6 months ago
Admissions Advice

ECs international applicants

This question is haunting me since deciding to apply for US colleges/universities. Does ECs play the same role for international applicants admissions as domestic applicants? since students from many countries don't get as many opportunities compared to US students.

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago[edited]

Big answer: NO.

Admission officers are aware of the fact that an international student's EC could be less in amount or less competitive given that there really are countries that have schools where extracurricular activities are scarce. Therefore, you won't be penalized for it. However, there are tens of thousands of international students out there who were able to look for and do pretty competitive ECS, and standing out is the catch.

Two pieces of advice I could give:

1. You can't find an extracurricular activity? THEN START ONE; CREATE YOUR OWN. This is the so-called passion project, and this will help you stand-out.

2. If creating passion project would be difficult for you resources-wise, then so be it. The best thing to do if you know that you have poor ECs is focus on other parts of your application (because again, it's a holistic admission). Try getting higher grades, or do well in SAT/ACT (if you will take), get letters of recommendation from teachers that know you well, and lastly...create an impactful essay.

However, all in all, it's best to have a 'total package' application; if yours isn't, it isn't the end of the world yet. So, good luck!


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