right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Should I bring up a controversial extra curricular on my application?

Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
edited April 3 in College Admissions
Hello, let me thank everyone for taking the time to help me.

This thread is not about weather you agree with me or not but about if I should mention my activism on my college app.


I am wondering if I should put an extracurricular that includes controversial opinions in my application. I work with the National Youth Right Association to fight ageism. The things that we advocate for aren't super controversial but are still pretty controversial, people seem to especially oppose it when I bring it up on here. We advocate for removing or lowering minimum ages and more importantly fundamentally changing the way young people are treated. I feel strongly about this, strongly enough to spend many hours of the week on it.

I feel like if I don't put it on my app I am missing an opportunity to show colleges that I am actively engaging in the community and being an activist. But then the other half of me feels that the adcoms are going to disagree with me and reject me for my beliefs.

It's a very tough decision. What do you think?

Again, please try not to turn this into an argument about weather you agree/disagree. I am looking for real advice here.
edited April 3
109 replies
· Reply · Share
«13456

Replies to: Should I bring up a controversial extra curricular on my application?

  • milee30milee30 2916 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Tough judgment call. AOs are human. They work at an institution and institutions have many, many rules and structures in place. You'll be essentially informing them that you're likely to organize others to fight the rules the institution has in place...

    Not sure I'd personally take that risk.

    You could get an open AO who focuses on the fact that you're involved and spend time working to change things you think are wrong. Or you could get an AO who sees that and thinks you're going to be one of the students inciting crowds to set trash cans on fire to protest the current drinking age.

    My opinion only, but why take the risk they will worry about what you will do on campus? If I had any other ECs, I'd list those an omit any that might give a college a reason to pause.
    · Reply · Share
  • RelicAndTypeRelicAndType 200 replies0 threads Junior Member
    How much time do you spend on it? If a lot, be honest and put it in. If not a lot, it's just cheap filler. Even were it a "bad" thing to put on, by this point the die is cast. You are you, and cannot be otherwise. Present yourself to adcoms as you are.
    · Reply · Share
  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    I am not going to debate but if I remember from past threads, you are applying to colleges at age 15 and only want certain colleges that dont waste your time with too many prerequisites and will allow you to mostly only take courses about financial and investment banking.

    What about you being an activist shows you will be successful in your chosen field? I would perhaps focus on how what you are doing now helps you for your future. AO may see it either way and feel its a positive or a negative but I think you need to be true to yourself, list it, and accept their decision whether its a yes or a no. However, I could see you attempting to claim ageism if you do list it and they decline you for admittance to their college (even though they may be saying no for many other reasons). In time you will find the right school for you. You need to do what you feel is right for your own conscience and deal with the consequences both good or bad.
    · Reply · Share
  • Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @RelicAndType I spend a lot of time on it.

    I'm not so sure about presenting to the AOs things that they might not like. I see college admissions like a car salesman trying to sell a car to the customer, you wouldn't want to tell them about something bad on the car. I need to sell myself to the AOs.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10162 replies118 threads Senior Member
    I think with the right descriptive tone about your involvement, it's perfectly fine to put on your application. I wouldn't personally write your common app essay about it, but putting it in your EC section should be just fine.

    · Reply · Share
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7898 replies84 threads Senior Member
    Yes, you need to "sell" yourself, but no, the AOs are not looking to sell you a car. Ofc, If your essay is 'you lot are everything that is wrong with world' well, that's not going to sell *you*.

    Post #6 leads me to think that you are making the same mistake that many posters make about their essays: they focus too much on telling their story (of abuse, coming out, passion in life) and not enough on showing where that story is going. What have you learned from your activism so far? what have you done with that learning? how have you adapted / changed / grown? based on that, where do you see yourself going? how will that activism be used? The point is to sell **you**, not the specific cause. You should be able to write the essay and substitute [generic cause] pretty easily.
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 24009 replies2407 threads Super Moderator
    edited April 3
    I remember your story now........IMO the way issue will be your age, lack of prerequisites, finishing HS in one year etc. - not this activity.
    edited April 3
    · Reply · Share
  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    Yes, you need to "sell" yourself, but no, the AOs are not looking to sell you a car. Ofc, If your essay is 'you lot are everything that is wrong with world' well, that's not going to sell *you*.

    Post #6 leads me to think that you are making the same mistake that many posters make about their essays: they focus too much on telling their story (of abuse, coming out, passion in life) and not enough on showing where that story is going. What have you learned from your activism so far? what have you done with that learning? how have you adapted / changed / grown? based on that, where do you see yourself going? how will that activism be used? The point is to sell **you**, not the specific cause. You should be able to write the essay and substitute [generic cause] pretty easily.

