4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Help Ordering Activities for Coalition Application?

I'm having trouble ordering my ECs for Coalition Application because my "most impressive" ECs aren't necessarily tied to my major (engineering). It says to put your two most important ones first, but doesn't necessarily say to put them in order of importance? In my doc where I'm writing them out I have my STEM activities from most to least impressive, then my other ECs from most to least impressive. Is organizing them by topic like this a good idea, or should I prioritize them by how I ranked in them, similar to Collegevine's "tier" system? Any help would be appreciated as to how you would order these, I've listed them down below.




Activity/Experience Name: Project Boom (PB)

Description: PB is a student-led engineering team working to break the unmanned flight speed record & reach supersonic speeds. I was one of <15 highschool students internationally on the team (out of 150 members).

Individual Distinctions: I was the Systems Integration team Secretary (the only HS student with a distinguished position), a Stability and Control team member, & worked on over 20 “bids” (work assignments) in the design phase of the project


Activity/Experience Name: Science Olympiad

Description: I “re-founded” our school’s chapter my sophomore year by organizing meetings and registering our team when we lost our advisor, and worked with administration to keep the group from being shut down due to lack of advisor interest.

Individual Distinctions: I was President sophomore-senior year, and have earned 8 regional & 2 state medals in my events (state was cancelled my junior year due to COVID-19). I also coached 2 younger students (underclassmen and middle schoolers) to state medals in their events.


Activity/Experience Name: Independent Research and Making

Description: In my free time, I engage with STEM in ways that I can’t through school programming, such as authoring a review and meta-analysis on the efficacy of Nusinersen for infants with SMA and designing original, wearable Arduino-based projects.

Individual Distinctions: My systematic review and meta-analysis is in the process of being peer-reviewed, with the hope of being published.


Activity/Experience Name: Future Problem Solving (FPS)

Description: FPS is a competition dedicated to creatively solving future problems, with topics such as food waste, terraforming, & climate refugees. I coached middle school teams, volunteered as a local & state evaluator, and led our school’s chapter as President.

Individual Distinctions: I was the Individual State Champion 2017 & 2018, Individual 3rd in State 2019, 2nd in State with my team of 4 in 2020. We then won 1st Internationally in 2020 (out of 70 teams from several countries). I was also chapter President junior and senior year.


Activity/Experience Name: DECA

Description: DECA is an entrepreneurship and business club, which strengthened my leadership and communication skills.

Individual Distinctions: 8th Internationally in Business Law and Ethics (BLTDM) 2019, 2nd/1st in State BLTDM 2019/2020, DECA Idea Challenge State Winner 2020, State Leadership Council member junior and senior year.


Activity/Experience Name: Anti-Hate Work

Description: I participated in school and national anti-hate groups (Serve 2 Unite founding member, We Are Many United Against Hate Advisory Board Member), founded my village’s anti-hate coalition, and organized our 600-person Black Lives Matter rally.

Individual Distinctions: I was recognized by local news for my work in anti-hate and social justice initiatives and selected as a We Are Many United Against Hate Advisory Board member my senior year by the organization’s founder.


Activity/Experience Name: Student Council

Description: Student Council is my school’s student government group. I worked to organize initiatives such as our annual Blood Drive, as well as our charity dance.

Individual Distinctions: Representative to the Board of Education (junior year), Vice President (senior year)




If you got to the end of this, thanks so much for reading! I know it's a lot of writing but it's within the character count :/


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2 answers

4 years ago

So Ally Id put the project boom then DECA then the STEM based ECs with the non STEM following it. You can put DECA in front of PB becuase you are ranked internationally but I’d say but the STEM at the top.

Also I wished I had your ECs and good luck.

4 years ago

First off, congrats on those ECs! They seem super impressive and it looks like you had a lot of cool experiences in high school so far. I'd try not to stress too much on how you order these, they all will be looked at by an Admissions Officer at the end of the day. My take is you should order them by how you ranked in them, similar to the tier system used by CollegeVine. The reason I say this is because not all of your ECs have to relate to your majors. Obviously colleges like to see ECs related to what you're interested in because it shows passion but they also like to see other aspects of who you are as a person. In a way, you can come off as almost "boring" if everything on your application is directly tied to your intended major. Doing that doesn't give the admissions officers much of a chance to learn about who you are as person and what you can contribute to the culture of the school.

I'll give you an idea of how I would rank these but I also have some follow-up questions which might change the order depending on your answers.

1: I would keep Project Boom here. Only 150 people were chosen, and even less for high school students, and it sounds like you had a leadership position and contributed a significant amount to the project.

2: I think your research should go here. This might change depending on your answers to my questions (see below) but getting published in a scientific journal in high school is a unique, and impressive, feat which is worthy of recognition.

3. FPS or DECA. I think this one falls to personal preference as both are impressive but I might lean towards FPS due to the STEM nature of it. It might not be as well known but that doesn't discredit your accomplishments of being state champion twice and winning in an international competition.

4. FPS or DECA. Again, it's personal preference I think. For DECA you were 8th internationally, state champion, had a leadership position, you really can't go wrong including this 3rd or 4th.

5. Science Olympiad. I have this 5th mostly because I think the other ECs you have are super impressive and I would have a hard time including this above any of them. You have a long-term leadership position, state awards, and helped coach a team to state awards. Plus you showed great initiative and determination by not only being dedicated enough to bring back this club but to also make sure the club was a success. I just think the accomplishments from FPS/DECA are more impressive personally.

6. Anti-hate work.

7. Student Council.

I guess the majority of my questions relate to your research. Do you know if you are definitely going to be published for your research? What potential journal? Are you going to be first author? Depending on if you are or not changes where I would place that EC. While I'm not sure how much impact the journal/what author you are will have on the impressiveness of the EC, I do think it will matter slightly. If you end up not being published I would move that EC down to 4th maybe unless you have something tangible you can show for your work.

Also, in your comments to the other answer you said "I don't want to include both because I still want to keep STEM in the top 2" [referring to DECA/FPS]. Do you mean you don't want both in the top 2 or you don't want to include both in your EC list? Because you 100% should be keeping both.

Happy to answer any questions you have on what I wrote or any follow-up questions you might have!

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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