<p>Okay so I'm a HS junior. I'm good with all the academic aspects of HS stuff and I'd say that my classes and grades are competitive enough for a top college. My problem is that I have no big extra-curricular things to put on my college application. I'm in debate, Intel Competitions (but I'm no even sure if I'm going to even be close to winning), and I've volunteered at some places. Okay so i have like 1 more year-ish to find a good extracurricular thing to amaze some colleges. So can anyone suggest anything special for me to do? Thanks!</p>

<p>How do you define "top" college? Many many good schools don't evaluate applicants on anything besides grades and scores. Only the very top colleges give weight to ECs.</p>

<p>As for finding the amazing thing to do in one year -- it ain't gonna happen.</p>

<p>Just pursue debate and Intel to the best of your ability. Don't participate in an EC just for colleges.</p>

How do you define "top" college? Many many good schools don't evaluate applicants on anything besides grades and scores. Only the very top colleges give weight to ECs.


<p>I find it amusing that you challenged the use of "top colleges" without qualification or further definition, then proceeded to use "very top colleges." This is no more precise than the OP's term. Either way, it can be assumed that when there's an entire section for "top schools," that's a fair term to use, given that it's defined by the forum.</p>

<p>Anyway, back on topic -- a strong commitment to debate and Intel Competitions can look good. It's not about having a lot of things; it's about having quality extracurriculars, which often involves committing yourself to one or two things and doing a lot with them. I applied with what really amounted to just one extracurricular with a strong leadership role (I had a few other things listed, but it was easy to tell they weren't all that important) and one quality, long-term volunteering experience and was accepted to many top schools.</p>

<p>and my school is one of the best in NYC
and people get into like columbia and those "very top" schools with just good grades and some iffy ECs
and i meant top as in like MIT,UPENN, and Princeton
all those big schools
because in all honestly i've worked a alot harder than some kids who have a lot of extracurricular things and easy classes, and still get good grades in those classes</p>

<p>wait, what good schools were you talking about?
i have an immature viewpoint that only the well-known jaw dropper schools are good schools</p>

<p>and by getting into very top schools with iffy ECs
i mean like they have a few things they are good at
not like most people i see on here with like 50 different good things to put on their apps
but that doesn't help me either...</p>

<p>Redseven: I don't know what was unclear about my post. A bubble of the most selective schools values ECs. And other than those, it drops off. It's up to the OP to see if his/her college target list has these sorts of schools -- we were only left to guess. Now that some of those target schools have been enumerated we get a better picture.</p>

<p>Back to the OP: conventional wisdom is that it's not the number of ECs that matter but the quality and what it shows about the person. Anyone can say they volunteer at 15 different orgs and are members/leaders of another 12 school clubs -- and yet still come across as bland/boring/resume padder. </p>

<p>What about these (or yours) will say to the file reader that "this applicant will be a great addition to our community"? That's what you're hoping to present. Good luck to you.</p>

<p>I say find one thing that interests you and do that as much as you like. If nothing else, you will enjoy it. I do not think we could just tell you to go pick up a violin and play it for the next year. That probably would not turn out well. Personally I believe you should choose something that you would consider a hobby. </p>

<p>Do what you love, and love what you do.</p>

<p>well i actually am a avid soccer person
i was on a team for a while before I realized soccer and ap physics don't go well together
and i was wondering if the length of how long i did something matters alot?
cuz i have done things I don't consider extracurriculars such as teaching people for free</p>

<p>please tell me what schools wouldn't care that much about ECs!</p>

<p>cuz if you don't get it right, you're gonna be living in a Van, down by the river.</p>

<p>There is no Magic EC. Just do what you want to the best of your ability.</p>

<p>This is the way that you will get in to the college that accepts you for who you really are.</p>

<p>Unless you are channelling Grouch Marx, this should work out ok. And you won't wind up living in a van, DOWN BY THE RIVER!</p>

<p>thank you for your exceptionally inspiring advice</p>

<p>this advice is straight out of How to be a high school Superstar</p>

<p>-cut down your commitments to make time for exploring your interests
-focus on one or two of your interests and join communities about them, it makes encountering interesting projects easier
-get really good at what you do, and eventually you'll accomplish something really impressive</p>

<p>one slight problem with that advice is that it uses the word "eventually" and my time isn't exactly plentiful right now. :X !</p>

<p>"please tell me what schools wouldn't care that much about ECs! "</p>

<p>If you google any school's "Common Data Set", you'll pull up the evaluation factors for that school. The bulk of colleges in the US admit solely based on transcript and test scores. It's the tippy top colleges that value ECs. Are you targeting those?</p>

<p>yeah my goal schools are like UPENN and MIT/caltech
btw just to give an idea of my school's standards, the average GPA accepted to caltech is like a bit less than 94, and harvard is a bit less than 96.</p>

<p>one more thing
if i do varsity soccer for the first part of senior year will that help me in any way?
it'll be just one year of it, while other kids can apply with like 4 years
(i didn't join before because my parents/too much other work)
although i can show interest in soccer stuff since i created soccer videos online and stuff like that
and that'd be too late for an ED, right? since soccer season starts in august but ends in like early to mid- november</p>

<p>bump 10char</p>

<p>Do soccer because you enjoy soccer - it itsn't going to make any difference to your application. As others here have said, don't bother with the last minute padding. </p>

<p>A more productive way to spend your time would be to identify schools outside of the usual suspects that woud provide you with the kind of learning environment you'd most enjoy (and which your folks can afford - have the money talk). For example, if you like MIT and Caltech, take a look at Harvey Mudd and Georgia Tech and some of the other tech schools that aren't on everyone's radar. Also, spend some time thinking about who is going to write your letters of rec and what you can do to help them know you better so they can write the best possible letters. If you have extra time in your senior year (unlikely), see if any of them need a class-room assistant or if the dept. needs a tutor.</p>