Can You Put Middle School Achievements on College Application?

When it comes to college applications, it is so important to put your best face forward. And part of that involves highlighting your achievements. So often we are asked by our students if you can, and should, include your middle school awards and activities on your college applications. The short answer is no, you should not. Pre-high school accomplishments are really not relevant to the college admissions process. Admissions officers are focusing on what you did in 9th through 12th grade. In general, they do not care to see what you did before you started high school. There are, however, two qualifiers to this: participating in long-standing activities and playing high school sports.

Long-Standing Activities

If you have been involved in a specific activity over a long period of time that extended into high school, then you should include those early dates on your college application. For example, if you were involved with the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts starting at a young age, then you should include the date of the beginning of that involvement, whether you started in middle school or prior, on the activities section of the application. The same holds true for things like gymnastics, playing a musical instrument, or other interests or volunteer work – provided your involvement started prior to, and continued into, high school. Colleges will want to see that you are passionate about an activity and that you committed to sticking with it for a long time. It is also acceptable to include any awards you received for these activities during those pre-high school years.

Playing on a High School Team While in Middle School

Quite often talented athletes “play up” while in middle school, meaning that they are brought up to play on the high school teams. If this is your situation, you should definitely indicate this middle school activity on your college application. It is an honor that can help you stand out in a pool of applicants.

In summary, if your middle school activities and achievements don’t fall within the above two qualifiers, don’t put them on your college applications.

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