How does my ECs look?





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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: How does my ECs look?
By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 11:27 am: Edit

I'm rising junior, and plan to apply for JHU ED.

My ECs:
-Active member of Feminist Majority Foundation
(400 petition for Roe vs Wade)
-Member of CUADP (Against Death Penalty)
-V.P at Gay/straight alliance
-Member of Young Democrats
-Member of Metro Teen AIDS
-V.P of Islamic Club
-President of ESOL Club(Founder)
-Secretary of Math Honor Society
-Member of Key club
-Tutoring kids at local elementary school
-Playing piano for 7 years. (play for local elementary school graduations and weddings(job))
-10hrs/week library page job
-Piano tutor (6hrs/week)
-Member of Math Team.


Do I have to do something more or less?
I don't do band or sports.

Thank you all for reading^^

By Dromedary (Dromedary) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 12:01 pm: Edit

"-Active member of Feminist Majority Foundation
(400 petition for Roe vs Wade)
-Member of CUADP (Against Death Penalty)
-V.P at Gay/straight alliance
-Member of Young Democrats"

I wonder what your political orientation is? LOL

But seriously, what matters is the commitment to each one of these activities. I hope you're not falling into the laundry list trap.

By Vaj (Vaj) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 12:46 pm: Edit

"I wonder what your political orientation is? LOL"

HAHA

By Shatterbox (Shatterbox) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 12:56 pm: Edit

Aight.... tell me how these look if ya'll will.
-Co Captian of JV basketball team
-Varisity baseball as a sophmore
-Going to be four years of Varisity Cross Country (never finishing less than fourth on my team)
-National History day finalist at University of Maryland one year, competed in the 700,000 student nation wide compeition for three
-Social Studies MACC( Mountain Academic Conference Competition)
-Forensics (extemp speaking)
-Class President
-Volunteer with local red cross
-Volunteer with local Sheriff's Office
-Member of the band

Where should I look to add things... and does this seem well rounded?
Thanks a bunch

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Typical libby...

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 03:09 pm: Edit

I know I am a lot involved with heavy political issues, but I just didn't do it just to impress some colleges. It was child dream to get involved in those death penalty, abortion, feminism, homosexuality issues, and I don't care what those guys in admossion office will say.
I just am doing what I enjoy and passionate about.
Thanks for reading,
Anyone else?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 07:00 pm: Edit

"and I don't care what those guys in admossion office will say."

They probably will not SAY much. If the rest of your application and your essay reflects the same mindset, they'll probably just slap a big "R" on your file.

And that wont be R for Republican!

"but I just didn't do it just to impress some colleges."

It is wonderful to be passionate but choosing religion or politics is a dangerous arena. You have a better chance than average that the typical adcom will be slightly liberal but it seems that you are threading on thin ice with the "ultra" positions.

And I am glad to read that you did not pursue those activities to impress anyone... as it is not impressive at all :(

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 07:17 pm: Edit


Quote:


And I am glad to read that you did not pursue those activities to impress anyone... as it is not impressive at all




0wnt! You a righty, mon ami?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 07:38 pm: Edit

Nah! I think that I am still too young to have a well-defined opinion on politics.

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Xiggi, thanks for reading and responding.
Well, I guess my stats are not likable to the guys in the college admission office.
But even if JHU will reject me for my ECs, well, screw them. I am pretty sure that there will be some colleges that are happy to accept me with my so called "not impressive ECs" and high numbers on my application.

Thanks for your opinion!
Anyone else?

By Thenarrator (Thenarrator) on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 10:34 pm: Edit

this board has become a place where ppl just boast about their ECs, scores, and grades. its pathetic. they disguise it with questions like "is this good enuff?" and "how are my ECs" when they damn well know that their lists are good enough and better than a lot of others.

The main purpose of this board is to share information about college admissions, tests, etc rather than list your high scores and extracurriculars.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 02:12 am: Edit

Thenarrator~

That type of posts typically garners more criticism than recognition or kudos. :)

By Savoirfaire87 (Savoirfaire87) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 11:46 am: Edit

hahaha...yes, a typical libby

I'd say that your list looks fine! What really matters is that you can show a true passion and commitment to what you do. IMO, colleges don't really care about your list...as long as you really DO what's on it. Sure, you're not in band, but you play the piano. Obviously you care about it; you tutor. Sports? ha! Even if I WANTED to play sports, I really haven't the time. It looks like you're in a similar situation. If you can truly handle all of these activities and keep your grades up....go for it! Good luck! I'm thinking of applying to JHU in a few years for IR...

By Galagos (Galagos) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 01:30 pm: Edit

An interesting essay topic might be how you reconciled your position as VP of the Islamic club with your stance on feminism, gay rights, etc.

