With college application season just around the corner, many high school students are starting to finalize their application materials. One question that often comes up is whether you can include achievements and awards from middle school on your college applications.
The quick answer is yes, you absolutely can put middle school achievements on your college application if they are relevant and help tell your story. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig into the details of how and when to include middle school accomplishments on your college apps.
We’ll cover when it makes sense to include middle school achievements, what kinds of achievements to highlight, how to feature them in your application, and tips from admissions officers on presenting your middle school accomplishments.
Whether you won an academic competition in 8th grade or held an impressive leadership role in middle school student government, this guide will provide actionable advice on maximizing your application.
When to Include Middle School Achievements
When preparing their college applications, many students wonder whether they should include their middle school achievements. While the focus of college applications is typically on high school accomplishments, there are certain instances where including middle school achievements can be beneficial and showcase the applicant’s strengths and qualities.
Here are a few situations where including middle school achievements may be appropriate:
If They Show Advanced Coursework or Passion
If a student has taken advanced coursework or pursued a specific passion during their middle school years, it can be worth mentioning on their college application. For example, if a student completed high school level math or science courses in middle school, it demonstrates their academic abilities and commitment to learning.
Similarly, if a student participated in an extracurricular activity or pursued a hobby consistently during middle school, it shows their dedication and passion in a particular area. Including such achievements can help colleges recognize the student’s potential and dedication to their interests.
If They Demonstrate Leadership or Responsibility
Middle school achievements that demonstrate leadership or responsibility can also be worth mentioning on a college application. If a student held a leadership position in a club or organization, such as being the captain of a sports team or the president of a student council, it showcases their ability to take charge and lead others.
Additionally, if a student took on responsibilities outside of the classroom, such as volunteering regularly or taking care of siblings, it highlights their maturity and sense of responsibility. These achievements can provide insight into the applicant’s character and their potential to contribute positively to the college community.
If They Highlight Meaningful Extracurricular Involvement
Another situation where middle school achievements can be included is when they highlight meaningful extracurricular involvement. If a student participated in impactful community service projects or engaged in significant artistic or athletic pursuits during middle school, it can demonstrate their commitment and dedication to their interests.
These achievements can be a testament to the student’s character and their ability to balance multiple commitments. Including such accomplishments can help colleges understand the student’s interests and how they may contribute to the campus community.
It is important to note that while including middle school achievements can be advantageous in certain cases, it should not overshadow the focus on high school accomplishments. Admissions officers primarily evaluate applicants based on their high school performance and activities.
Middle school achievements should be included sparingly and only if they truly add value to the application. It is always best to consult with a college counselor or advisor for personalized guidance on what to include in your college application.
What Kinds of Middle School Achievements to Include
When it comes to filling out college applications, many students wonder if they should include their middle school achievements. While the focus of your college application will primarily be on your high school accomplishments, there are certain middle school achievements that can showcase your skills, talents, and character to admissions officers.
Here are some types of middle school achievements that you may consider including:
Academic Awards and Honors
If you received any academic awards or honors in middle school, it can demonstrate your intellectual abilities and commitment to excellence. Whether you won a spelling bee, received recognition for your science fair project, or earned a place on the honor roll, including these achievements on your college application can highlight your academic prowess.
Did you serve as a class representative, student council member, or captain of a club in middle school? If so, these leadership positions can demonstrate your ability to take charge, work collaboratively, and make a positive impact on your school community.
Including these achievements can showcase your leadership potential to college admissions officers.
Passion Projects or Creations
If you pursued any passion projects or created something noteworthy in middle school, it can be a great way to showcase your creativity, innovation, and dedication. Whether you built a website, wrote a book, or participated in a science experiment, these achievements can demonstrate your drive and commitment to your interests.
Volunteer Work and Community Service
Did you engage in any volunteer work or community service activities in middle school? Including these achievements on your college application can demonstrate your commitment to making a difference in your community and showcase your altruism.
Colleges value students who actively contribute to their communities.
If you excelled in any sports or athletic activities during middle school, it can showcase your physical fitness, teamwork, and discipline. Whether you received awards for your performance, achieved personal bests, or played on competitive teams, including these achievements can highlight your dedication and commitment to sports.
Remember, while including middle school achievements can provide some additional insights into your character, they should not overshadow your high school accomplishments. Focus on highlighting your most significant and recent achievements, as these will carry the most weight in the college admissions process.
How to Feature Middle School Achievements in Your App
The Activities Section
The activities section of your college application is a great place to showcase your middle school achievements. While most of the focus will be on your high school activities, it’s still important to include any notable accomplishments from your middle school years.
This could include participation in sports teams, clubs, academic competitions, or community service projects. Be sure to provide a brief description of each activity and highlight any leadership roles or special recognition you received.
The Additional Information Section
If your middle school achievements don’t fit neatly into the activities section, don’t worry – there’s still a place for them on your college application. The additional information section allows you to provide more context about your background and experiences.
This is a great opportunity to mention any awards, honors, or special projects you completed during middle school. Remember to keep it concise and relevant, focusing on the most impressive and impactful achievements.
Your college essays provide another opportunity to showcase your middle school achievements. Consider incorporating stories or anecdotes that highlight your accomplishments and how they have shaped your character or goals.
For example, if you won a science fair in middle school and it sparked your passion for STEM, you could discuss how that experience influenced your decision to pursue a degree in a related field. Just be mindful not to overemphasize your middle school achievements at the expense of your more recent accomplishments.
While it’s important to include your middle school achievements on your college application, it’s equally important to recognize that admissions officers are primarily interested in your high school accomplishments.
Use your middle school achievements as a way to demonstrate your potential and passion, but don’t rely solely on them to make your application stand out. Focus on showcasing your growth, maturity, and achievements from high school, as these will likely carry more weight in the admissions process.
Tips from Admissions Officers
Focus on Impact and Skills Gained
When it comes to including middle school achievements on your college application, admissions officers suggest focusing on the impact and skills gained from those experiences. While middle school accomplishments may not carry as much weight as those from high school, they can still demonstrate your potential and commitment.
For example, if you were the captain of your middle school debate team, you could highlight the leadership skills you developed, such as the ability to organize and motivate a team, research and analyze information, and communicate effectively.
Emphasize how these skills have continued to grow and shape your interests in high school.
Don’t Exaggerate or Fluff Up Achievements
It’s important to be honest and genuine when listing your middle school achievements. Admissions officers can quickly spot exaggerations and fluffed-up accomplishments. Instead, focus on what you truly accomplished and the lessons you learned from those experiences.
Remember, college applications are about showcasing your authentic self and demonstrating your potential for success. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy!
Connect Achievements to your Current Interests
Another valuable tip from admissions officers is to connect your middle school achievements to your current interests. If you participated in a science fair and won an award, for example, you can discuss how that experience sparked your passion for science and how you have continued to pursue it in high school through advanced coursework or extracurricular activities.
By making these connections, you show admissions officers that you have a genuine interest and dedication to certain areas of study. This can help them see your potential as a student and contributor to their college community.
Remember, each college has its own specific guidelines and criteria for evaluating applications, so be sure to review their requirements before including any middle school achievements. Additionally, if you’re unsure about whether or not to include certain accomplishments, you can always reach out to the admissions office for guidance.
While your high school record will be the primary focus of college admissions officers, spotlighting meaningful middle school achievements can strengthen your application when done strategically. The key is choosing accomplishments that paint a picture of your passions, talents, leadership skills, and commitment to academics at an early age.
With thoughtful selections and compelling descriptions, your middle school achievements can help you stand out.