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• 9 months ago •
Admissions Advice

Are my ECs enough for competitive schools (international student)?

Hi, I am an international student and in my country (Greece) ECs are very differnet than they are in the US. We don't have a lot of leadership (only student council) or volunteering opportunities, and I know these two are things colleges generally look for in an application. I have (according to CollegeVine's cancing profile) 1 Tier B (Swimming), 3 Tier D (Math competition, STEM Research competition, internship at airline), 1 Tier F (Soccer), 1 Tier G (Reserach project), 1 Tier H (Drawing for hobby), 2 Tier J (Literature/Math/Physics/Community Service school clubs, Peer turtoring), and 1 TierL (Track & Field). I don't have any ECs to demonstrate leadership (except for being 'captain' of my team during a youth entrepreneurship summer school. We designed a start up called InStudent that aims to help studentsaccimate faster and easier to their college city, but we are not going to create the app itself) and my only volunteering is 5 months of peer tutoring for refugees, some beach clean ups, and volunteering at school events (basketball games, school bazaars), and the Athens Classic Marathon.

Is this EC profile for an international student strong enough for schools like Columbia [Long Reach]*, MIT (I have some academic awards in STEM) [Long Reach], Amherst [Long Reach], Williams [Long Reach], Pomona [Long Reach], Rice [Long Reach], Barnard [Reach], Colgate [Target], Reed [Safety], Macalester [Safety]?

Also, do you have any advice on which activities I shouldn't mention (like Track, which is in one of the lower Tiers)?

* the admissions difficulty is based on what CollegeVine says, but it is designed for domestic applicants, not international.

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Accepted Answer
• 9 months ago

Honestly it sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job as is, and considering that your country/school doesn’t have a lot of leadership opportunities it sounds like you’re maximizing what you’ve been given so far. I agree with max that you should try to expand upon the leadership activities that you’re in already- don’t add new stuff otherwise your efforts will look very complicated and broken apart. I recommend that you try your hardest to get what’s called “assumed leaderhip” where you act like a leader even though the position doesn’t exist. that’s doing things like organizing club activities, running meetings, helping new members, creating a resource bank, getting the water at practice, tutoring kids on the side, giving an orientation presentation, etc. just doing stuff that would count as being an unofficial leader that you could show as proof that you maximized your opportunities.

btw this is random but if you didn’t know already you can only apply to barnard if you’re a girl (i think they have more gender inclusion towards people on the nonbinary spectrum but it’s still really only fem/female identifying people so if you’re a guy you can’t go there)

• 9 months ago

The others gave some great advice, and I agree that it makes sense to develop your current activities more deeply. @crsgo's advice about assumed leadership is especially good - you can also always try to make the assumed leadership a formal role if there's a supervisor you can approach. After some time performing those duties, you might say that the organization could benefit from a formal leadership covering the duties you've been performing, and ask if you can take that on.

Beyond that, I think Track is all right to list since it's clear you're an active person. Drawing is something that might not be considered an EC though, unless you have some sort of quantifiable accomplishments with it (like a drawing award, instagram account, teaching drawing). If you currently don't have a quantifiable accomplishment in drawing, that might be another way to develop your ECs.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

• 9 months ago

If you get all the Js and Ls to be tier H that should make you as a very competitive applicant. As an international student admissions staff will be very understanding of the lack of opportunity and it seems you made the best out of your situation.

The only thing I’d recommend you improve on for ECs is something in the community with some leadership whether that’s a job or something else it should have some responsibility attached to it. I agree with the school classification.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help.


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