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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Common App Activities Section: How to fill it out?

Hey! I'm in the process of applying to colleges on the Common App and I'm wondering how to make the best use of the activities section. What types of extracurriculars should I prioritize and how detailed should my descriptions be?

7 months ago

When filling out the activities section for the Common App, think about showcasing a balance between the depth (how committed and passionate you are about certain activities) and breadth (the variety of experiences that demonstrate your well-roundedness) of your extracurricular involvement.

First, prioritize activities where you've displayed significant dedication, achievements, or leadership. These could be Tier 1 or Tier 2 activities, such as being the Student Body President, earning a national award, or participating at a high level in sports or arts. Highlighting your most impressive extracurriculars will show the admissions committee your potential for future success and contribution to the campus community.

As for the breadth, try to include a diverse range of activities, highlighting different areas of interests and skills. This can range from volunteering, clubs, part-time jobs, or even personal hobbies. While it's great to have a "spike" or highly-developed specialty, showcasing different interests will give the admissions committee a holistic view of who you are.

When it comes to descriptions, remember that you have limited space (usually around 150 characters) to provide context and emphasize your achievements, responsibilities, or personal growth. Use concise and clear language to highlight your role and accomplishments within each activity. For example, if you were the captain of your school's soccer team, you could write: "Team captain (2 yrs). Organized practices, led fundraisers, and spearheaded a community soccer clinic for underprivileged children."

Remember to be authentic in your portrayal of your activities and only include those that truly mean something to you. And don't worry if your activities list isn't overflowing; admissions committees will value quality of involvement over quantity. Good luck with your application!

7 months ago

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