2 years ago
Admissions Advice

High School Electives in College Admissions

Hello there! I'm a high school sophomore interested in going into the sciences as a career (currently I'm thinking of neuroscience), and I was wondering if an unrelated elective would have an effect on college admissions. You see, I've been taking two electives since freshmen year (leadership and culinary) and both of them will become full-year electives so I need to pick one to continue. If I go into student leadership I have a chance for 'student government' to appear on my transcript, and I'd be helping to run the majority of school events. Though I'm already in a leadership position at school as I'm president of a community service club I founded. However, it seems that colleges would prefer me to go into leadership as it aligns better with my future goals. On the other hand, with culinary I would receive real-life experience in a hobby I enjoy (school catering + mentoring with a professional chef), as well as gain paid work experience, eligibility for scholarships, and college credit. They both seem like good opportunities, but I can't decide between them.

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]


As strange as this may seem, positions in student government (like being class president) actually don't look as good on your college application as you would expect them to. Since you also already have leadership opportunities, it wouldn't help you too much.

Also, if you genuinely enjoy culinary arts, continue with it! Colleges can see right through applications when students are doing activities for the sole purpose of getting into a college. As well as this, we have no idea what colleges are really looking for. Colleges have many programs that are funded by private parties and, lets say the art department has some incredible funding but last year the number of individuals in that program dropped... the college would be more inclined to admit an artist instead of another programmer (or the opposite!). Think about it: why would a college put less individuals into the most funded program? it wouldn't make any sense.

The best way to get into a college is to do something you love and do it well. While you might look at a school like Harvard and think you need to have an internship at Amazon, you'd be completely missing out on activities you do enjoy (your high school career won't feel as fulfilling).

Take a look at these two profiles:

1) Luis has been a member in DECA for two years, has won some MUN awards and is the VP of his school's MUN chapter, has played the violin for five years, and is the president of his school's debate club. (absolutely nothing wrong with these activities!! I just feel like these are what we think of as "good" extracurriculars)

2) Anna has started her own small business making yarn stuffed animals and donates the profits to endangered species foundations, started a climate change awareness section in her school's newspaper, and even co-founded her school's Knitting Club.

While both of these profiles are incredible, which seems more interesting? If you were an admissions officer, which one would you be more likely to remember? While Luis has done business-related activities, is a president of debate club, and plays piano, Anna has done less common extracurriculars that reflect her values and personality and has shown her true initiative.

What I'm trying to say is that, if you enjoy a hobby, go for it (even if you believe it won't "look good" on a college application). Who knows! If you are really passionate about culinary arts, maybe you can write your personal statement when applications roll around?

I hope this helped! Good luck :)

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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