<p>How important really are ECs to the admission process? Could a lack of ECs (say, next to none) keep an otherwise good applicant from being admitted to a top school? I constantly find answers to the opposite ("Can strong ECs make up for a lagging GPA, test score, etc.?"), but I have yet to find an answer to this.</p>


<p>According to most CCers, extracurriculars are even more important than academics it seems. I will have around 10 community college classes when I graduate and 4.0 unweighted and 4.4 weighted with a 2380 and 3 800s in sat iis, but my ecs are just normal volunteering and a few clubs in school. My chances for all ivies = tiny.</p>

<p>For most colleges, ECs are a very minor aspect of admissions. Most colleges, after all, admit the majority of students who apply, and the colleges' main problem is making sure that enough students agree to come in order to fill up their freshmen class.</p>

<p>The very top colleges -- places like HPYS-- have a different problem: such an overabundandance of high stat candidates and such a high yield that the colleges' admissions committees focus on admitting students who are likely to contribute to making campus life continue to thrive, and creatng a well rounded freshman class. Most of the applicants to the kind of places that I mention are very well qualified for admission, so the adcoms can afford to skip the applicants with weak or nonexistant ECs, while concentrating on admitting students who will help the hundreds of campus organizations continue to thrive.</p>

<p>At this point, I am seriously regretting my lack of ECs. I am homeschooled and thus have not been a part of any school clubs or activities. But I have never gotten involved elsewhere either. I've never been into sports, never pursued any sort of musical talent (I have none). Right now, I am doing community service, but I only started that at the beginning of my junior year. My first two years: Nothing. It just really sucks because I know that I am academically qualified for many top schools, but at this point (senior year), I suppose there just isn't much I can do to change anything.</p>

<p>I worked as a nanny during the last two summers and I have been involved in the same church my entire life, but I suppose that those really don't count for much.</p>

<p>Any job does count as does being involved in your church especially if you had any leadership role such as leading a Sunday school section, being a counselor at vacation Bible school, being head of your church youth group, etc.</p>

<p>Community activities count. Many homeschooled students are part of local sports teams, clubs like Girl Scouts, community service activities, etc.</p>

<p>When I say next to none, I mean that in the most dire sense. Seriously, nothing but four hours per week of community service since junior year and my summer job. As far as church, I haven't held any leadership positions unless you count making the PowerPoint slides each week for the service.</p>

<p>With that in mind, what type of schools should I be looking at? Do I even stand a chance at any of the Top Twenty schools? Top Fifty? Do I have to look even lower than that? Considering that I am academically on par, I have spent so much time researching top schools, but I am seriously beginning to doubt my chances.</p>

<p>Unless you have some rare characterstic such as being from a very underrepresented state, I think that your chances are worse than the normal long odds of getting into schools in about the top 12. However, if your board scores are very high, and your essay is very strong, I think that you may have normal chances of getting into the other colleges. Keep in mind, too, that state universities base admissions decisions mainly on stats (and out of state students need higher stats than do in-state students), and schools like U Michigan, U Virginia, UCLA, U Wisconsin and University of Florida are top tier.</p>

<p>Your nanny job, however, would count like an EC. Depending on what you did in your volunteer work, that also could be impressive. Top colleges tend to value impact of one's volunteer work far more than the hours. If you spent 4 hours a week answering the phone for a nonprofit or sorting clothes for Goodwill, that probably wouldn't be impressive. Four hours a week tutoring an autistic child, however, could be very impressive particularly if you had the child's parent do a supplementary recommendation.</p>

<p>People on CC care too much about extracurriculars. An amazing EC would help for sure, but I'd think that colleges in general only want to make sure that the applicant will be a factor in their community and not just within the classroom. From most sources that I have read, academics account for 80-85% of the factor in acceptance in ivys. Even with the influx of students today, I'd think that academics is still king in admissions, with ECs a distant scond. Just show them you haven't spent 4 years cooped up in a library studying for SATs.</p>

<p>When it comes to Harvard, for instance, the dean of admissions was quoted recently as saying that 90% of applicants have the stats that qualify them for Harvard admission. Consequently, it's factors like ECs that factor greatly into who gets admitted.</p>

<p>My impression is that LACs may not put as much emphasis on ECs as do the places like HPYS. This includes top LACs.</p>

<p>You can find out how important ECs are by looking at colleges' common database that is pinned to the top of one of CC's admission boards. You also can get that info by paying $15 or so to access US News premium college website.</p>

<p>What about the University of Chicago? Impossible?
I am from California, which doesn't help me as far as being underrepresented. (I do plan on applying to a UC or two, though I would rather go to school out of state.) What about the fact that neither of my parents went to college and that my mom only finished 6th grade? Does that count for anything? Other than that, I totally fit into the overrepresented majority: white, suburban, Californian, etc.</p>

<p>Check the boards here on colleges that interest you, and look in the archives to find out the stats on those admitted and rejected.</p>

<p>Also follow my advice about the US News premium site and colleges' common data base sets.</p>

<p>Also, apply to colleges that interest you. No one here knows for sure whether or not you'll be accepted. Wherever you apply, also make sure that you apply to a safety that you can afford and also would enjoy.</p>

<p>I'm curious about how your parents decided to homeschool you even though neither had been to college. If your board scores also are high, that's quite an accomplishment of your parents to have taught you so well.</p>

<p>My homeschooling situation is a little different than most, I think. My parents have hired a teacher to take the role that the parent would usually have in homeschooling. In that, I kind of have the best of both worlds, because I have a certified teacher covering my education on a day to day basis, but that teacher has also been a family friend longer than I have been alive. Thus she has a personal investment in me and my education similar to a parent. It has worked really well and allowed me to get a good education (better, I think, than my local public high school) and pursue my own academic interests. Is there any way I could sell this on applications as a positive trait?</p>

<p>The more selective the school, the heavier ECs will weight into the mix, b/c the more /self selected/ the applicant pool (i.e., most kids applying to top schools have top stats). However, good stats and an excellent essay will get you into a really good school, trust me. I would apply to schools like UChic, JHU, etc. based on your stats, but also include some good safeties. The likelihood that you'll be admitted to at least 1 of your reaches is pretty high.</p>

<p>Perhaps you have more ECs than you think. What do you spend your free time on? Do you have a hobby, something you have been studying on your own, etc? Homeschooled students sometimes have a tendency to think that only school-type clubs or organized community service counts. The point of asking for ECs is to learn about the person. If you have an activity you have been committed to or passionate about, you can list that.</p>

<p>My daughter (homeschooled) did have a sport and music. But she also listed a literature group she attended with other homeschoolers and music history, which is something she individually devoted a lot of time to. In the description of the home study program (something you will be well-advised to do in applying to top schools), in addition to an overview of the academic program, course descriptions, reading list, and other supplemental material, we included a discussion of how she spent her free time. Essentially, her "free time" was fairly filled, even though she only had 4 listed ECs and no regular job or community service to speak of.</p>

<p>She was admitted to Brown, Chicago, and UNC-CH (OOS).</p>

<p>If you come over to the homeschool board, perhaps we can all brainstorm with you a bit, offer our experiences, and the like.</p>