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The weight of extracurriculars in admission!!!!

PbunnyPbunny Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
edited August 2013 in College Admissions
Do colleges (specifically, IVY) like to see a lot of E.C.'s or a lot of leadership and focus in one or two clubs? This is my list:

Theatre club (leads in all plays.. except this year, not very active, its a long story) I also do theatre outside the school environment
Drama council (like student council, for drama) running for pres. soon
Student council (Student body VP)
Human Rights initiative (Pres)
NHS (Pres)
Environmental club
School Newspaper (World News Journalist)
School literary magazine
American Chemical Society Chem Club
AIPAC member. Its a political/volunteer group
I volunteer with several different organizations, such as Relay for life (entertainment coordinator), and several different local/religious teen groups. I also work at a local farm stand.
I've taken two classes at a local state college (Psychology, Public Speaking) and done one independent study (French 3).

Before you ask, I am in all of these clubs per my own curiosity and interest in all of these areas. NOT for college. I'm just wondering now, if it will look like I only got into the breadth of each club.. Which I can say is definitely not true. I like to keep myself busy and work hard, I do different art programs in the summer as well. This summer I am a volunteer at a local museum.
Post edited by Pbunny on

Replies to: The weight of extracurriculars in admission!!!!

  • florianCollegeflorianCollege Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    It may depend on what skills the college is looking for.

    For example, in the admission letter for my kid, Caltech indicated that they were very impressed with what he accomplished on cybersecurity related competitions (one of his main ECs for which he was also the captain and his team accomplished first position among all HSs. Most of this was self-study in an area that was new to them) and also the work he did on his internships (mostly focused on physics).

    Harvey Mudd indicated they were impressed with what he accomplished on FIRST Robotics (he was an officer on the team).
  • SolidaritySolidarity Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Extracurricular Activities
    Some students feel so much pressure to get into the "right" college that they want to make sure they do everything "right" - even do the "right" extracurricular activities. Fortunately, the only right answer is to do what's right for you - not what you think is right for us.

    Choose your activities because they really delight, intrigue and challenge you, not because you think they'll look impressive on your application. Go out of your way to find projects, activities and experiences that stimulate your creativity and leadership, that connect you with peers and adults who bring out your best, that please you so much you don't mind the work involved. Some students find room for many activities; others prefer to concentrate on just a few. Either way, the test for any extracurricular should be whether it makes you happy - whether it feels right for you.

    By the same token, some applicants struggle to turn themselves into clones of the "ideal" MIT student - you know, the one who gets triple 800s on the SAT. Fortunately, cloning is still for sheep. What we really want to see on your application is you being you - pursuing the things you love, growing, changing, taking risks, learning from your mistakes, all in your own distinctive way. College is not a costume party; you're not supposed to come dressed as someone else. Instead, college is an intense, irreplaceable four-year opportunity to become more yourself than you've ever been. What you need to show us is that you're ready to try. - MIT
  • PbunnyPbunny Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Thanks for the great replies! I definitely do choose what to join by is it important to me, but will my passion show on my application?
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,917 Senior Member
    Make sure you get recommendations from teachers who can talk about how active you are in all these things.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    Thanks for the great replies! I definitely do choose what to join by is it important to me, but will my passion show on my application?

    Kind of depends on how well you do your applications, doesn't it?
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,917 Senior Member
    I do think you have a challenge establishing that you are serious about such a large number of ECs, and that you didn't just join them all to have a big number of activities. This is why I suggest that you make sure your recommenders address this. You can also address it in essays.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,051 Senior Member
    Its always amusing when someone writes "IVY" in all capital letters ;)

    In any event the question about impressive ECs comes up regularly on the forum. There is a thread with several posts by Northstarmom, a Ivy alum interviewer, about what constitutes impressive ECs from the point of view of the most selective colleges. The post is at http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/210497-those-ecs-weak-so-what-s-good.html

    As you will see from that link, at the most selective colleges they are looking for depth more than just participation. Stanford, for example, says
    Students often assume our primary concern is the number of activities in which one participates. In fact, an exceptional depth of experience in one or two activities may demonstrate your passion more than minimal participation in five or six clubs. We want to see the impact you have had on that club, in your school, or in the larger community, and we want to learn of the impact that experience has had on you.
  • PbunnyPbunny Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    I've started my application and m finding it very frustrating with limited characters to be able to describe my extracurrics! Not to mention the fact that they only allow ten!! I've been compressing them, but I still can't fit them all.. Is it all right if they're mentioned in my recommendations but not in my application?

    Would uploading a short monologue be done through each college's supplement? Is there somewhere that offers a link to their slideroom or do I have to just know which colleges offer it?
  • T26E4T26E4 Registered User Posts: 24,274 Senior Member
    You're overestimating the value that any college would place on your ELEVENTH extra-curricular activity. Really.

    Your overall anxiety about not properly documenting your EC activity also shows you're overestimating the value that colleges will impart to you.

    Looking at your profile, it seems your theater is the most salient. I suspect a file reader would look for concrete examples of achievement and leadership there only. A reader is looking for something or two that stands out.

    The other items would be glanced at and remain unnoticed. Why? Because they aren't any different than the files of the 100 kids I that were read before yours nor the 100 kids after yours.

    Think about being at some Ivy admissions committee meeting. They'll be referring to one kid as the lacrosse star who published in the physics journal. She might be compared with you, known as the theater applicant from New Mexico. You won't be the theater applicant from New Mexico who was also on the literary journal and volunteered at X and did Matheletes and VP of club Y.

    That comparison would probably take all of 50 seconds once particulars of you are read aloud.

    Make sense?

    Listen to this:
  • PbunnyPbunny Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Oh. I was told you were compared to kids in your own school.
    And I don't really understand why Entertainment coordinator for Relay for life or president of Human RIGHTS inititiative is not important. But whatever. I'm not here to debate that. If I'm to be compared to those whose schools actually give them opportunities than I have literally no chance at all. I've never met anyone so dedicated to their extracurrics and to success and learning than myself. And thats why I want to document them correctly. Because no one in my environment cares.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,051 Senior Member
    I've never met anyone so dedicated to their extracurrics and to success and learning than myself.
    Just a FYI, colleges are actually about academics. ECs are a tipping factor between well-qualified applicants who have demonstrated an ability to do well in school and the likelihood of continuing, not an end in themselves.
This discussion has been closed.