Will colleges accept certain efforts?Answered
I am a sophomore student to a very small high school that only provides 7 AP classes, 4 clubs, and no student government or debate team. My grades are fairly decent with all my classes being an average of A+ to A- and I am involved in the varsity soccer team and outdoor track (until the season was canceled because of the pandemic.) I have more things planned in the future like applying to 4 AP classes, college now classes, and starting a HOSA Club or debate team at my school; during junior year. There are also more in mind for senior year. However, I am worried that I fall very short, seeing all these videos and comments of people with outstanding achievements. I hope to get accepted to at least one Ivy League college. So my concern is will those colleges see my efforts and is there more I should try to do to get noticed by the admissions committee?
Colleges look at your strength of schedule based on what your high school offers so colleges will see that your school offers few AP classes and they will not penalize you for having less APs than other candidates. Colleges will also be able to see how many students attend your school and what ECs are offered so colleges will see that you attend a small high school. Starting HOSA is a great addition to your resume and HOSA is competitive so it's a great way to earn some awards. You'll also get a leadership position in your HOSA club since you started it and that looks very good as well. If HOSA relates to your intended major it looks VERY good. I think you have some strong ECs and as long as your grades and SAT are within range for the Ivies then I think it's worth applying and you have a good shot assuming you have good essays. If you want to stand out more I suggest doing some community service stuff preferably related to your major. Assuming your interested in the medical field (based on you mentioning HOSA), volunteering at a local hospital/clinic over the summer is a good boost to your resume. These positions usually aren't too hard to get and what's cool is some hospitals let you volunteer in the specific medical field you're interested in. Most of these programs might be cancelled this summer but do it summer after junior year. Another thing you could do is aim for varsity captain of one of your sports because that could be an additional leadership position for your resume. Contrary to popular belief you do not need to have some major outstanding accomplishment for the Ivies you just need to show that your challenging yourself. Lmk if you have any questions and I am happy to help.
Colleges will always weigh your schedule against your school's course offerings. Your ideas of starting a HOSA club or debate team are great, colleges love people who take initiative and if you can put "started a club" on your college application it looks really good. Try to start a club or get involved with something that relates to what you'd like to major in. Since you're involved in sports try to become a team captain (I only do swim team and cross country, I don't know if soccer or track have team captains but try for a leadership role) Stick with the AP classes offered and if you don't think that those offerings are enough you can do part time enrollment in a community college or if you want you can still sign up for an AP test even if your school doesn't offer the class. My school didn't offer any math classes beyond AP Calc AB. When I finished that I still wanted to continue to take a math class so bought the Princeton Review book for Calc BC, did a ton of Khan Academy, and signed up for the AP test. When testing time came around all I had to do was go to the school that was administrating the test. In the end, I got a 4. If you want to know more on how to take an AP test if your school doesn't offer AP courses just google "AP test (whatever subject) homeschool" and you'll be able to find how to sign up and study for an AP test without ever taking the class. Good luck!