What do your ECs say about you?

<p>I often see questions about extracurricular activities on this board, typically "Is this list of ECs enough to get me into a good school?" so I thought I'd take a stab at organizing some types of EC resumes. Many of these categories are fluent and students may fall into more than one at once.</p>

<p>This is MY opinion, and as I don't sit on a prep school admissions committee it should be taken as what it is...MY opinion :-)</p>

<p>Please feel free to critique, comment or add to the following. N.B., I wrote this assuming an applicant to 9th grade. </p>

<p>So...what do your ECs say about you? </p>

<p>I HAVE TALENT, Otherwise known as the "hook"
You play first chair in the state youth symphony, were named all-state in your sport or are a member of a professional theater group (or are similarly accomplished). </p>

<p>Recommendations will say things like "will play in the NBA one day" and "most talented I've come across in my 10 years of teaching".</p>

<p>Typical resume:
Club ice hockey - 5 years
All-state hockey club - 2 years
Captain of league champion hockey team
Soccer, lacrosse - 2 years
French club - 2 years
Columnist for the school paper - 1 year</p>

<p>Likely result:
Let's face it. Most applicants don't have this kind of talent. If you do, and it's an area the school is looking for, great! If your academics are in the admissible range you'll have schools fighting over you. For us common folk, let's move on...</p>

<p>I'M A LEADER
You tend to rise to the top.</p>

<p>Recommendations will mention your maturity, competence, and of course, your leadership abilities.</p>

<p>Typical resume:
School government - 3 years, President of the 8th grade class.
Started a school branch of Amnesty International which now has 40 members
Debate club - 2 years
Started your own dog-walking business which now has 10 clients
Art club - 2 years
Peer mentor
Superintendent's Award</p>

<p>Likely result:
Leadership is a great quality, one valued by top schools.</p>

<p>I HAVE PASSION
You have a history of deep involvement and perhaps even genuine talent, it's just not in an area that will benefit the school directly. You're an amazing dancer, a champion yo-yoer or you spend each summer living off the land.</p>

<p>Recommendations will speak to your talent, your drive and your commitment. They may be from unusual sources such as the owner of the local knitting shop or Cambodian Culture association.</p>

<p>Typical resume:
Baking since the age of 5.
Wrote a cookbook, currently trying to get it published
Provide baked goods to the local homeless shelter each week
Created a new cookie, now being sold at Annie's Bakery
Betty Crocker Junior Chef Award
JV lacrosse - 2 years
School chorus - 3 years
Library volunteer - 1 year</p>

<p>You may not have a skill the school needs, but your passion speaks well of you. If you can get this fired up about baking you'll probably find other passions at school, and who knows?, perhaps you'll be the next Mrs. Fields! Just make sure not to come off as unidimensional or worse, obsessed, in your interview. Speak with conviction about your interest then go on to what you'd like to be involved with at your next school.</p>

<p>I'M INVOLVED (a close cousin to I Have Passion)
You have a history of deep involvement in activities but are not especially accomplished. You were your middle school's starting catcher on a team with a 4-6 record. You'd be a good addition to the school's string ensemble, though you're no Itzhak Perlman. </p>

<p>Typical resume:
Soccer - 6 years, 2 at the club level
Softball - 3 years
1 day a month at the local animal shelter - 3 years
Violin - 4 years
School play - 3 years
Youth theater group - 2 years
School Spirit Award</p>

<p>Don't worry too much. You may not be recruiting quality but schools still need backup catchers and 2nd chair violinists. The fact that you've been involved in the past signals schools you'd be an active part of the school community. If you have a passion hiding in your long resume you should highlight it.</p>

<p>I'M BUILDING A RESUME
and its twin sister
MY MOM MADE ME DO IT</p>

<p>Most of your activities date from the spring of last year with the exception of the EC you "rediscovered" a passion for after a two year gap. When asked your motivation for starting your new club you mumble something about "giving back". </p>

<p>Typical resume:
JV soccer, basketball and lacrosse - 1 year
3 week community service trip to Costa Rica
2 week summer internship at law office of a family friend
Bassoon 3-5th grades, 8th grade
Founder, environmental club-8th grade</p>

<p>Recommendation:
No one really seems to remember you. No one mentions the club of which you're president because, after all, there are only 3 members and you only met 4 times.</p>

<p>Likely result:
Although you have a lot of activities on your list none of them are particularly impressive.
If your resume is shallow because of extenuating circumstances such as a family illness or limited school offerings let the school know but don't whine. Admissions officers will expect you to have been proactive in following your interests.</p>

<p>I COULDN'T CARE LESS
Speaks for itself.</p>

<p>JV soccer - 6th grade
guitar lessons - 7th grade
6 hours of community service done as part of a class trip.</p>

<p>You won't have any EC recs. because you weren't in any long enough for anyone to get to know you.</p>

<p>Likely result:
Why should the school care about your ECs if you obviously don't? If you can get in on the strength of your academics alone, good for you. Your ECs won't help, but hopefully you won't need them.</p>

