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Hey, I'm applying to Williams right now, and it is among my top choices. I was wondering if you all might have any thoughts on whether my extracurricular involvement in the environment looks impressive or not. FYI, I'm in an online high school, so these activities are all outside of school. I have pretty good academic stats (see farther below) but definitely not as amazing as some folks who got in do.
ENVIRONMENTAL EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:
--Founded the Southeast Nature Society early this year, a nature-minded community organization with two chapters and membership in seven states. Acted as a resource for members’ outdoor-related questions, provide specialized trip recommendations based on interest and skill, wrote monthly newsletters, and led a few group hikes. Administrated two social media groups for nature lovers with over 12,000 members each: North Carolina Hiking & Waterfalls and North Georgia Hiking & Adventure. I founded the first group, later became an admin for the other.
--Created the Georgia Waterfalls Database as a project for the Society, featuring nearly 500 waterfall listings of every waterfall I know of in Georgia. Nothing of the likes of this database existed before in Georgia. The site saw approximately 8,000 visitors in the first 5 days following its inception in October 2018. The database was shared by the US Forest Service via social media as a resource for the hiking community.
--Wrote a 400-page hiking guidebook, “Georgia is Beautiful – 88 Lesser-Known Hikes”, also a Society project, hopefully to be published in Spring 2019 by a publisher upon completion of edits. Might be published before admission results but more likely in May-June.
--Due to my involvement with the environment, I was appointed as the only high school student on a local city-affiliated committee, the board for the organization "Keep Roswell Beautiful". Attend monthly board meetings about beautification projects for the city of Roswell, vote on resolutions. Assist with website updates.
--Founded HikingTheAppalachians.com, an informative website where I published trail reports for over 300 hikes throughout the Southern Appalachians with directions, maps, and photos. Ranging from 4,000 to 11,000 visitors per week. Many testimonials published on the site highlight the value and benefits of this resource for the hiking community. I consistently hike every Saturday year-round up to 18 miles a day and gather information from these hikes as material for the website.
There's a few other extracurriculars but not that significant. Took chess classes for 4 years, played chess online and in tournaments but no awards; Took Tai Chi (martial arts) classes for 2 years and reached orange belt; Took voice lessons and music appreciation lessons for three years, participated in recitals.
Commendation Letters from Lori Henry, the mayor of Roswell, and from Mark Williams, the Commissioner of GA Department of Natural Resources.
Three Georgia newspaper articles featured my work – two in Northside Neighbor and one in The Northeast Georgian.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards – Two Honorable Mentions in Writing and Photography (2018).
Freelance Writing – Wrote an article published in Dahlonega Magazine.
Photography – Nature photos featured on US Forest Service website, Western North Carolina Magazine, The Appalachian Voice, and Only in Your State.
• October 2018: 1.5-hour presentation, “Hidden Waterfalls and Lesser-Known Hikes in Georgia”, at the distinguished Chattahoochee Nature Center. Received a commendation letter from Carla Bell, the event organizer, who said the presentation was ‘well-received and sparked many questions’.
• November 2018: “Music and Nature Relationship” at the Music, Nature, and Us Event at European School of Music.
• October 2017: “Learning Through Hiking” at Unicoi State Park.
• July 2017: “Natural Treasures of North Georgia Mountains” at Unicoi State Park.
• May 2017: “The Art of Nature Photography and Hiking” at Blairsville Arts and Crafts Festival.
3.98 unweighted GPA, 4.25 weighted. 2 AP classes in junior year (AP Language & Composition, AP US History), 3 AP classes currently taking in senior year (AP Physics, AP Literature & Composition, and AP Microeconomics (1 semester)). Most other classes from 9th through 12th grade are Honors, except Spanish (took 3 years of reg. Spanish). Confident I will have either A+ or A in AP Physics and AP Literature for mid-year report.
1530 SAT (760 reading, 770 math). SAT Subject Tests trailing some unfortunately. Only 650 in Literature, 700 in Math 1. Should I even report these if Williams has them optional? AP tests also trailing a bit. Got a 4 on AP Language/Composition, 3 on AP US History (poor memorization was my demise, I figured I wouldn't report this one).
I plan to submit an art portfolio to Williams. I'm self-trained in photography, started learning in 2014. I think my nature photos are fairly distinguished for a high school student but can't say for sure.
So, I would love to hear what you all think as far as how all this extracurricular work looks, particularly in the realms of the environment, nature, and photography. To me, it certainly seems to overpower my academics (really wish I'd taken more AP's and more subject tests). Thanks!! I already know how hard it is to get into Williams and other high-ranked schools, so I'm definitely applying to some safeties, but Williams has so many things I love about it (location, undergraduate attention, housing, etc.) that it is possibly my top choice. I would probably aim for a major in Environmental Studies, but might do a double major with Neuroscience (that is another strong interest of mine).