By Dromedary (Dromedary) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Maybe this will sound funny, but I bet that similar political organizations, except the right-wing counterparts, would be more impressive ECs. Colleges get plenty of liberal applications, and they might be intrigued by a real NRA/pro-life type for diversity's sake.

I certainly don't think a college would reject you because they thought you were too radical, *but* they might not see you as unique because quite a few teenagers are just as liberal and involved as you.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 09:42 pm: Edit

>> Maybe this will sound funny, but I bet that similar political organizations, except the right-wing counterparts, would be more impressive ECs. Colleges get plenty of liberal applications, and they might be intrigued by a real NRA/pro-life type for diversity's sake.

No way. The elite colleges do not appear to be very interested in THAT kind of diversity. There are obviously some exceptions.

By Savoirfaire87 (Savoirfaire87) on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 09:48 pm: Edit

sadly yes....sigh....

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 09:21 am: Edit

Thank you all for your opinion on my ECs.
Although I said I didn't care whether colleges care or not, it's not that easy to ignore it.

Thank you again, and anyone else?

By Dromedary (Dromedary) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 01:02 pm: Edit

Interesteddad, just curious on the origins of your opinions? Mine are pure guesswork, but it sounds like (I'm assuming here) you know of a case in which a very qualified but conservative individual was rejected by top schools. Care to elaborate?

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 01:32 pm: Edit

>> Interesteddad, just curious on the origins of your opinions? Mine are pure guesswork, but it sounds like (I'm assuming here) you know of a case in which a very qualified but conservative individual was rejected by top schools.

No. It would never be articulated that an applicant was rejected because of political views. Qualified applicants are rejected every day and the reasons are subtle and vague.

My opinions are based some feel for the overall "climate" at the elite schools. My wife, after all, does work at an Ivy campus. You don't push as hard for "diversity" quotas in the student body, the teaching staff, and the admissions staff without a certain political view. You don't fill your course catalog with Fill-in-Blank Ethnic Studies, Gender studies, etc. unless you have a certain political view.

It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Ten minutes with Bob Jones U's catalog and I'd see enough "buzzwords" to know their political slant. Same thing with buzzwords sprinkled throughout Harvard's catalog. For example, is there really any doubt about an extreme dedication to political correctness when you see the incoming class refered to as the "freshperson" class?

Some of the elite college websites have links to discussions, debates, and published articles on the war in Iraq. It doesn't take a lot of time with the transcript of the debate at the Swarthmore website to get the tone.

Here's an account of the "rountable" faculty discussion at Swarthmore. You tell me where you see the balance:

http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/daily/archive/spring_2003/20030327.html#n1

If I were writing an application as a conservative, I would certainly list any appropriate politically-oriented ECs -- president of the Young Republicans committee, campaign worker for a senatorial campaign, etc. But, the last thing I would do is challenge any of the closely held tenets of the academic community. For example, I would NOT write my college essay on the downside of quota-based affirmative action programs! Just like I wouldn't write a Pro-Choice essay for Bob Jones. It's just common sense.

By Dromedary (Dromedary) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 05:12 pm: Edit

Yes, there's certainly no denying the fact that most schools in the country (elite or not) are liberal at the administration, faculty, and student levels. At least some schools are not as confrontational about it.

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:22 am: Edit

Thank you all!
I never thought about writing a pro-choice essay or anything about controversal issues that I am dealing with. But I always felt that I had to explain why I chose to get more involved in gay-right, death penalty, feminism activities than acedemical activities.
I guess I just need to ruminate about theses ECs a litte. I don't mean that I am going to stop. I just feel like I need to look more like open-minded and well-rounded student.
I have never regreted doing all the activities I've been doing. I've been called a "freak" so many times and I had to face a lot of oppositions. Well, but I just have to do what I believe in, and fight for it. That's who I am and who I will be. I just can't stop being myself because of college-rejection fears.
I really appreciate all of your opinion, and you are welcome to criticize or advice on my ECs more!

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:10 pm: Edit

The next time someone refers to you as a "freak" tell them you just morphed in from the 60's. You would have fit in well in Austin in the 70's, too.

Political and philosophical tenets may change as you grow older and your knowledge develops, but the important thing is that you care enough to become informed about issues and get involved. So many folks let others do all the thinking for them these days.

Just try to have a few adults read your apps before mailing, ok? :)

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 12:19 pm: Edit

Hhboyji:

I wouldn't change a darn thing. IMO, you are more attractive to a college for your very committed and consistent political extra-curriculars than you would be as a bland, well-rounded applicant. Colleges don't want well-rounded anymore. They want specialists who feel deeply about something. Students who will "fight for it" are EXACTLY what they want. To be honest, I think your last post above is the kernal of a very good college essay. Your commitment rings like a bell.

I don't know you, so I can't tell you what to "sell" on your application. But, if you were my daughter and said what you just said, I would strongly consider recommending that you build your entire application marketing stance around your fervent commitment to political causes. In your case, you will find a receptive audience at many colleges and universities.

