How are my ECs and awards?

I am looking to major in something in biological sciences, towards the ecology side of things (environmental sciences, earth and ocean sciences, etc). Aiming for top 20s ex. Duke, UChicago, and my top choice, UPenn (early decision).

Lots of DECA awards:

  • Regional qualifier in Principles of Travel and Tourism sophomore year
  • Regional qualifier in Hotel and Lodging management(HLM) junior year
  • 1st in South Jersey in HLM testing
  • 1st in New Jersey in HLM testing
  • 3rd overall in New Jersey for HLM
  • Hotel and Lodging educational institute certified guest service award
  • National qualifier and competitor for HLM
  • Johnson and Wales achievement scholarship
    Scholar athlete cheerleading award (highest GPA on cheer team for 2 years)
    Principal’s list 12x now (straight As all throughout high school)
    Renaissance gold card (stellar attendance and achievement for 10 marking periods)
    National Honor Society
    Selected for World Language Honor Society
    Key Club distinguished Vice President


  • Varsity cheerleader for 3 years, practice squad cheerleader for 1 year, hoping to get either captain or leadership council for the upcoming season
  • DECA president, 3 year DECA member, school’s only national competitor
  • 4 year Key Club member, 2 years Vice President and 1 year Editor for club, help plan a $3000 fundraiser for local soup kitchen, trying to have an Alzheimer’s fundraiser this upcoming school year
  • 3 year member of school musical, 100 hours dedicated to each performance (a hell of a lot of work)
  • 4 year member of school’s concert choir. We have seasonal performances and each year travel nationwide. Last year we went to Toronto, this year we went to Los Angeles and had the opportunity to work with producers from Disney Performing Arts
  • National Honor Society: helping with yearly Operation Blessing toy/food drive, blood drive, and volunteering at graduation and banquets
  • World Language Honor Society
  • Action Team Captain through Volunteers of America on behalf of Key Club
  • Gifted and Talented
  • A few STEM workshops and competitions like Brain Bee and Exxon Mobil Girls in STEM

This summer:

  • Long Island University’s Summer Honors Institute for UN and Global Affairs (full tuition and room and board program)
  • Getting a part time job this summer, trying to work a lot of hours
  • Becoming a docent for a local historical society where I will learn a lot about a house where a major Revolutionary War battle took place and give historical tours of this house
  • Possible summer internship with biology professor
  • Taking online courses in biology with coursera or edX


  • Hopefully will be the founder of my school’s first STEM club wherein I will help prepare for competitions like Brain Bee and hopefully just get kids in my school excited about science. In the process of starting this club
  • Trying to work with a teacher in my school to get me an interning opportunity with a biology research lab


someone please answer this lol

Haven’t you gotten lots of advice in your other threads that included your GPA?

@GnocchiB no, I asked a chance me and it barely got any responses. I just want to know how my ECs are without the test scores being the thing people focus on and get advice on how to improve them.

The problem with your approach is that the colleges to which you are applying will consider grades and scores among the other things they look for. You’d be better served working on your essays at this point. Nothing you can do on the EC front this late in the game is going to have any bearing whatsoever on your ED app to Penn.

Did you come up with some other topics for your CA essay? The true crime obsession option didn’t sound wise to me.

@GnocchiB Yeah, I definitely know that schools look for grades and scores. I have a 4.0 UW GPA, so I think that my grades are fine as of right now and this summer I am focusing on raising my ACT score to a 34+.

I took everyone’s comments into consideration and I don’t think I want to do the true crime essay anymore, but I may still write it along with other topics to see how it turns out. I have not come up with another topic yet, but I have a whole summer to think about it and write one, so I am going to be brainstorming and writing essays throughout the summer.