you needed MANY EC's to get into a good school. I run and volunteer, and I have many interests outside of school and the academic arena. Things that make me who I am and that has helped me grow as a person. I have many qualities that aren't taken into consideration as unique. Everyone at my school feels as if you must be an ALL-AMEICAN without passion as to why you do things. Especially when it comes to class/club elections, and cheating just to stay on top in AP and Dual classes. This post has given me more confidence to effectively write with a PASSION on my essay.

    Does anyone know what to stray from when it comes to writing personally? Should we include effects on others, ourselves, or both? Thanks!!!
  • Harvard2400Harvard2400 - Posts: 295 Junior Member
    Hey ParentOften,


    I read your post regarding ExtraCurriculars about your daughter after school. You said that she is a sophmore at Duke. Well, I am actually planning on applying to Duke this fall for early decision. I am actually planning on submitting a dance tape. Can you tell me a bit about the admissions procedure for this and the Duke Dance committee and program there? I am making an assumption that your daughter is in the program because of her passion for that art.

  • epoch_dreamsepoch_dreams Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    Go ahead and submit the dance video but if dancing is the ec that you love the most, talk about in an essay of its own.
  • parentofteenparentofteen Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member

    My daughter applied ED and submitted a dance tape, too. All I know is that it was passed on to the actual Dance Department for review, and they graded it according to actual ability/talent and sent their recommendation back to the admissions office for consideration.

    Make sure that you follow the proper procedure for submission of your video. There is a separate form to submit with it, and you must adhere to the specified length of material. They do not want to see anything too lengthy (I can't remember the specifications), but my daughter was able to send in two taped solos from her dance recital (ballet and tap).
    She also (according to that form) had to submit something written about her dance background.

    My daughter is probably going to pursue minors in both dance and music (also a talented pianist) to complement her English major. Duke did not have a major in dance when she entered last fall, but they were talking of adding it very soon! It will probably be in place for you!

    The Dance Department is very small, personable, and impressive at Duke. My daughter took her required freshman seminar last fall in the area of dance. There were only two students in her class, yet Duke allowed those two freshman to have a class with their "private" instructor! She also took a ballet class this past spring that had about fifteen students in it. Some were minors, but many were students who simply love to dance or wanted to stay in shape.

    Every summer Duke hosts the American Dance Festival, and students area encouraged to pursue internships with the program. My daughter hopes to do that one summer soon!

    Best of luck to you with ED. That is the way to apply at Duke!
  • hannanaqhannanaq Registered User Posts: 488 Member
    wow this is excellent advice
    thank you eternity hope
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    "music (also a talented pianist)."

    Wow, I sense more bragging on this forum. Hey I'm a talented pianist. I've won every talent show I've ever entered in my life. I've been the hit of every recital I've ever played in. I've outgrown numerous teachers who are 2-3 times my age.

    The question is, until I just had to vent with those comments, have you ever heard me bragging about it?

    That is true passion. I'm not going to write out that load of crap on a college application. People whine about how you should have passion for an EC and focus on it, and do it all the wonderful four years of high school. I've been playing piano since I had the physical dexterity to separately move my fingers. I don't need to tell everyone how great I am, or use it to better my appearance to an adcom or anyone else evaluating me.

    I'm so tired of all these parents around here bragging about that crap.
  • parentofteenparentofteen Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    Not meant as a brag - sorry. I am really a very reserved person, as is my daughter.

    I could have told you her SAT scores, APs, class rank, etc. when you implied that they must be involved earlier, but I chose not to for the very reason of being labeled a bragging parent. Besides, this thread is about the value of ECs in the admissions process, and more specifically how they can be used to help one "shine" or differentiate himself/herself in the essay when everyone else who applies at the same school also has impressive academic stats.

    By the way, you should consider writing your essay about your passion and talent in piano.
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Well thank you very much for the advice. Sorry if I came off a bit peremptory.

    How'd she do on that PSAT?

    I was wondering because I got a 186 or something like that sophomore year and made this accelerated class for free that's supposed to turn me into a National Merit Scholar.
  • parentofteenparentofteen Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    Her PSAT score was in the low 200's, but I don't recall for sure. It was a weird score for her because she is more of a verbal person usually, but her math score was far better than her verbal for that test. (On the SATs her verbal has always been far superior to her math) She qualified for National Merit commendation, but not scholar status. Her senior year SAT ended up being substantially higher than her PSAT and her earlier SATs, especially in the verbal. I will always link that vast improvement to the fact that she "read herself silly" junior year and fell in love with many old classics.

    Thanks for the apology. I sincerely wish you success with the junior year PSAT and SATs.
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    On my first PSAT, I got a 186, 51CR/73M/62W, I think.

    I talked to a kid who got the same thing, was accepted to this program, and got a 226 the next year.

    What's happened to me on tests like that before is probably what happened to your daughter. I'm a math guy, so sometimes I just disregard the math and assume I'm going to do greatly, and then I end up scoring higher in verbal stuff because I payed attention to it.

    On the first day of the PSAT accelerated program, we took a practice SAT and I told myself I wasn't going to do that and it worked pretty well. 720CR/800M/790W. Was not expecting that last one to be so friggin high. And I knew CR would be the lowest by far.
  • parentofteenparentofteen Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    I think the addition of the writing section is wonderful, personally. It sounds like you are more talented in that area than you thought. Overall, that is a fantastic SAT practice score! You should be in great shape for the fall testing.

    Where do you plan to apply for college?
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