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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Deciphering Common App Activity Section: Characters Count?

Quick question about the Common App, guys. How many characters do we get for detailing our activities? I want to make sure I can effectively showcase what I’ve been involved in without getting cut off mid-sentence. Anyone who’s recently completed their apps, some insight into this would be super helpful!

7 months ago

Happy to help! In the activities section of the Common App, you are allowed 150 characters for the position/leadership title and organization name, and an additional 150 characters for the activity description. That's a small space, so it's important to be concise and to the point. Use vivid action verbs to describe your responsibilities and achievements, and feel free to use abbreviations if necessary—just make sure they're commonly understood ones.

For example, if you were the president of the student body, you might describe it as, 'Led student council and organized community service events, increasing school-wide participation by 20%.' This packs in your leadership role, action, and impact in a crisp, clear format. And don't worry about complete sentences; in this section, colleges want information, not poetry.

Finally, I'd strongly encourage you to draft your activities descriptions well in advance of your first application deadline, to ensure you're using the limited space given to you as productively as possible. If you have to scramble at the last minute, your descriptions may not end up making much sense, so take the time earlier on to polish them to prevent that happening.

Good luck with your applications!

7 months ago

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