Are extracurricular activities important?
I have been homeschooled since preK, and am now in my senior year of high school. I am applying to three colleges: University of Houston, Houston Baptist University, and Rice University. The main problem I have run into with my applications is that I have very little extracurricular activities to report, as I am a homeschooler.
However, my academics are in the higher percentages. My GPA, while not perfectly accurate (being a homeschooler) is very close to 4.0 on a scale of 4.
Also, I scored a 1500 on my SAT, and have taken 4 AP tests, scoring two 3's, one 4, and a 5.
Do you think my lack of extracurricular activities (I have 3 or 4 minor ones, such as advanced piano lessons, a couple years of club baseball, and ministry at an assisted living care center) will look bad to colleges? Or do you think my standardized test scores are really what matters?
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Before I answer your question about the importance of ECs there's something else worth addressing for your post. I would strongly recommend that you add at least a couple more schools to your list of where you're applying. Even though with your grades and test scores it seems like you might be OK in terms of being accepted into Houston or HBU I wouldn't say it's a guarantee. In my opinion it's definitely not something worth risking. Ideally you'd add 5 more schools but even 3 more would be good. If paying for application fees is an issue I would look into getting fee waivers from wherever you are applying.
Onto ECs. The short and simple answer is they're pretty important. The more you move up in college rankings (think the more selective a school might be) the more weight ECs are going to have on your application. I'll be parroting a lot of what @DebatorMAX said but, for a school like Rice, having strong ECs is absolutely essential to being accepted. If you're able to talk up some of the ECs you mentioned or if you can think of additional ones you might have a shot at Rice but it would be pretty difficult I think. I don't mean to be a downer when mentioning any of this, I just want you to have realistic expectations. A 1500 is a great SAT score but unfortunately it might not be enough to make up for your ECs (I'm only taking about in terms of acceptance to Rice). A 1470 puts you in the 25th percentile and a 1560 puts you in the 75th for students accepted so you're right about in the middle.
The good news is after looking at Houston University and Houston Baptist University I don't think lack of ECs will be a determining factor in your admissions. I still think it would be wise to apply to a few more schools but based on what I read about these schools you have a very good chance of acceptance. Your SAT score is significantly higher than the average score at either of those schools and GPA seems similar. This is directly from HBU's website "Consideration for admission to Houston Baptist University is determined by competitive scores on the SAT, ACT, or CLT and by strong high school performance." which makes me feel confident in saying you meet their requirements.
If you're interested in more reading about extracurriculars or ways you might be able to improve your ECs before applications are due I'd recommend taking a peek at https://blog.collegevine.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-extracurricular-activities-in-high-school and https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-improve-your-extracurriculars-junior-and-senior-year/. Of course, I'm also happy to answer any other questions you might have. Good luck on your application!
So becuase chance mes aren’t allowed I will describe my knowledge of Houston and HBU. Rice has if I remember correctly a 11% admit rate and you NEED ECs to even have a shot.
As for Houston they accept about 65% of all applicants and generally these schools with mid 60% admit rates focus solely on academics but involvement in community helps. Also depending on how you were homeschooled whether you did it through a 3rd party/online company or whether you did something out of a textbook (I’m not familiar with home schooling) if it was through a 3rd party where grades aren’t completion grades and is like a virtual high school academics will be evaluated roughly the same as a normal high school.
HBU has a 70% admit rate so in general it’s Houston except with lower academic averages.
I’d reach out to HBU and Houston about the admissions process for homeschoolers and there MAY be some qualifying tests to make sure your homeschooling wasn’t atroticious but beyond that just like the non-open admissions schools that aren’t competitive just focus on SATs (and 1500 is top 25% for Houston and HBU).
Best of luck!
Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!
So these schools are good options, I definitely think the extracurricular activities might be a slight problem. The stats are actually really strong, I just think the homeschool won't affect it horribly. Don't worry about that. Just look for internships, employment, research, sports, as many opportunities as possible.