back to Admissions Advice
07/02/2020 at 03:29AM
Admissions Advice

Will my chances of admission be hurt if my extracurriculars don’t match my intended major?

I’m a rising senior that is planning on applying to schools with an intended major in engineering, but my extracurriculars don’t really match up with that. My course load in high school has usually been much more STEM heavy, but I have many interests and consequently none of my out of school activities really connect to a future in the STEM field. In fact, the are quite focused in the arts, which can sometimes be seen as the opposite of STEM. Will this hurt my chances of admission into a college’s school of engineering? Should I explain why almost none of my extracurriculars are STEM related? And if so, where would be the best place on an application to do that?


Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

4 answers

Accepted Answer
07/02/2020 at 06:49PM

For selective schools yes it will hurt but if your ECs are superb but not major related such as President of a national club in let’s say English but you want to go into IT that is still very impressive and is more impactful than president of a school wide stem club. If both were school wife the STEM would be better. It has more to do with achievements/accolades.

holistic schools that are not competitive such as Minn TC Oklahoma St Oregon and VCU it wouldn’t hurt (If did its like a 3.98 gpa to 3.97) assuming your ECs are meaningful not a 30 minute talking session 1x a month. For example I want to major in STEM but I have competed nationally in debate that is still a great EC. Generally these types of schools are looking for EC accomplishment not major related accomplishment in admissions major related is just a boost

07/02/2020 at 08:15AM

It depends how you present yourself in your essays. I'm sure you are familiar with the 'spike', and to be honest it would be helpful to have at least two career oriented activities. Instead of presenting yourself as someone who is love with STEM but has no STEM ecs, (because that looks suspicious) maybe in your essays explain how you like exploring and understanding life through two widely different lenses and how that has affected your perspective and broadened your way of thinking. It would be good to tie this up by explaining something along the lines of engineering being your best form of understanding. However if you can get some ecs in STEM, please do so as soon as possible, rather be safe than sorry!

07/02/2020 at 01:41PM

Yes, this will hurt your application, BUT see if you can use those interests to turn them into a national-level achievement. See if over the summer you can get involved with an engineering organization, women (if you identify as one) in stem, a science camp, or something of the sorts. See if your arts-related interests can be combined with engineering in some sort of a personal project, maybe a podcast. Good luck

07/02/2020 at 12:08PM

I think that the more 'outstanding' ecs you have will highly improve your chances. Things related to your major are also good because it shows that you are dedicated and you actually enjoy and are passionate about your intended field. The better high school achievements, the more likely you are to become successful in the future, which makes colleges extremely likely to accept you. Here are two examples of actual, real profiles that got people into Harvard.

One: Interested in writing. She had great scores and stats, and she got published and won the Congressional Writing Award. Accepted to Harvard.

Two: Interested in pre-med. Great stats/scores, but little stem involvement. Outstanding courseload and had wonderful extracurriculars that showed leadership and passion. Little medical things, but her outstanding ec's got her into Harvard.


Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works