4 years ago
Admissions Advice

What can I do to strengthen my application?

I'm a sophomore wondering what I can do to make myself a stronger applicant (especially during quarantine)! I have a 3.85 UW & 4.26 W GPA and will have taken 9-10 APs by senior year. I've been playing violin for 7 years, been going to a Japanese Saturday school since kindergarten and plan on graduating from (also in STUCO there) and I'm in my school's Beta club and running for an officer position. I also love theatre; I started taking classes this January, and auditioned for a community theatre the other day. I applied to be a youth commissioner for my county and do a summer program with them, but I'm worried it might get cancelled.. I'll have to see.

Things I've been meaning to do while stuck at home: taking classes on edX (are these any good? The social science courses look fun), starting a website/social media page for my parents' restaurant (I help around there a lot, does it count as an EC if I'm working for my parents?), and maybe start a blog.

I'm interested in poly sci/international relations but not quite sure. I'm inclined to and good at humanities/social science subjects. Some things I'm interested in: politics, environment, theatre, international affairs and such, stuff about my own and other cultures, want to get involved in activism... not sure what I'm going at but that's the gist for now. Is it ok to not know exactly what direction I want to go in? I know my activities need relate to my future major, and I get worried when I see peers knowing exactly what they want to do and doing everything that relates to their passions. I have a whole list of clubs I want to join next year, but I don't want to waste my time currently at home. Also would love to have a plan for when school starts back up!


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1 answer

4 years ago

Honestly, it seems like you're already in a really strong spot depending on the schools you're hoping to get into. You have a good GPA right now so definitely keep that up. I'm not sure how many APs your school offers but taking 9-10 is a good idea as long as you can handle the work, especially if you can also take some honors classes too to show you're challenging yourself at all levels. You didn't mention anything about test scores but that's probably because you haven't taken the SAT/ACT yet. Do your best to score highly on that.

In terms if ECs, it sounds like you have some good ones already and are planning to add even more. Colleges like to see commitment so the longer and more involved you can be with each of your ECs the better. 7 years of violin is strong, especially if you have some awards or something with that, sounds like you're hoping for a leadership position in your club, and I hope you stay involved with theater! Whether you get parts acting or help out with the stage if you can grow your responsibilities with the theater group that will look good. I've never taken any edX classes but I'd imagine they're good! Depending on what classes you want I know a lot of Ivies have released free classes which you could look into. And helping your family does count as an EC.

To answer your question about if it's OK to not know exactly what direction you want to go in - of course that's OK! Most schools don't make you declare a major until end of sophomore year I heard. Plus, I know a lot of people think they know what they want to do and then change their minds after taking classes in other subjects. It sounds like you have a general sense of what you enjoy and are orienting your activities around those - that's all you'll need to do. Focus on what makes you happy now instead of trying to figure out what a college wants to see on your application. I promise you if you do that it will make applying to schools much easier because you're actually passionate about everything you're writing about instead of just doing it for the application.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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