As freshmen and sophomores in high school, college admissions is focused on being eligible for application. The academic classes that need completing (also known as A-G requirements for the UC & CSU systems), as well as extracurricular activities that are included in any college application means that most applicants are going to start looking the same–well-rounded individuals with the same qualifications. The extracurricular activities that the student chooses according to his/her interests will help distinguish them from the pack eventually. That’s the difficulty in college admissions, just given how the process is set up. Everyone must meet a basic set of criteria, with limited choices–and then by the time the applicant is a senior, he/she is now struggling to distinguish themselves in their essays, so amongst the other 1000’s of applications, they can be competitive for admissions.