Preparing for College

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)