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Breadth vs. Depth

MurasakiMurasaki Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
edited January 2006 in College Admissions
I've heard before that a lot of colleges like to see dedication in activities in preference to amount. Most people I've seen post actually whole lot of activities that they spend a whole lot of time in, meaning they have both. Is it a bad thing if I've only got like, 3 or 4 but I spend a whole lot of time on them, or does it not matter?
Post edited by Murasaki on
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Replies to: Breadth vs. Depth

  • kcirschkcirsch Registered User Posts: 2,265 Senior Member
    At some point, you have to choose. You obviously can't spend 20 hours/week on 10 different activities.
  • Shark_biteShark_bite Registered User Posts: 1,561 Senior Member
    I'm spending all my time on 10 activities 20 hours a week. its driving me insane, and probebly wont help for colleges, but i like the ecs im in and im willing to put in the time. of course when it gets to days like tommorow when school ends at 1:30, i goto nhs till 2, then this culture club im founding, and then mock trial for 2 hours and then mock trial again for 2 hours (in a row) i might be marching to the beat of a different drum. i havnt spent as much time on this site because of it. oh well.

    sorry, i just have to complain. but yeah, colleges easily prefer your approach. depth not breadth. but both is better.
  • MurasakiMurasaki Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    yeah, I see what you mean. How important do you think it is to the application in general?
  • xChi_TowNxxChi_TowNx Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    remember though that most colleges look at 70% academic and 30% extracurricular. The ECs are used to distinguish the many 4.0's that they'll be getting
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Where did you get those numbers xChi_TowNx?
  • xChi_TowNxxChi_TowNx Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    i'll admit that those numbers are based on hearsay from most of those college admissions books. The only source I can think of from the top of my head is Michelle Rodriguez's "Acing the College Application"
    Actual percentages may differ, but from various books and interviews with "former" adcoms, most colleges usually see if you can do the work, and look to your Ecs to define you.
    Now, for special cases, those percentages are off, but these numbers are for the average applicant w/ good SATs and grades
  • MurasakiMurasaki Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    I appreciate that information; it's really helpful.
  • dufus3709dufus3709 Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    I don't think there is a college admission guide in existence that doesn't use the words "well rounded" and "passion".

    Colleges want well rounded freshman classes, but not well rounded freshmen. You want to show long-term commitment and passion in one or two activities rather than a long list of activities without much involvement in any of them.
  • MurasakiMurasaki Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    Is there a standard of long term commitment that will stand out, eg being able to make a personal statement of growth or something based on that commitment?
  • xChi_TowNxxChi_TowNx Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    it really depends...sometimes long-term comitment can be evident clearly visible goals, such as national teams or national award-winning research...
    other times, like community service, your comitment may not be evident when you put it down on paper, so if you have done something extra-ordinary within your community, by all intents and purposes you should put it down.
    I agree that colleges are looking for people with passion and not merely 'jack of all trades'. For example, during my SAT some students from the really elite private school in my area were saying how you could run this computer program from SETI (yes, the alien searchers) on your computer for two months and you would have two months of 'scientific research' for your resume.
    As for personal statements, if you can move beyond the 'outward bound' or 'amnesty international' formats when writing about ECs, by all means do it. In my PE, I talked about my participation in two ECs that had conflicting viewpoints (jocks and 'geeks'). If you can make it come across as passioniate and the voice of the essay is 'you', then the PE can be a good way to demonstrate your passion and comitment.
  • MurasakiMurasaki Registered User Posts: 2,146 Senior Member
    ah, alright. I'll keep all of this in mind. I think I've got a good base of activity(ies) I'm commited to that are worth talking about
  • xChi_TowNxxChi_TowNx Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    lol good luck then
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Colleges want well rounded freshman classes, but not well rounded freshmen. You want to show long-term commitment and passion in one or two activities rather than a long list of activities without much involvement in any of them.
    Please note that this mostly applies to highly-selective universities and liberal arts colleges where at the latter the sense of community is further emphasized. Most state universities admit based on numbers solely. (Exceptions include places like Berkeley, UCLA, and others.)

    Also, in addition to the often-spewed information from the above posts, I'd like to note that having a hook doesn't necessarily mean having a nationally-ranked EC as xChi_TowNx mentions in his/her post on commitment to ECs. Having fantastic essays or a multi-dimensional persona that resonates from your seemingly 2-D sheets of paper is certainly valuable.
  • xChi_TowNxxChi_TowNx Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    lol thanks nom, i forgot about the persona.
    lol i just thought the word National stands out more IMHO
    (guess i'm wrong if it's National Who's Who book lol)
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Well if you try hard enough, you can make things international - find a friend in some obscure country, willing to participate in an ancient game whose name can no longer be pronounced and call it a tourney with three players.

    Sounds like a plan to me.
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