Conversely, I would NOT take that approach if your fervent political beliefs were in the opposite direction. It's all a matter of understanding the audience. It's just pragmatic: right wing politics would be less likely to find a receptive audience at most elite universities. Odds are that, if you "sell" your politics, the response will be "you go, girl". If you sold a Jerry Falwell agenda equally fervently, the repsonse might be "what a nutcase...". Know your audience!

I wouldn't hide a commitement to right wing politics, but I would take a different slant. Perhaps something along the lines of respecting both sides of an issue and the love of an open exchange of different ideas. Maybe an essay about how the President of Young Democrat Club is your best friend and how much you both grow from intense, but friendly debates on the issues. About how you've come to understand and respect his ideas, even though you differ. Yadda, yadda. Basically a sales-job for the token non-confrontational Conservative "slot" on campus.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 01:28 pm: Edit

OP is right about the passion. Choose a few ECs that you find interesting and stay with them. Colleges want to see a depth of committment. They are not real impressed by students who jump from one activity to another. Committment to "other-oriented" activites over a signifcant period of time are impressive. They also want to see you have leadership positions.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 03:21 pm: Edit

Cool quote from Momo:

.....The next time someone refers to you as a "freak" tell them you just morphed in from the 60's. You would have fit in well in Austin in the 70's, too. ....

I hope it was not about this guy:

On August 1, 1966 Charles Whitman climbed atop the Texas Tower on the University of Texas campus. From that vantage point he commenced a 96 minute shooting rampage that would usher in the era of police SWAT tactics.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 03:29 pm: Edit

Yeah, my best friend's older brother was stuck in one of the shops across the street from the tower for several hours. His mother was quite frantic from the family stories we heard for years thereafter. Bad time for all...

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 03:39 pm: Edit

InterestedDad:

... Conversely, I would NOT take that approach if your fervent political beliefs were in the opposite direction. It's all a matter of understanding the audience. It's just pragmatic: right wing politics would be less likely to find a receptive audience at most elite universities. ...

Two wrongs do not make one right! It is not because a lot of colleges "may" have a liberal stance that having strong political views has become a desirable subject. Unless you slept through the last 10 years, extremists are far from being popular. Most everyone has moved to the center and become a moderate.

You are giving the poster bad ADVICE to build the application and discuss THAT passion. The poster will take a HUGE risk in making strong and highly controversial political viewpoints the center of the application.

He/She would be better served to minimize those positions. College is all about education. Only misguided souls still believe they are great platforms for political views.

Finally, I thank you for that hilarious gem:

"Colleges don't want well-rounded anymore."

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 03:45 pm: Edit

"Finally, I thank you for that hilarious gem:

'Colleges don't want well-rounded anymore'"

True. When we went we did a tour of UNC last summer, the admissions officer said that they were looking for well-rounded classes, not well-rounded individuals.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:02 pm: Edit

I didn't tell her to take that position on her app. In fact, I said that I didn't know her so I couldn't advise her. I did say that I would consider recommending it to my daughter if my daughter expressed that passion.

I would consider recommending it for three reasons:

a) passion is good

b) you are who you are and the best college apps will be true to that

c) it is precisely because "moderate" is the rage these days that I would entertain presenting a more extreme persona. I particularly like that the opinions are so strong in spite of being chided as a "freak".

Additionally, I would make an educated hunch that many elite college faculty and staffs are frustrated that today's students are not progressive enough in their politics. The colleges are, after all, institutionally committed to political views that many people would (and do) view as radical.

I agree that there is some risk. But, the riskiest application is a "white bread" application because that is a direct ticket to the wait list.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:40 pm: Edit

Discussing your political views in an essay is not a good thing at all. In doing such, they reveal little. They look immature, and all too often come out shouting with a "holier-than-thou" stance.

While directly addressing the views is bad, that doesn't mean you can't mention anything in your essay. You can come across as passionate while still being subtle...it's really all a matter or presentation and writing ability. Like, you can talk about getting the signatures for your petition and the difficulties you encountered. If you make it come off well, you'll have a fantastic essay on your hands.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:44 pm: Edit

InterestedDad, thanks for the reply.

I must have misinterpreted this statement:

"But, if you were my daughter and said what you just said, I would strongly consider recommending that you build your entire application marketing stance around your fervent commitment to political causes. In your case, you will find a receptive audience at many colleges and universities."

I still believe that the biggest danger of any application or essay is to print something that would get you rejected. That is a bigger risk than being waitlisted. I am all in favor of writing a passionate essay and presenting an application that shows that you are a mature and committed young person. I just believe that choices like politics, religion, sex, and drugs are recipes for disaster. After all, aren't we writing the application at a tender age of 16 to 18? Despite the fact that there are true geniuses among us, I would also make an educated guess that very few of us could write a political treatise or even have opinions that would impress a college admission committee.

