I talked last time about the importance of volunteering. One reader wanted to know if they had lots of good volunteering if it would outweigh some lower grades. And the answer is
Volunteering is very important. But your grades, and the classes you take to get those grades, are the most important factor in college admissions at almost every college in the country.
When you are considering selective colleges or BS/MD programs the starting point is the requirement to have good grades and, at most colleges, good test scores. But after establishing that you have those things, colleges will then look at everything else, including volunteering to make admissions decisions. But nothing outweighs strong grades. Not volunteering. Not research. Not even test scores.