<p>I'M A LIAR
Your resume is fabricated.</p>

<p>Typical resume:
Advanced Open Water scuba diver
Food Bank volunteer - 200 hours
District Robotics Competition - first place winner
Clarinet - 7 years</p>

<p>Recommendations:
Don't mention the supposedly high-level ECs at all
or
Curiously contain the same misspelling of "Tchaikovsy" contained in your application</p>

<p>Likely result:
Unfortunately the admissions officer loves scuba and he smells a rat when you can't tell him the difference between a first and second stage. The head of the food bank has never heard of you, and the applicant from two towns over really DID win the district robotics competition.</p>

<p>Bottom line: You're in trouble...</p>

<p>I disagree very much with this. The majority of applicants fall in "I'm building a resume". There are VERY few of the others. After all, these kids are 13 and 14 years old- they're not necassarily going to be this involved in anything! I mean seriously, I don't know a single person in my ninth grade class right now that has this many ECs at this level.</p>

<p>I got into 4 schools, and my ECs were the following:
11 years of dance (3 years competition)
3 years cross country and track
1 year Junior Civitans
1 year book club</p>

<p>That was it.</p>

<p>You are absolutely free to disagree, but...</p>

<p>The point of "I'm building a resume" was that the applicant has absolutely no depth to their ECs. They're the kind of kid who picks up activities at the last moment in hopes of boosting their applications. You had 11 years of dance which I would call a pretty serious commitment. 3 years of cross country and track also shows some real depth.</p>

<p>I know a few "building a resume" families. After being uninvolved throughout elementary and middle school they are all of a sudden getting involved in everything in sight-for 6 months. The kids I know who are ready for the challenges of a rigorous school are doing more than simply attending school and have been for some time. They're involved in some way-through sports, the arts, community service, or some combination. There are some kids so immersed in their academics that they haven't had the bandwidth for standard extracurriculars but even those usually have an academic interest or passion that goes beyond the norm. </p>

<p>But in the end perhaps there should be another category,
"I Like to Be Involved, But Heck I Gotta Study Too"
Take "I'm Involved" and pare it down by half. :-)</p>

<p>ECs are what represents, or symbolizes, you. Extremely important!</p>

<p>Haha, this is super duper cool!
I would suggest another category of EC's - I'M AN INTELLECTUAL.
This type of student would have many years of math and/or science competitions, honor roll, fabulous teacher recs, high test scores, afterschool academic programs/summer school, etc.
I like this one a lot!
I'm also a little bit of MY MOM MADE ME DO IT and I AM A LEADER!</p>

<p>MY RESUME AT AGE 13
Lacrosse- 3 years (not continuing)
Field Hockey- 2 years (continuing)
Riding- 4 years (demoted to summer activity)
Theater- 3 years (most definitely continuing)
Bass Clarinet-3 years (taking a year off)</p>

<p>I spend my nights reading and listening to music (punk, rock, indie, basically everything except Nickelback. I hate Nickelback.) with a cup of tea. I enjoy reading the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Harry Potter, among others. My friends are important to me, so my weekends are spent gallivanting around town with them/ watching an immature comedy. We have tons of fun together. Every summer, I spend two weeks at a camp in Northern NJ, doing ranch work and perfecting the fine art of Western and rodeo riding (this is where they get really interested) and come home with a thick layer of dirt and lungs full of fresh air. I love it. My amount of free time has allowed for a lot of self reflection and little to no stress, leading to fewer heart problems in the future, insuring I will (have more time to donate money to you) live a longer life.</p>

<p>Not gonna lie, my interviewer loved it. She said, "So many kids come in here and say they study for 5 hours a night and play 7 sports while balancing the school orchestra and student government. They never talk about hanging out and having fun."</p>

<p>Hi i did softball for 6 years, quit 6th grade and swam up until two summers ago and did violin for 2 years. When they ask for E.C. or hooks or whatever they're called could I put these down or not since their old and I haven't done them since then? I'm so confused! haha</p>

<p>I have a kind of weird question to ask. I've been passionate about swimming for the past ten years; I started learning when I was three and was competing by the age of 5. So that's basically my PASSION passion (you know, as well as studying and stuff. Gosh, that makes me sound so nerdy! But I'm not. I'm full of fun too.) But I don't live in the States, you know? So I can't really volunteer at the YMCA or do anything, really, because the number of community service projects that allows middle schoolers to participate in is REALLY limited, or they're WAY out in the city (I live in the suburbs.) So just this summer, I found this charity shop for me to work at, and by the time I do my application, most of the community service stuff is just going to read "for six months". It's not that I don't WANT to do it; it's just that I didn't get the opportunity to. Plus, my family is struggling a bit financially - we don't have the money to go on various trips to do community service either. So where do I fit in?</p>

<p>As long as you explain this on your application/in your interview, the admissions people will definitely understand.</p>

<p>I think I listed too many EC's for them to care about...advice: only list some and go into alot of detail...</p>

<p>I don't really know what I did but I got in! (well, actually I had a good amount of EC's... whatever defines "good")</p>