2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I include this in my college applications (majoring in fashion design)?

Hello! I actually have a few questions rolled into one, but you can choose to address different parts if you'd prefer not to answer everything. For a bit of background, I am applying to some different schools (RISD, Syracuse, University of Cincinnati, Virginia Commonwealth...) with fashion design as my major since that's what I am interested in pursuing as a career. I have a few things I am considering adding into some sort of extracurricular category on my applications if I find a good location to do so, but I'm not sure whether they would be good to include or not. Firstly, I am actively a part of an art critique Discord community, and I feel like this could be counted for something? I was thinking of saying something like "I am actively a part of an online art community where we assist each other in developing our art skills. By receiving critiques for our artwork, providing critiques to other members, and encouraging and motivating each other, we continue to improve together and learn more about art. The group consists of a variety of members with varying skillsets, from beginners to professional artists." (All of this is entirely true information). I know that the idea of an "art discord" sounds like a bit of a weak addition to an application, but I feel like it could potentially be meaningful if phrased correctly? Let me know what you think please.

I also competed in a fashion styling contest on a website called "Polyvore" many years ago, and I ended up winning second place out of thousands of entries. I even won a physical prize from it, which was mailed to my house after I provided my information and all that. The website has since been shut down as it was bought out by another company that chose to rebrand it entirely, so I'm not even sure if there's a good way for me to mention this achievement and have it seem legitimate. I also don't know if it would be a good inclusion simply because it was so long ago (I think I was maybe 13-ish at the time?) but maybe it could also help prove that my interest in fashion has been lifelong. Another reason I'm worried about including this is because I feel like the achievement itself might not be worthy enough to be included. It really wasn't a time intensive or effort intensive contest as the goal was just to coordinate an outfit to match a given theme. However, I still do have some hope that this could be helpful to my application. Any opinions on this?

Thank you guys in advance

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi thank you for asking your question! When applying to selective schools (think the US Top 40 schools) you want to keep in mind a few factors that make the activities you have impressive, including: 1) the uniqueness of the activity (how rare is it for other students to do the same thing that you are); 2) the level of accomplishment (how many awards or recognition have you achieved); and 3) the time commitment of the activity (how many hrs/wk and wks/yr have you done the activity).

That being said, specifically in your case, I feel like you have carved out really unique activities that are relevant to your major of interest! And that is what colleges are looking for. You want to prove to colleges that you have fundamental experiences that you can continue to build on in college and in your eventual career in fashion design. Keep up this great work. More specifically, it may be worth talking about quantifiable metrics in your application (# of viewers to your website, number of livestreams on your discord, competitiveness of the awards you win, etc.) -- to game-ify things, the higher these number the better.

To better understand the impressiveness of extracurriculars and how they are ranked by admissions officers, check out this blog post from our website

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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