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Articles / Applying to College / Dual-Enrollment Classes vs. Key Club Presidency?

Dec. 30, 2012

Dual-Enrollment Classes vs. Key Club Presidency?

Question: Recently, I've had the choice between attending a program that allows me to attend a local college and take dual high school college courses, or stay at my regular school and hold the office of President in Key Club, which I have been involved in for a long time and which I have been told is potentially a valuable addition to a college resume. My current high school does not offer the available curriculum, and I know that the quality of my education will significantly improve if I enter the high school-college program.

I was wondering which would be more beneficial in boosting my college resume and increasing my chances for admission in competitive colleges; entering the college-high school program or staying at my current school and dedicating myself to being President of Key Club?

While heading the Key Club is an admirable duty, most admission officials--especially at the highly selective schools--will be more impressed with the college classes. Seeing Key Club on a resume--and even the Key Club presidency--is very routine at the most sought-after colleges, so I don't recommend giving up an academic opportunity that interests you in order to hold that position.

Even if your dual-enrollment makes it difficult to take part in any clubs at your high school, you can still impress admission folks with unusual volunteer endeavors, with independent activities that you pursue on your own, or even by holding a part-time job.

Moreover, if you can’t take on leadership roles at school next year due to your academic schedule, you can explain your choice in the “Additional Information” section of your applications. You can tell admission committees that you passed up a leadership post in order to challenge yourself in the most demanding classes possible, and they will appreciate the tough decision you made.

(posted 12/29/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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