2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How impactful is a TEDxYouth speech on college apps?

I am a rising junior and entering the DP this August (2022) and this past academic year, I gave a TEDxYouth speech at my school as a sophomore. My talk was titled 'Our Untold Stories of COVID-19' and tackled the more obscured, overlooked but valuable lessons we have learned from the pandemic. If I were to add this to my college applications, how impactful/helpful would it be? Would it be a positive addition and aid my chances of acceptance in more competitive schools?

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @skye0820, thanks for asking this question.

TED events hosted by schools are becoming more and more popular like the annual Spring Musical. I know that we do one every year. I have a personal bias to these because as long as you are in high school, the selection process is not always based on merit or the quality of your topic but sometimes based on committee of peers who participated the year prior. Sometimes it's admin. who picks the list of speakers. Also, sometimes they TED events are limited just to students and faculty and streamed to parents as in the case of my former school. Other TED events I hear are used for fund raising and TED allows organizers to charge up to $100 per ticket for these events.

I wouldn't ranked this very high as an extracurricular, actually no higher than being a cast member in a one off play or musical. I don't consider this an award or honor but more of cast/participation event.

At my public HS, I was selected as the main graduation speaker, but I didn't mention that anywhere in my college applications, nor is that really part of my EC narrative or C.V. I think it was a nice things to do but public speaking for 10 or 15 minutes in front of 500 people helped me become more confident in my abilities just as much as my words of support and advice helped others.

You can mention this opportunity in the add'l information section of the common app. I don't think this is something that gives anyone a real boost at a highly competitive college but rather, if you are applying to such schools these days, it's expected that you have a portfolio of participating in such events just to looks as competitive as other peer applicants.

(Here's a real world college admissions dilemma. There are 27,000 high school valedictorians but only 15000 seats available at all 8 Ivy league colleges. Therefore only being a valedictorian at a top high school matters. Harvard rejects 75% of all Valedictorians by the way.)

Good luck.

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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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