Relative lack of ECs.... but I don't care!

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: August 2004 Archive: Relative lack of ECs.... but I don't care!
By Kamelia (Kamelia) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 02:37 pm: Edit

Okay. Here I go, joining the hundreds of "look at my stats and tell me that I can get into college" posts.

The big question. Are extracurricular activities actually so very important? I'm a good student, but I'm not terribly "involved." The activities at my school seem (to me anyway) superficial and badly organized. So I haven't really bothered. But I will be mad if my hermit lifestyle is going to mean that I don't get into the colleges I want (I'm looking at the Williams/Middlebury etc. Liberal Arts places, also Dartmouth, Stanford (both parents are alums), maybe Brown, Vassar.)

Here is my info:

SAT/ACT: 1530(770 V 760 M)/Composite 36
SAT II: 800 Writing, 800 2C, 750 Latin
GPA: 4.0 unweighted
Good, but not fabulous, public school in MN
Classes: Mostly honors, 3 APs by senior year (my school doesn't offer too many): 5 on AP Calc
Rank: 1/460ish, but share rank with like fifteen other people. I don't know my weighted rank yet.

NHS 11, 12
Key Club 9-12
Model UN 10-12, hopefully will be co-in charge person this year
Link Crew for half of 11th
Member of my school's International Relations club thing, with means essentially nothing.
Latin club, which meets for about ten minutes a year and does basically nothing except elect officers.

Other things:
I've had a part-time job in a Kumon (tutoring) center for more than a year. I also work 15 or so hrs in a bookstore.
Gold Medal on National Latin Exam
Semifinalist in Fountainhead Essay Contest
National Merit person, should be at least a semifinalist.
I skipped a year of Latin by doing independent work in the summer, and also did a major self-directed Psych research paper last year.
Not a sports person.
Amateur photographer... develop own picutes, but nothing good enough to submit as a portfolio.

I should have good recs and essays if I get my act together sometime soon.

I guess the point of this (now very long) post is... is my lack of "involvement" going to kill my chances at good schools?

By Smartgirl (Smartgirl) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 02:40 pm: Edit

what school did you go? I recently lived in MN for 5 years.

By Kamelia (Kamelia) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:00 pm: Edit

Mayo HS, in Rochester. The round one!!

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:02 pm: Edit

I'd say with your SAT and GPA, and also your Stanford legacy status, you still have a very good shot at Stanford and just about any other good school.

By Deerhunter (Deerhunter) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

My highly subjective opinion...

If I were you, I would take advantage of the fact that you're a double legacy...apply EA to Stanford; I would be very surprised if you didn't get in.

By Manofdayear2013 (Manofdayear2013) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

you will have a tough time going through the interviews at top LACs like Amherst, Williams, Bowdoin and Middlebury if you have very few ECs. Make sure you can clearly explain and justify your point of view concerning ECs at your present school.

By Silmon77 (Silmon77) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

Legacy doesnt always help. My friend had a 1550 SAT, SAT IIs that ranged between 770-800, ranked 3/nearly 700, was a genius at math/science, had both his parents, a grandfather, and 2 uncles go to Stanford, which was his dream school, and a list of more than 20 awards, but got deferred EA and rejected RD. He ended up "settling" for Caltech.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just to warn you not to bank too heavily on legacy (although it certainly helps).

By Bettina (Bettina) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

My understanding is that EC's shouldn't be a laundry list of clubs you joined or one time things you have done (unless significant.) I think the valuable EC's are ones that you explore in depth in an area that interests you. It does not need a school club to exist to follow this interest. You probably have one or two there that you can more carefully document you progress/experience in.

By Kk19131 (Kk19131) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

"Relative lack of ECs.... but I don't care"

- Oh yea, well, Jimmy cracked corn and I dont care!

By Intheory (Intheory) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:23 am: Edit

Stanford is ultra competative...your legacy is an edge, but i would have a really good back up no matter what- though if i were you, i'd apply EA for a better shot

all the schools you have there are relatively "hot" schools- i would say nothing is certain at Brown, Dartmouth, or those schools you are going to be up against people with stellar grades and scores (like yours) but with much more involvement and ECs

you probably have a good shot at Vassar and should probably add a few more secure safeties and matches to the list...maybe Colgate (probably safety) or Duke (match)

By 3togo (3togo) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:24 am: Edit

> The big question. Are extracurricular activities actually so very important? I'm a good student, but I'm not terribly "involved." The activities at my school seem (to me anyway) superficial and badly organized. So I haven't really bothered. But I will be mad if my hermit lifestyle is going to mean that I don't get into the colleges I want

When I did alumni interviews for my school this would have been an interesting topic. Your thoughts above are the beginning of a excellent answer ... you're not a follower and are not looking for activities without meaning to you. But then the following thought would be ... OK, you didn't join your school's clubs and ECs so what activities do you pursue?

I would ask this question to try to find out who you are beyond the books. Given your earlier reply I'd hope to hear about your involvement in the community in something about which you are passionite as opposed to school clubs ... that would raise my opinion of your application.

You have terrific academic credentials but it is a tougher road at any school if an applicant is trying to make it on academics alone.

By Slipstream99 (Slipstream99) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:42 am: Edit

Going back to legacy status, in Admissions Confidential Toor said that Duke (so probably other colleges) only gave weight to legacy status if your parents (or whoever the alum was) gave money to the school after graduating. So merely having a legacy doesn't help, you have to be a rich legacy.

By Knightmare123 (Knightmare123) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit

commercialization of education...what a shameful thing

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 06:09 pm: Edit

Kamelia: 3togo is on the right track. Consider that the type of schools you list are selecting students from a large batch of applicants with very good to excellent academics. They therefore are able to ask about each applicant - whether you like it or not - what is this person going to contribute to our school besides getting good grades? What is this person going to bring to our school that isn't presently here? How does this person add to school spirit?

You don't have to have participated in a lot of ECs, but your lack of interest in any school activities makes it appear as if you didn't care much about your school - and these colleges are looking for students who will care about the school. For example, you didn't try to start a better organized activity. However, an acceptable alternative could be your tutoring (or your working, if that was necessary). So think about how you are going to present yourself in an interview and in the essays.

By Kamelia (Kamelia) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit

Might there be a way to spin a personal statement to explain this extra-curricular nightmare? Obviously I'm not going to rant and rave about "Oh, I'm so above the pitiful activites that my school puts on" and that sort of thing, but I'd like to give some sort of explanation. The sort of activities that I would have done, like yearbook or the school paper, are actually classes and didn't fit into my schedule. It's just not something that's been a priority for me. Oh well.

By Chicken123 (Chicken123) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 09:17 pm: Edit

I always wondered. If jimmy cracked corn and no one cares why is there a song.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

Kamelia: In preparing your application and writing your essays, you need to consider the words of an old popular song:

Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.

Frankly, you've been sounding a bit like a spoiled kid ("I will be mad if my hermit lifestyle is going to mean that I don't get into the colleges I want"). Hope you aren't. In any case, you don't want to sound like one in your application, or say goodbye to those schools.

3togohas the right idea. So you don't have a long list of ECs. Not everybody does. But what about those activities that you DID do? Why were you in tutoring? For the money? or for something else that you could gain?

What turned you on to Latin?

I could be barking up the wrong tree with these specific suggestions, but in any case in applying to these schools you may have to make yourself noticeable in the pack of good students - as I said, like it or not.

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