Extracurriculars – Leadership
ASB, regardless of how much actual leadership is taught or applied, is heavily favored in the application process. It shows that you are well-liked in your school and that people will follow you. However, what really pushes you over the edge is either the number of years you served or your elected position (ASB President is like gold).
ROTC, I would say is a blend of sports and leadership. However, I feel as though that the most rewarding experience of ROTC was the opportunities of leadership and the strong friendships that I made there. Therefore, I’ll categorize it under the leadership section. It’s probably the best application of peer leadership that any program can offer. Because it tries to model the military, there is a inherent, rigid structure, creating a “chain of command” – something that directly shows whose above and below you in rank. If you elaborate that you were in charge of 300-400+ cadets (or even 100+ for smaller units), that looks really good on your college application.
Previously, I said that ROTC has sports-like qualities. There’s a forty member drill team
that competes in various competitions (going all the way up to a National tournament in Florida)
that consists of military drill, naval science tests, and a physical test. Every day of the week
there’s a drill team practice, which compares to a sports team (with the added physical aspect
of the competition). However, I’m not sure if universities weigh ROTC drill teams evenly with
Varsity sports teams – thus, I’m not sure if its the best use of your time (although in my opinion,
it is one of the most fun activities you can do in your high school career). Nevertheless, if you
compete at a National Tournament, it probably looks a lot more impressive than a simple sports
team (see Academic Team and National Awards for further elaboration).
Statewide/National organizations: Now, we can expand to even bigger things like CASC or YLA. If you’re in charge of one of these organizations, then expect good letters to be coming your way (as long as you have decent grades). From hearsay, I heard the last three CASC Presidents have matriculated to Harvard, Harvard, and Princeton. These are probably one of the best things you can do to drastically improve your admission chances.
Next up is academic teams and national awards.