a month ago
Admissions Advice

CollegeVine says my extracurriculars are weak. Are they really?

Here's my EC list:

Section leader in competitive marching band

Math team

Scholastic bowl, captained some meets (our school has rotating team captains)

4H club, held various offices including president, vp, treasurer, committee chair. Participated in many community service activities in 4H

Filmmaking, 1st place at state fair for animated film plus other local prizes

Competitive deckbuilding games

National Honor Society

The 20-21 school year was really bad for EC's. We didn't have marching band or much else.

CollegeVine says this list is pretty weak. Is that right?

On the plus side, my academics are very good: 3.97 unweighted GPA, 1520 SAT, 6 AP classes finished and 5 this year (3 5 scores, 2 4's and 1 3) and 9 Honors classes. I'm mostly looking at Big 10 type schools.


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
a month ago

Your academics are excellent. You have excellent grades, test scores on both SAT and APs are impressive. Your course rigor seems very strong.

I'm not sure your ECs are weak but the way you describe them is weak. My tips-

-Talk more about your leadership roles when you apply - when you describe your ECs in the common app put down President, 4H Club and talk about your leadership and responsibilities, minimize your other supporting roles.

-Same goes for Scholastic Bowl. Put down Team-Captain, or Co-team captain and write how you won this or that match, etc.

-Same goes for marching band. Talk about your leadership as the section leader and how you motivate and inspire your peers to perform their best. Also, talk about your love for your instrument, etc. how you are still practicing it even though the formal performances are canceled.

-If your film is really good, then put a link to it in the Add'l Info section.

Skip the NHS and deckbuilding games and put something else in there like work experience, or internships, or tutoring. NHS has over a 1 million members, it's not really an honor these days. And totally bury the deckbuilding games, that's not an EC unless you started up a company and made a popular game and sold 100,000 copies. If you apply to a good school and they ask you what you do in your free time, mention it there like it's a stress reliever.

Your academics are much stronger than a Big Ten school cohort (sans NorthWestern, I'm not sure you have good odds at NW). If I were your HS counselor, I would strongly advise you to apply to other schools that are need-blind that have excellent financial aid if you need that.

In the Mid-West or Atlantic Coast, I think you should consider applying to:



-University of Notre Dame (early admission)

-Washington and Lee

-Davidson College


-University of Richmond


-Oberlin College



-Wake Forest

Many of them have great marching bands as well.

Good luck.

a month ago

Your EC resume strength varies depending on the college. If you are applying to Princeton, then you may need more ECs. If you are applying to a less competitive college, then you may have far more ECs than the rest of the applicants. The strength of your profile is determined by the other people also applying to the college in question, so its strength will change from school to school. I would trust CV when it comes to the chancing per college. You can do your own research and I highly recommend you do, but CV's chancing engine is very accurate, especially considering all of the varying factors. Good luck, hope this helps.


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