2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Are my extracurricular activities substantial for elite schools?

Hello everyone,

I am currently a junior in high school and am nose-deep in the college process. I will be applying to a few schools that are highly prestigious (Cornell, Yale, and Johns Hopkins) and am doubtful that my extracurricular resume is up to par with their expectations, especially considering most of my activities are independent (not offered by my school). Is there anyone that can share some insight?


- Neuroscience and neuropharmacology: I spend a significant portion of my time studying textbooks and research articles, primarily the Neurochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology and the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. I have extensive notes on all of my studies.

- EdX courses: The Foundation of Neuroscience (The Brain) (Harvard EdX), and will be taking Cell Biology: Transport and Signaling (MIT EdX).

Herbal/Alternative Medicine:

- Study of Herbal Medicine: I am currently taking a 2.5 year, 1000+ hour course at Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine (began mid-freshman year) and will receive my certificate of completion by November 31, 2022

- Etsy shop (2 years): Focus on herbal medicine and currently over $1000 in sales

- Practice yoga independently since the beginning of high school.

Dog Rescue Volunteering:

- Volunteered at Recycled Paws Rescue (~3 years): 7th-10th grade; Lead Volunteer, volunteered every Saturday for adoption events, responsible for guiding younger volunteers, answering questions, processing applications, writing for social media; independently fostered 8 dogs.

- Volunteered at A Good Dog Rescue (~2 years): 10th-12th grade; currently process applications, assist in the management of all social media platforms, manage Sunday adoption events (facilitating meet and greets, processing applications, going over contracts, etc.).

- Dog Rescue Club: President/Founder of interest/volunteer club mid-junior year for dog rescue. I have been planning this club for a few months and just had the first interest meeting with a total of at least 20 members thus far. I am planning to train ambitious volunteers, educate, and throw plenty of drives, fundraisers, and events!


- Exam Room Technician at Veterinary Hospital: Began interning late sophomore year and was offered a position. I work every Saturday assisting in procedures/surgeries, fulfilling prescriptions, taking patient history, following up on patients, etc.

Some activities I have not yet accomplished but am planning to in the near future:

- Will be a member of NHS and NSHS Senior year (will apply for officer positions)

- I am currently in the process of finding an internship in a laboratory to perform research. It is extremely difficult, but finding one is my primary goal. If I cannot find one by summer, I will most likely attend a summer program at the Burke Neurological Institute (but the search won't be over!)

- Completing therapy dog training (6 weeks) and beginning to visit pediatric hospitals, senior citizen centers, and libraries.

I am drowning in worry that my current activities don't hold enough weight for a prestigious school, especially if I can't find a lab to conduct research this summer. Does anyone have recommendations for what else I can accomplish before application season? Thank you all!

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1 answer

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Your current extracurriculars are likely on par with or exceed the average applicant at the elite schools you listed. Don't worry about the fact that many of these extracurriculars are independent if anything this will simply show your passion for the subject in that you participate in it even outside of established clubs and groups. In all reality, though for many of these higher tier colleges once you get to a certain level (which based on these activities you are) it comes down mostly to luck. I hope this was helpful and good luck with your admission process. :)

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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