3 months ago
Admissions Advice

How are 'Single Use' and 'Branch' ECs evaulated?

So I have 4 'core' extra circulars but then each of them has on average 1 activity that is a subset/branch of that core.

For example I'm a board member with Group X (core). As a board member, I do what I call single-use ECs which are annual or brief 1 week EC like a food drive.

How would the branch activities be evaluated would it be good as it builds my spike or bad as it is 'double dipping' for lack of a better term? Also would one-off/single-use ECs have the same weight as a repeatable event assuming equal impressiveness at first look?

An example would be I placed at state in a year-long event versus I helped plan and run an ultra-large food drive for a specific event (such as a hurricane)?

Hope that makes sense if need be ask me for clarififcation.

@lij12073 months ago

That is considered double dipping but it depends what you put in your common app. In the ECs section, if you put, board of this group and then in the description, you talk about what you did that was notable, thats fine. Don't state your group in 1 EC and then each sub EC as another EC because not only will that take up space from your 10 main EC's but unless you cured world hunger or actually reached all 1 million people in your city it isn't worth taking up that space. Hopefully I helped!

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2 answers

3 months ago

Doing branch activities from a core activity can help show colleges that you are actively participating in the core activity. These branch activities separate you from those who just show up for the group meetings, so I definitely do not consider it "double dipping".

It all depends on the one-off EC. If it was something such as a competition, famous event you were featured in or an event you planned. Those can look more impressive than someone who just volunteered at a local food drive for a day once. It's more about the quality of the EC.

And for reoccurring ECs it depends as well. Just showing up to a club meeting for 3 years is not that impressive as someone who is actively participating in the club and has a leadership position. It's more than just commitment, of course universities like to see commitment, but it is useless if you do not engage with the EC over the period of time.

In general, universities want to see you actively engaged in your extracurriculars (they should be something you are passionate in). It doesn't matter if you did something once, or 50 times. Both of your examples are equally impressive, so I would worry less about the length of the EC and more of the quality and benefit of it.

Hope this helps! :)

3 months ago

Hi, thank you for asking this question! First, I will say that extracurriculars (ECs) are evaluated based on impressiveness and cohesion to a specific theme (for more selective schools) not necessarily quantity. The impressiveness comes from the 1) Accomplishments (leadership, awards, impact) 2) Uniqueness of the activity (how difficult/rare is it for standard high school students to do what you are doing) and 3) Time commitment (hrs/wk, wks/year).

Typically a branch activity does not meet these requirements to make an impressive EC. BUT, if it does, then I would consider making the branch EC into one of your main ECs.

If the branch of one of your core ECs is minor such as a one-off food drive then I would consider bundling it with the core EC in the Common Application description. For example, being a President of the National Honors Society and holding a weekly volunteering event can be bundled together. If you have a collection of one-off volunteering events (say more than 4) that aren't really connected to a club, you could even create a new EC that talks about all of the volunteering that you have done.

In the example that you provided, the year long activity that you helped plan (with other people for a less important cause?) may be less impressive than the food drive that you planned alone for a more important cause. In this case, the food drive could be a stand alone event if it had such a huge impact. However, if the impact was limited and it wasn't a self-led initiative than it may be a smaller activity -- which if you have space in your ECs may still be worth including.

I hope this helps!


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