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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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What’s the deal with ranking activities on the Common App?

Hello! I'm a bit confused about how to rank my activities in the Common App. Do I rank them by the time spent, my level of interest, or impact? What’s the general consensus on which approach is best to present my extracurriculars to colleges? Would love some guidance here, as I'm feeling slightly stressed wanting to make the best impression.

7 months ago

The ranking of your activities on the Common App should reflect their importance to you, which often correlates with the impact they've had on your growth and how much you've contributed. Colleges are interested in seeing where your passions lie, as well as your leadership and commitment levels.

Generally, if one activity has clearly meant more to you and you've achieved significant recognition or made a substantial impact through it, that should go first. For instance, if you’re the captain of a sports team (a Tier 3 activity) and spend a lot of time in that role, but you also run a non-profit organization (a Tier 1 or 2 activity) that takes up less time but has a wider impact, the non-profit might be worth ranking higher because of its rarity and impact.

For more on the 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities, check out this CollegeVine article: https://blog.collegevine.com/breaking-down-the-4-tiers-of-extracurricular-activities/

When ranking your activities, evaluate what you’re most proud of and what best represents your identity and goals. There's no one-size-fits-all answer, but reflecting on the significance of each activity to your personal and academic development should guide you in ranking them effectively. Don't forget to keep an eye on those personalized details that highlight your unique role within each extracurricular.

7 months ago

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