    Agreed and think thats a great way to put it. From previous posts you are a very driven teen with a narrow focus and goal. It shouldn't be about just selling yourself as a current snapshot but rather showing how what you have done so far is going to make you successful in reaching your goal. You say you want to be an investment banker so how has your time in xyz EC's and your classwork thus far shown you will be capable of doing this. Hearing another story about a smart homeschooled teen entering college early isnt all that exciting or special. They want to hear why you've made the choices and done the things and how this has made you an excellent candidate for their college and life in general.
    · Reply · Share
  • Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @happy1

    The Age Discrimination act of 1975 prohibits discrimination based on age in College Admissions. If there is reasonable evidence that they deny me because of my age, the university will very likely find themselves in a lawsuit.
    · Reply · Share
  • Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @MaineLonghorn

    Possible, but if the essays and extracurriculars do not show a lack of maturity then they have no reason to suspect me being immature.

    Now they could claim that the reason is a lack of maturity but that could easily be interpreted as age if there is no evidence in the application to prove immaturity by a judge.
    · Reply · Share
  • Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @Sue22 If its a very selective school then yes you are correct. But say it was a school such as ole miss (and many more), with my 35 ACT there is no reason for Ole Miss to reject me. I think I could definitely prove age discrimination in that case.
    · Reply · Share
  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    @Sue22 If its a very selective school then yes you are correct. But say it was a school such as ole miss (and many more), with my 35 ACT there is no reason for Ole Miss to reject me. I think I could definitely prove age discrimination in that case.

    Review CC. There are hundreds of posts about students with perfect grades and amazing EC's who get declined from colleges. All having nothing to do with their ages. Per your example, Ole Miss has about an 83% acceptance rate. That means that even some "great candidates" get declined. Rigor of high school curriculum is reviewed and they could be declined based on that as well. I dont see anything on Ole Miss website that states "If you get a 35 on your ACT you are guaranteed entrance". Im happy to be wrong though.

    Maturity is knowing how to present oneself in the best possible way and being honest. You asked about if you should list the EC or not and only you can answer that question. Depending on how you frame it, it could be a huge benefit or quite frankly mean nothing at all.
    · Reply · Share
  • digiflipdigiflip 54 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I think that unless the school admits people solely based off of stats, or has auto-admit policies, it would be near-impossible to prove age discrimination. They could say that they thought your personality doesn't fit what their looking, or that you didn't demonstrate enough interest in them, or something else like that. Even just on this site, you can find posts where people were accepted to t20s, but were rejected from their safeties.
    · Reply · Share
  • Homeschooler14Homeschooler14 147 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @2plustrio No, there is nothing in their website that says if you get a 35 you are automatically in. But you have to consider who the school usually admits. Ole Miss has rejected very very few applicants with 35 ACTs and the very few that they did reject likely had some other flaw.

    I am a student with a 4.0 unweighted GPA, 35 ACT, very high SATII scores, 4s and 5s on AP exams and I did this in a rigorous course load. There is absolutely no reason why I should be rejected from a school like ole miss. Yes my Extracurriculars are slightly better than mediocre but still not terrible.
    · Reply · Share
  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    @2plustrio No, there is nothing in their website that says if you get a 35 you are automatically in. But you have to consider who the school usually admits. Ole Miss has rejected very very few applicants with 35 ACTs and the very few that they did reject likely had some other flaw.

    I am a student with a 4.0 unweighted GPA, 35 ACT, very high SATII scores, 4s and 5s on AP exams and I did this in a rigorous course load. There is absolutely no reason why I should be rejected from a school like ole miss. Yes my Extracurriculars are slightly better than mediocre but still not terrible.

    Repeating this, read CC and you will see that many amazing students are rejected from what they would consider "safeties" and it has NOTHING to do with their age. You even admit that Old Miss does reject people with academic stats like yours but you still think you are above and beyond that for some reason.

    Again, not going to argue with you. Read through some of the advice above on how to use your EC's in a way that may highlight your successes and goals. I dont think simply listing NYR as an activity is going to gain a ton of "points" and tip the scale in your favor. Using NYR to showcase how its made you a better student, person, potential future investment banker, then that might be helpful to you.

    Apply to the schools you are interested in and deal with the acceptances and rejections like the thousands of other high school graduates do.

    · Reply · Share
  • RelicAndTypeRelicAndType 200 replies0 threads Junior Member
    How are you going to get into investment banking from Ole Miss? I'm rusty on what the exact target schools are, but I don't think it's one, maybe apart from boutique shops in Charleston or something.

    Investment bankers value soft skills immensely, and they prize people who succeed progressively in conventional ways. Jumping the line on college might not be the best move if that is your goal. Now if it was tech you were after, that might be a different story.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity