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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Understanding Extracurriculars

Hey guys, I've been hearing a lot about extracurriculars lately, but I'm not entirely sure what they are. Can someone please explain what constitutes an extracurricular activity and why they're important in the college admissions process? Thanks!

7 months ago

Hi! Extracurricular activities are activities outside of your regular academic (classroom) work that you participate in during your free time. These may include clubs, sports teams, volunteering, internships, or personal projects. The main purpose of extracurricular activities is to showcase your interests, passions, and skills outside of academics.

Extracurriculars are important in the college admissions process because they help give admissions officers a fuller understanding of who you are as a person, and they provide insight into your character, values, and potential contributions to the college community. Colleges appreciate well-rounded individuals who demonstrate a healthy balance of academic and personal pursuits, but they also seek students with a clear "spike" or specialty in a particular field.

To effectively showcase your extracurricular involvement, focus on quality over quantity. Become highly involved in a few activities that genuinely interest you and showcase your unique skills or passions. By doing so, you will have a better chance of leaving a lasting impression on the admissions officers.

In general, colleges judge extracurricular activities using the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars:

1. Tier 1 - Rare activities showcasing exceptional achievement or leadership at the national or international level (e.g., winning a prestigious award, being a top athlete or musician in your field).

2. Tier 2 - Activities showcasing high levels of achievement and leadership, slightly more common than Tier 1 (e.g., being a student body president, playing in a state orchestra or being a top athlete in your state).

3. Tier 3 - Activities that reflect your interests but lack the distinction of Tier 1 and 2, such as holding a leadership role in a club or being a captain of a sports team.

4. Tier 4 - Most common activities seen by admissions committees, including general club/sports/musical membership and volunteering.

For more information read here: https://blog.collegevine.com/breaking-down-the-4-tiers-of-extracurricular-activities/

When applying to college, aim for a combination of these tiers, with a focus on Tiers 1 and 2 to help you stand out from the competition. Good luck in finding your passions and building a strong extracurricular profile!

7 months ago

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