Do colleges consider extracurriculars and Achivements that were gotten in 9th and 10th Grade?

I was wondering if colleges give weightage to Extracurriculars and Achievements in 9th and 10th during the admissions process and is it bad to see a downturn in achievements in the senior years?

Well this year they will since kids got knocked for a loop with covid.


It all depends upon what they were. If they see participation in sports and clubs in 9th and 10th, and then no progression to leadership positions, and in fact dropping out of all those high school level activities, yes, they might wonder if something happened. But of course, with the pandemic, all those activities became much more difficult to participate in.

If they see a national or international level award in the summer before 9th grade, and then continued activity in that area, but not another extremely high level award like that, I don’t think that it would be held against them at all - I think that the colleges would certainly take into account that EC achievement in 9th and 10th grade. After all, you cannot win an Olympic gold medal at consecutive Olympics while in high school!

So colleges would consider achievements normally in 9th and 10th?

I agree with @Happytimes2001 that this year and possibly next the universities are going to be looking at a lot of applications from kids who did a lot of things very well until COVID came along and shut so many things down. Different students and different high schools will also vary in terms of how they adopted to online education.

Otherwise I think that it is largely a case by case thing. Admissions at the top universities is a hit and miss unpredictable thing. Affordability at top universities also varies a lot depending upon the family’s financial situation, with the so called “donut hole” being very real. Many very strong students attend public universities, and hiring managers know this.

A strong student will get into very good universities regardless of whether their extracurriculars add up. Whether they will get into Harvard or Stanford, and whether the parents can afford to send them, is an entirely different issue.

I think that you do the best that you can, and try not to worry about it. You should also be aware that if you go to a very good in-state public university, then after graduation you are likely to be working next to a Harvard, MIT, or Stanford graduate and no one will care where any of you went to university.

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My oldest was talking about this and was thankful s/he had done many things in 9th and 10 Th grade since 1/2 of 10th and most of 11th has been a bust. The colleges can easily look at the profile and see that Covid was a major impact.

Also, kid told me that many Juniors scramble to find “things to do” and they have a hard time finding not only things they like, but also becoming leaders since others have been around since 9th grade.

If not for covid in a normal time would colleges not like academic achivements and Extracurruclars drop in 11th and 12th grade.

This is going to depend upon which universities you are applying to.

Stanford or Harvard use ECs, references and other factors to help them distinguish between a very long list of students who have nearly perfect academics.

You can get into a very good university without any ECs. For example one daughter did almost no ECs at all until her senior year of high school. She was accepted to every university she applied to, and got merit aid from every one of them except for one where she withdrew her application before hearing back about merit aid. However, she did not apply to Harvard or Stanford.

I do not think that you should continue at an EC that you do not like. You should do the ECs that make sense for you, and try not to worry about it. There are a lot of very good universities and academics alone can make you competitive for most of them.

Obviously, colleges that care about ECs prefer to see students grow and deepen in their EC’s over the 4 years of HS. Early achievements count, and what you do going forward counts also.

Also obviously, in normal life somebody with amazing ECs in G9 &10 who doesn’t do anything else in G11 &12 (no continuation / no going forward to the next level if it’s something that can continue, no segue to something else if it can’t) is going to raise some red flags.

Also also obviously, AOs are very aware that Covid imploded the world for HSers.

But when I add up your posts I get the feeling that you are feeling desperate about impressing colleges?

I am doing extracurriculars that are interesting to me but also present them to colleges in the right way.

Sometimes the reduction can be seen as a positive depending on how you spin it. Consider the student that Participated in a number of different clubs in Frosh and Soph year. In Junior year they discovered the areas they were passionate about and continued involvement in a smaller number of activities but were more focused.

To me that’s a big positive in terms of what schools are looking for in an applicants extracurriculars. ECs on their own don’t really weigh the scales to much in either direction in terms of acceptance/rejection. What they should do is weave a narrative that tells a story about who you are.

I don’t think that they’re very concerned with the fact that you participated in yearbook and a freshman no-cut sport. If someone focused solely on the most rigorous academic load available in 9th, and did very well, I don’t think that no ECs in 9th would be held against them.
But if you had an extraordinary achievement even in 8th grade (won a national or int’l level competition or got published in a significant publication, or the like), then yes, I would definitely say that they take into account those 9th and 10th grade activities.

The Common App, and the few individual apps I’ve seen, always as for activities, awards, etc., earned all through HS, which includes 9th and 10th grades. I would think this means they at least consider them.

Given the limitations over the last year+, I would think this would be even more true.