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How strong of an EC?

CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
How strong of an extracurricular is this in college admissions? I can talk about it a good amount in my essay,
For the past couple of months, I've been running a 3D printing company that sells products through 4 e-commerce websites including Etsy, eBay, Bonanza, and Amazon. I currently have 3 things that I sell but this number will definitely grow probably to about 10 by the time college admissions come around. I own a paid website, multiple social media sites, and advertise through about 7 different companies. This is a relatively new business and while I've turned a profit, it's not yet substantial. However, profits from this business combined with another more established one I run total to about $5000 a year (predicted for 2018).

If I'm going to applying to a top 20 school for engineering, how heavily will this extracurricular factor into my admissions?


Replies to: How strong of an EC?

  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,338 Forum Champion
    For any college, first you look at the Common Data Set. Let us say that you are looking at CalTech.


    Go to section C7, and see what they think is the most important things for admission.

    It shows Academic Rigor and Standardized tests as Very important but Extracurriculars are just "important".

    So do you have the coursework, GPA, SAT/ACT for a top engineering school? If yes, then this might be a small differentiator that helps. If you don't, it won't make up for it.

  • CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    Some of my previous posts go into detail about my stats. I have a 1530 SAT, and am in the top 3 students or so for GPA. Academically I'm on par with top schools, and I have a good amount of strong extracurriculars as well.

    However, for this post, I wanted to look into my business in particular and how it would weigh in college admissions. Would it make sense to centralize my common app around it? Will admissions look at this business as a particularly strong EC?
  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 1,185 Senior Member
    I think that's a very strong EC. More importantly being able to run a small business, keep up with school work and still maintain great grades is impressive!
  • CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    Thanks! That's what I was going for. Can anybody validate that this is a strong EC? Is it something worth basing my common app around?
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    I think starting, owning, and running a profitable business is a very strong EC. It has the makings of a good hook, although as @bopper said, you need to have the GPA and test scores to go with it.

    Whether or not you build your app around it depends on how profoundly it has affected you and made you grow. Did you have to overcome any challenges or obstacles? Did you have to learn CAD (a new skill) in order to use a 3D printer (I also ask because DD is taking a class this summer to learn both of those)? How much time do you spend on your business? How is this activity meaningful to you? It should be pretty easy to explain why this triggers your curiosity for engineering. Tell your story in a compelling way, and it could look great on your application.
  • CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    I appreciate the advice - that's exactly what I had in mind, as I can speak to the growth aspect very well. I've had to put in my own money, grow CAD skills, do a LOT of maintenance with the printer, and collect ideas from various engineering extracurriculars and classes I've participated in.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,491 Senior Member
    It's not a tip. If you have an idea of what top colleges look for, they aren't swayed by profit-making achievements. And you need to understand what the main essay or any writing is meant to convey. It's not to explain a business.

    What will matter is what else, how you combine personal, peer and community activities. How you collaborate and more. (Math and science ECs in high schol matter.) But top colleges like depth *and* breadth, kids who will engage with the campus community, not just be off after their own ventures. That's show, not just tell.

  • CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    Sounds good. Prior to this business, I had been a little worried I had too much breadth and not enough depth. I take part in many extracurriculars in both a group and individual setting. I'm hoping this 3D printing business will add a bit of depth to my application, as you (lookingforward) had described, by mentioning different ways I grew.

    To clarify, when I say "center my common app" around the business, I don't mean narrowly describe its ins and outs, as I may have implied. I'm instead hoping that it will act as a hook due to its complexity and indication of character; a point of reference for my devotion to extracurriculars.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,338 Forum Champion
    We can't validate this EC...we are not college admissions people. You should do things that you are interested in, making sure to include leadership and community service.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,491 Senior Member
    Not a hook. Not a tip. Just a nice bullet. A lot of kids get so wrapped up in their ventures (or how much they made fro some app, etc,) that it begs the question, why college? And why this one? Top colleges are't there to serve as some kid's incubator.

    You'd benefit from looking into what the colleges say and show they look for.
  • CollegePrepping2CollegePrepping2 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    Bopper, from what I understand, a lot of people on this forum used to work in admissions, so my question was primarily targeted toward them. I'm just looking for an estimation of how strong this particular EC is from an experienced individual; happytimes and groundwork gave two solid answers. I think this is reasonable.

    Thanks for the advice lookingforward; I always appreciate a more general outlook on the college search.
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