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11 months ago
Admissions Advice

Will few extracurriculars hurt my college application?

Hello! I am currently a junior (rising senior), and as I am beginning to prepare for college applications in the fall, I am also beginning to doubt myself. I believe that my grades and GPA make me eligible to apply to competitive schools, and based on my mock ACT and SAT scores, I believe my standardized test scores will as well.

The problem is, I don't have many impressive ECs. I come from a low-income family, and it was not until I was accepted into QuestBridge's College Prep Scholars program that I truly believed I had the potential to go to a top tier college. I will also be a first-generation college student. My family could not afford for me to play an instrument/sport or attend prestigious leadership and summer programs. As the oldest sibling, I had many responsibilities in the house helping care for my grandmother and younger brother. Freshman year through my first semester of Junior year I worked three part time jobs during the week and on the weekends to help contribute. Luckily, this year I've been able to take on a leadership positions in my school's two leadership programs: Student Council and Link Crew. I also tutor and enjoy doing some community service, but there isn't anything that I've been a part of for a long period of time. I am also continuing these two positions next year.

Will this hurt my applications to top colleges (like UPenn Nursing), or do they consider circumstances like mine? Thank you for the help!

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
11 months ago

If you are already a Questbridge scholar, I feel you are have already passed over a huge hurdle. First of all, QB only accepts 30% of applicants and their application is equally if not more detailed than the common app or coalition app. I think you should give yourself pause and focus on trying to be a finalist into the National Match program. Almost all College Prep Scholars get into the college Match program, I'm not sure what else you need to be a finalist. But about 37% of National Match applicants become finalists. Remember that about 17% get matched with 42 partner schools for a full ride and about 45% get admitted through regular decision so 62% get into a QB college. There is not much cost difference especially if you get into a college that meets 100% of need. So check up on which ones do. I think most of them do. Therefore keep doing what you are doing and you will have 62% of getting into a QB college partner school. Between now and Oct is only 4 months, so try to work on your essays and if you haven't taken a real SAT or ACT, take one of each and submit the higher score. That is a lot to work on this summer. I understand from your term "mock" you mean you took practice tests for both of them. The real test is a little different because you will be under more pressure and stress to perform, so I recommend you take a practice test once a week or once every two weeks until the test date. Each time you take a practice test it should resemble the same time of day on a Saturday at 8 AM. After you are done, study all the questions you got wrong and write them down in a notebook and do that for each practice test. Good luck with your admissions journey.

11 months ago[edited]


11 months ago

Hi! You actually seem to be in very good shape with extracurriculars. This is due to the fact that jobs and taking care of relatives count as extracurriculars! Additionally, expensive programs and projects do help, but you won’t be thought of less strongly if you can’t participate in them. Just make sure to explain your situation, and what you’ve learned/how you’ve grown from it. Also, leadership positions in clubs are great! And also remember, extracurriculars are important, but gpa and course rigor are just as if not more important. Every aspect of your application is considered.


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