My whole point is that the poster would be better served by picking a less controversial subject. I am sure that the original poster wont have any problems in finding other avenues to express his/hers passion and show who he/she is.

Why take the risk? Especially, if you can present a very solid application with great grades and scores. I could see someone using a political essay/application as a Hail Mary pass to save a lackluster school career but that does not seem the case of the original poster.

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:47 pm: Edit

Wow.. lots of advices and opinions on my ECs.
I really appreciate all of it.
I'm just wondering.. why does it have to be so hard..? I'm just doing what I'm truly enjoying.
You guys have no idea how I fancied doing all those activities since I was young..(not ten-year-old young)
My dad is a such a stubborn person. He is really conservative and not really open-minded. During all the time I had to grow limited, I was somehow seeking the way to get myself out of being a limited person. He didn't let me do anything outgoing, and he was strongly negative about me talking about any political stuff. I just had to believe what he told me to believe. I spent fifteen years of my childhood in South Korea under limited opportunities of expressing my real self. And finally, I came to this country year and a half ago. I saw innumerable opportunities waiting for me to get involved. I have never felt this alive. My dad is still negative about activities I'm doing, but now I can show him who I really am by expressing all my passions. Moreover, I had overcome extremely hard obstacle-English. For year and a half, I've been studying english so hard to do what I truly enjoy, and I have decent academic record, not super, but ok.(1450 SAT/3.87 GPA/some over 750 SAT IIs)
Now I guess I'm facing another obstacle-college admission. But like I said before, even college cannot stop me from being who I truly am. I may be freak, but I am freak and good student at the same time. I have no doubt that I will be able to find college that will suit me just fine.

THANK YOU ALL!

By Hhboyji (Hhboyji) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:53 pm: Edit

And I will take your advices about writing essay about political issues. I don't think it's good idea and I don't think you guys do either. I will describe how passionate person I am, but I won't say anything that will make people think of me as extreme and immature freak.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 04:58 pm: Edit

HHboy~

It is all up to you. No matter what you decide, you may want to try to "poll" the schools you are interested in. Talking to the admissions' office may give you an insight on how well your stances would be received. Also, you may try to talk to members of activists' student clubs.

The way I see it, you'll have 4 -or more- years to do what you enjoy. Why jeopardize the admission process? But that is only ONE opinion and in the end, the decision is all yours.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 06:16 pm: Edit

Wow !

I had missed the 4:47 post of HHboy and missed some great sentences:

"I spent fifteen years of my childhood in South Korea under limited opportunities of expressing my real self. And finally, I came to this country year and a half ago. I saw innumerable opportunities waiting for me to get involved. I have never felt this alive."

All I can say is that I did NOT like your list of EC. I would not have liked to be sitting next to you at a dinner party. However, that probably would have been my loss. The above sentence is simply unbelievably strong and overpowering. If your essay is about discovering freedom and freedom of expression after spending 15 years in South Korea, go for it. It is a powerful message.

Also, I need to apologize to InterestedDad. I missed his comment about well-rounded people entirely. I believe that he used the term to refer to people who would be Jacks of all trades and master of none, people who would do a lot things reasonably well but not shine in any activities. He was correct to state that colleges are not seeking MORE average people but look for exceptional talent in different disciplines.

Sorry for my errors!

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 12:33 am: Edit

I should be clear. I would not try to sell an opinion on a political issue in an application. For example, I would not write an essay preaching gay rights.

What I might do, however, is build the application around a strong commitment to political activism. There's a subtle, but important, difference between the two.

I just feel a level of passion in HHboyji's political activism that is energizing, regardless of whether or not I share the particular political views. I don't, but I do share his passion for free speech and an open political system. I think it's great when young people are involved in political debate. And, I do believe that most college faculties would like to see more involvement, not less. Remember that the college faculties and adminstrations of today were the college kids of the 60's and 70's.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:50 am: Edit

"Remember that the college faculties and adminstrations of today were the college kids of the 60's and 70's."

You're right, that's why I, too, find the passion attractive. I also agree with Xiggi that the contrast of South Korea to America in terms of freedom of expression is quite stark.

Perhaps a good essay could be built upon your commitment to political activism based upon your convictions - downplay selling your particular position - and the importance of studying an issue and being willing to take a stand. I read somewhere recently that democracy only works if people on opposite sides of the issues are willing to talk with one another. Make sure you leave room for the respect of other viewpoints while stressing your own commitment.

I wouldn't even hint at the growing tendency to want to squash dissenting opinions in the US. Let it be the elephant in the living room.

If you can pull it off - I would wait until the last paragraph to mention your South Korean upbringing. Sort of lead the reader along and then leave him breathless with the ending. It could be quite effective.


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