11 days ago
Admissions Advice

EC help

I'm really struggling with ECs right now. I have band listed because I spend a lot of time participating and I've had leadership positions. I also have that I self study Korean and one of my work experiences. I'm not sure what else to add :,(

I live in a very small town so there's very little if not no volunteering opportunities. Would having a blog be good? I started one a month ago and I've neglected it a little because of life but I did intend to start it back up! I'm also learning Chinese, should I add that too? Or just put the Korean self study? Any advice would be a huge help:)


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2 answers

11 days ago

Hi, just because there are 10 open slots doesn't mean you have to fill 10. Some applicants have 20 and have to cut 10 out and others have 5 or 6. There is no correct number. If you are really good at something like running and you are the number #1 middle-distance runner, in the State and you sing in the choir, that might be good enough to get recruited by Stanford or Syracuse or NAU on a full athletic scholarship.

Be strategic and creative about how you use those available slots. An EC can be a singular thing like playing the Violin 🎻 or it can be a multiple thing like delving into your love of musical instruments where you cite that you can play the Violin 🎻 , Piano, French Horn, and Bass Guitar. Similarly, you can use up a slot to say you self study Korean or you can use a slot to express your love of languages and cite that you are learning Korean, Chinese and whatever other language you are pursuing.

I often read from high school juniors or seniors that there are no volunteering opportunities because they live in a small town. This makes no sense. Is everyone in a small town independently wealthy and mobile and without any need for assistance? Now if you live on Park Avenue in Manhattan in a Penthouse and attend a private day school, I can see where you can use your zip code as an excuse because everyone is a millionaire. But even those kids, make an effort to travel to volunteer at a homeless shelter or deliver meals or fundraise. If you live in a town where there are elderly or poor people, they all can use some support whether it is having someone to talk to, meal support or helping them with their shopping, or taking them to the health clinic. This is the most overused excuse and if I can see through it, then all the admissions officers will be able to as well. Yes, it's a completely missed opportunity to say you can not find a way to serve your community. Actually marginalized communities need more help than wealthier ones. And if you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do or invite you to apply to a program, then you have no idea of what volunteerism actually means.

11 days ago

Hi! My first thought is, are there any clubs in your school that you can join? Yearbook, student government, national honors society, etc.? If not, would you be able to start your own club within the school with administrative approval? It might be more work than you're looking for, but it would be a good start.

Secondly, I know you said there really aren't volunteer opportunities around you, but I bet if you were to ask around you would find some! Look for businesses around you that aren't major chains (like Walmart, McDonald's, etc.) more like mom-and-pop shops. Go in and ask to speak to a manager or the owner, and explain your situation. Explain how you would like to volunteer X amount of hours for school and college applications. I know you mentioned having a job. If this was past tense, then maybe making a connection at this new place would be a good lead-in to a job after volunteering there! Along with this, what about volunteering somewhere that is always accepting, like an animal shelter or a hospital? I personally volunteer with a youth sports group, so ask around your community to find out about opportunities like that as well if you're interested!

Lastly, as for your ECs, I would definitely add the Korean study. If you end up not being able to find another opportunity, add the Chinese in there as well. While it is a bit redundant, it is better than having one less EC! The same advice for your blog. Do you plan to be an English/writing major? If you don't, unless your blog itself is about your major (for example, a business blog, and you want to major in business), then I'm afraid it might not pull as much weight as you are hoping it will. But again, it is better than leaving that section with less or blank all together.

I hope that this helps you, good luck!! :)


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