Question: I am a high school sophomore, and I hope to attend an Ivy League university. I am an A student in the toughest courses offered at my private school. My concern is that I wonâ€™t have any extracurricular activities to list on my applications because I work after school every day doing filing in an insurance office. Will this hurt my chances of admission?
Colleges do indeed value work experience as an important extracurricular activity. If you come from a disadvantaged background and must work to pay for your own basic expenses, admission officials appreciate the challenges you face. On the other hand, if you come from a more privileged family and choose to be self-supporting anyway (at least to some extentâ€"weâ€™re not talking about making mortgage payments here!), then admission folks will applaud the fact that you donâ€™t take your good fortunes for granted. In other words, itâ€™s really a no-lose situation.