What is an ideal resume of extracurriculars and honors (and how can I improve)?

<p>Obviously, I realize that various positions of leadership that indicated dedicated involvement would be favored, preferably in activities that require a great amount of organization and work, etc. as would volunteer work, awards for one's work and involvement, scholarships, etc. </p>

<p>However, on this site, I've seen a number of otherwise very good students with several positions of leadership (student govt., debate), participation in many various clubs and sports, a decent amount of time spent volunteering, and a few awards and the general consensus seems to be that those extracurriculars will most likely hinder their chances of entering a more competitive school. Granted, I can understand that these extracurriculars are becoming increasingly typical and aren't quite stellar, but in browsing this site and also observing the level of activity of several extremely involved classmates, I haven't come across many examples that exceed this (and even then, those examples don't exceed by much), so I'd appreciate any guidance on how to improve and where in particular to focus my attention.</p>

<p>Also, as a junior currently about to begin a new semester, I'd like to know what would be best to focus on. During my first two years, my 8th period class actually consisted of 2 hour-long performance arts classes held Monday through Thursday that ended at about 4:30 p.m. (school ended at about 2:15), which prevented me from participating in the majority of heavier after-school extracurriculars (debate, etc), so it's extremely limited-
treasurer of Biology club; founder of COFAC, a club geared towards shipping school supplies for distribution by soldiers in Afghanistan (for what its worth, we shipped about 500 pounds of stuff surprisingly cheaply); limited involvement in Amnesty International and other before-school clubs.<br>
Volunteered for 4 weeks as a student aid at a children's summer school (about 80 hours), participated in a Youth Orchestra in the symphony orchestra (2nd most advances of 4 levels within the orchestra) both years, worked about 2 weeks in a lab at MBL (30-40 hours maybe, but then again half that time is spent waiting on the PCR experiments and feeding the lazier post-docs :) Recieved a Scholastic Arts Silver Key Award in 9th; entered French NHS.</p>

<p>My parents divorced recently and I'm now in a different school county and state sans RCA, so I'm involved in many more clubs (Student Council, Beta, Model UN, Science Olympiad, french, and some 5 others), and have done some tutoring. I've racked up some volunteering hours and joined the local youth orchestra, but don't really have any positions of leadership. Not only did I miss the first weeks or so of school, but often these positions are not open to new members or require recommendations from teachers whose classes I had yet to attend at the time. </p>

<p>I'm hoping to volunteer for a few weeks at a hospital during differents breaks and summer vacation, and possibly work again at MBL later in the summer. As for honors, I should be able to get into NHS easily as a senior now that I'm actually registered in the school's computer and I'm a county finalist for the Georgia Governor's Honors Program under French and feel I have a decent edge (I speak only somewhat fluently and my listening comprehension is spotty, but I can read pretty much any classic literature, write easily, and my speaking is improving). Then again, only 30 are selected statewide and nothing is certain, so I'm not holding my breath. For scholarships, I'm looking into certain various essay contests, etc, and should be able to make the cutoffs and criteria for at least becoming a finalist (PSAT: 224, SAT:2270 for the mean time; mom's pushing for a second take).</p>

<p>I feel I'm somewhat lacking in honors, etc, and was wondering if I should focus on finding scholarships, etc, or if it would be better to focus on pursuing more involved roles in school. Anyways, help?</p>

<p>P.S. didn't mean to ramble on about my own stuff for so long. If anyone has their own questions of course they can ask here.</p>

<p>ETA: Thought I should clarify that I do understand the necessity of excelling in certain areas to a deeper extent in order to demonstrate commitment, etc, as opposed to only hollowly rattling off EC's. I'm hoping though to rely on my strengths in visual and performance art or language or possiblyy even interest in foreign language and culture to do so through my essays/personal statements. My questions in this thread pertain strictly to bolstering the other aspect of the app, the overview of EC's + awards, what it worth pursuing and including, what wouldn't reflect especially well.</p>

<p>Sigh. Here we go again because your question has been asked repeatedly by other students, and it alwyas gets the same answer, which I doubt that those students or you will believe.</p>

<p>The most impressive ECs are the ones that students follow because of their own strong interests. These are things that the students would happily do regardless of whether colleges cared. The students pursue these things with passion, creativity and leadership -- because the students really care about them.</p>

<p>Any EC could fit the bill for this. Because colleges like HPY have such an overabundance of excellent applicants that a main admissions factor is selecting students who'll create a well rounded class, if one happens to be passionate about a rare EC, that would give you the best boost.</p>

<p>It's far better, though, to pursue passionately and creatively a common EC that you deeply care about than to force yourself to do a rare EC that you don't care much for.</p>

<p>Now that I've answered your question (for the record, I'm a Harvard alum interviewer), please don't come back and ask, "But really -- which one from my list should I pursue?" If you can't figure out what your own interests are, than I can't help you.</p>

<p>As for awards and honors, if you passionately pursue an EC that you care about, there's a chance that you'll get awards and honors related to it. However, all ECs don't have awards/honors connected with them, so a lack of awards/honors will not hurt you if your ECs are exceptionally strong.</p>

<p>Northstarmom, would being half hispanic with a 2250 SAT be a hook for top schools like Wharton, Stern, and UMich? Thanks.</p>

<p>Being half Hispanic is not a "hook."
Your stats are high for a Hispanic (though I'd also like to see the breakdown of your SAT. Many colleges are not considering the writing part of the SAT at all. The breakdown always is important because, for instance, if you have a sky high math, horrible verbal, that will keep lots of schools from accepting you even if your overall score is high). </p>

<p>What also matters is what kind of Hispanic you are. Applicants who are Mexican American or Puerto Rican are the most desireable because the majority if Hispanics in this country are of those backgrounds, yet Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have much lower board scores and a much lower h.s. completion rate than do other Hispanics.</p>

<p>KillerAngel, you also should start your own thread and not hijack someone else's.</p>

<p>Sorry, I didnt mean to hijack. My sat scores are 750 for each section. And yes, I am hald Puerto Rican. I may make a poor gpa, but I hope my good test scores and ECs can help me out.</p>

<p>@Northstarmom‌ I really want to go to a competitive college, preferably Harvard, Does the fact that I’m a Somalian female, with straight A’s, in AP classes since sophomore year, involved in student government, play two varsity sports, and volunteer at the local hospital and food pantry, increase my chances of getting accepted. </p>

<p>@imeager: Welcome to CC but please note when threads were posted. In 2006, you were still in elementary school. You’re basically asking “Chance me for Harvard” Either go to the Chances forum or the Harvard forum.</p>

<p>What @T26E4‌ said. Closing thread.</p>