How important are extracurriculars?
I am a junior and I have very few extracurricular activities. I have gotten different answers as to their importance.
I know they're important, but I worked since the summer before sophomore year. I have around 60 hours of volunteer work. 25 in disaster relief after a tornado hit my town and the rest at my church as a Sunday school teacher. The church was mainly freshman year as I stopped going to the church for several reasons. I was in two clubs sophomore year but then I switched schools. I got inducted into nhs but my new high school is at a college so they don't have high school clubs. I haven't won any awards. I've watched lots of videos and read things about advice on how to build extracurriculars, but honestly I don't have time. I'm taking purely dual enrollment classes, and so I'm basically keeping up with college level course work and a job. I just don't know what to do. I've worked so hard for my 4.0 in the hardest classes offered to me, but according a lot of people my grades aren't going to get me far enough. Also, my home life is very challenging and this limits my ability to do anything. I know this is just a lot of me complaining and I'm sorry.
I just want to know if extracurriculars are going to be the reason I don't get into the more selective schools I've worked so hard to have the grades for. I just feel like every student applying to top schools plays sports and instruments and is the president of everything. I'm writing this while very discouraged with my prospects. I'm not trying to write a "chance me " post. My question is How important are extra curriculars if the applicant has good grades? like am I going to be rejected because of low extra curriculars
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So what I’ll say is EC importance heavily depends on the school. But holistic schools will typically have ECs make you 15-30% of your application. For ivies they are extremely extremely important while a holistic school that has a 85% admit rate they probably don’t care a whole lot about your ECs merely your academics.
So I’ll take a school that has about a low 70s admit rate you can likely skate by with your ECs and your stellar academic but look at the schools middle 50% gpa and your unweighted should be above the middle 50%. Also academics alone will not get you in your other stuff such as essay, test scores (if required) rec letters will play a part.
As for 50% admit school like Washington Wisc Madison Penn St Maryland it will require some ECs but a stellar essay rec letters with your current ECs you can potentially get by but in that case your an average applicant it will likely be a coin flip on acceptance rate.
Also a quick FYI your job is an EC.
Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify! I’d recommended using the chancing tool to see how well your rigor and gpa is at your top schools.
I feel you're going about this the wrong way. For top colleges, it's true that both grades and extracurriculars are extremely important. But while it's true that many applicants have multiple leadership positions, sports, etc., you don't necessarily need all that to stand out. From my understanding, jobs and volunteer hours do count as extracurriculars; a job might actually help your application a lot because more unique than the standard sports/art combo. That's where the essay comes in. It's important to tell your story through the essay, and a lot of what you wrote above can be mentioned in your essay. Balancing college-level courses with a 4.0 GPA and a job isn't easy, and you should be able to use this in your writing to present yourself in a very positive light. Overall, it appears that colleges are okay with whatever you do with your time as long as it is productive and aligns with who you are. Hope this helps and good luck!
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