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How important are activities other than sports for the recruited Ivy student?

Flinnt12Flinnt12 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
Now that it is application time and pre-reads are green, etc. My student thinks it's odd to have the recruited sport as the only activity listed on the college application. But the truth of the matter is that other than the practice times which are 4 hours per day 6 days per week and school work, that really is the only activity that time allows. Is that a problem or is the obvious answer that admissions recognizes that is why the student was recruited?

Any advice helpful. Thanks.

Replies to: How important are activities other than sports for the recruited Ivy student?

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 3,263 Senior Member
    So no part time job or volunteering? The athletes I know of who also have high test scores seem to be involved in a few other things well. Not as many activities as non athletes, but not zero activities.
  • nhparent9nhparent9 Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    If your student is truly a recruited athlete who will receive coach support in admissions and a likely letter, I don't think it will be much of a problem. If it was to be a problem, I would hope the coach and/or the pre-read would have indicated that during the process.
  • Flinnt12Flinnt12 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    Coaching as a part-time job ~4 hours per week. And while there definitely has been volunteering it is more of the 1 week spent volunteering here or there plus occasional help with races, etc. Nothing on a steady weekly basis. Would you consider non-weekly activities as appropriate in that spot?
  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Registered User Posts: 4,461 Senior Member
    Definitely list the one week volunteer stints on the application. Were there any school activities other than sports?
  • Flinnt12Flinnt12 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    @siliconvalleymom no on other activities at school - sport is actually a club sport not school (gymnastics). With 28 hours per week of practice and working (additional 6 in travel to and from), really no other time with a rigorous academic program. My gut says will be ok with coach support but it does look odd. Many at that level don't attend school full time and therefore practice even longer per week so I can't imagine the norm in the sport is to have other activities
  • PerpetualWorrierPerpetualWorrier Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    edited September 2016
    @Flinnt12 I can relate. My D was a Level 10 gymnast. Until she switched sports in the middle of sophomore year, she was also at the gym 30 hours/week (plus competition/travel) and there really was NO time for much more than school/gym/eat/sleep. I think it's amazing your D has kept it up through her entire HS career. Kudos to her!
    I would imagine that if your D is being recruited, that other ECs are a non issue. Girls at D's gym were all pretty much in the same boat. From what I've seen, if the gymnastics, grades, and scores are good enough, your D should be totally fine. I think she should mention the volunteering/coaching as it will demonstrate that she was willing something extra with what precious little free time she had.
    Anyhow, I'm no expert. I'm mostly just dropping in because I have a soft spot for gymnasts and wanted to wish your daughter good luck!
  • Flinnt12Flinnt12 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    @PerpetualWorrier Thank you. My gut thinks it should be fine but I too am a perpetual worrier. Probably won't stop until likely letter is in hand. She did add the coaching and will suggest she add the sporadic volunteer hours as well (indicated a such - don't want to overstate/over imply). The early recruiting in gymnastics was hideous so. Part of me wishes she gave it up and switched to something sane like golf :).
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Forum Champion Athletic Recruits Posts: 2,481 Forum Champion
    If she is a supported recruit it likely won't matter at all. The schools are aware of the commitment necessary to compete at that level.
  • tonymomtonymom Registered User Posts: 1,172 Senior Member
    My son's school had a required service hour element to their grading so he plugged away at that while practicing/competing 25+ hours a week. He ended up really enjoying the service agency he connected with.....
    I think it does help to have something other than sports on your list of activities even if you are recruited athlete.
  • bluewater2015bluewater2015 Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    I also think that, for a supported Ivy recruit who already had a positive pre-read from admissions, this shouldn't be an issue. I think at that point, the only things that would be likely to derail acceptance are bad essays or bad letters of recommendation, which aren't part of the pre-read. This is possible but my sense is it's pretty unusual.

    Obviously some ECs other than sports would be ideal, but I think admissions understands the time it takes to be good enough at a sport to be a supported recruit.

    For those earlier in high school, the focus on sports does involve some risk of course - spending lots of time on something that will be just another EC, if the student doesn't end up being good enough to be a supported recruit.
  • classicalmamaclassicalmama Registered User Posts: 2,261 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    It's interesting reading the posts above. I'm feeling thankful that my kids were able to participate in sports through varsity squads and summer programs. Between summer jobs, other sports teams, and e.c.'s, they filled that list up pretty easily. It was partly because they went to high schools that accommodated athletes' schedules--one son's music ensemble practiced in the evenings after practices were done; the other son's speech season was squeezed, with a few weeks overlap, between winter and spring competitive sports seasons.

    I can see how the club commitment would make it nearly impossible for other student-athletes, and I do think colleges look at overall hours spent on a meaningful activity or activities, not so much a number of activities--which is why the common app asks for hours spent per week.

    That said, the more a kid fits the typical profile of a student at a school, it just makes sense that the easier it is to get the athlete through admissions. This may not matter for the very tippy top recruits, but for those on the edge, it might make a difference to be meaningfully involved in other stuff. For example, my kids (according to reports from their coaches) got through the likely letter process quickly and easily, though they were not necessarily the tippy top recruits athletically. There are other athletes on their teams that the coaches had to fight for. I wonder if some of that latter group of athletes might not sometimes get replaced by similar athletes with better creds--whether that means test scores, GPA, course difficulty, or depth in other areas outside the sport.

  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase Registered User Posts: 500 Member

    I don't think additional ECs matter much if at all for a recruited athlete. One Ivy once said that the reason they consider ECs at all is they don't want students staying in their room studying all the time. That isn't a problem for the typical athlete.

    Let's take the non-athlete. If you look at the extensive EC lists some of the students publish in the "chance me" threads, you have to wonder. How much time could they have devoted to any one of these ECs? My suspicion is that some sign up for a club in the beginning of the year and do very little, and others participate in many "short" ECs, such as a one-day assistance with a high school blood drive. That makes the list look very long.

    So, as others have suggested, dig down. Volunteer judging, helping with the younger kids, her club may have had community programs that she participated in, perhaps she participated in fund raising for her club. All that counts.

    Remember, a college is looking for depth of commitment, not shallow commitment over a variety of activities.

    She'll be fine.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,925 Senior Member
    ^^I think that's why the common app only allows you to list 10 activities. Pick the 10 most important ones, the ones you did the longest, the ones you liked the most. If you have 20 or 30 activities of equal value, none of them is probably that important.
  • 2plus2ition2plus2ition Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    I know right now your thoughts are understandably dominated by finding the right fit for college and just getting in, but it's important to note this balance issue applies during college too. Your student will be very busy doing classes and the sport but will still want and need to find some other activities to enrich the college experience and make a difference.

    It is always best to have done well in school and in the sport(s) while also finding ways to be engaged in your school or community.

    It looks like you are targeting a competitive school(s). The culture at most of those is not to be too one-dimensional but rather to experience a variety of activities and experiences. You will probably be on a team with people able to juggle the schoolwork, the sports, a social life and some good volunteer or internship experiences.

    If you are just starting senior year it is never too early to practice doing that. If the activity is its own reward then your child may want to try to add something now just to get more practice at juggling and multi-tasking. Maybe there is something s/he always wanted to try but never had the time. Make that time now.

    Yes, there will be certain things you cannot do in college due to the time constraints but that still leaves a ton of possible experiences to enrich the 4 years. Most of the kids on this board do non-revenue sports (mine too) and are not going pro in those sports. At the Ivies, even the revenue sports are non-revenue. So play your sport and enjoy it to the max, but don't miss out on college for the sake of it. Future employers and grad schools also want to see that well-roundedness, so get involved!. Good luck!!
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