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Does it really look bad for Asians to play violin and/or piano?

dddddd Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
edited May 2008 in College Admissions
I've heard that admissions officers don't count the stereotypical EC activities among Asians like violin and piano very heavily even if he or she has achieved many awards from it because it is so common among Asians.

So do admissions officers really see Asian violinists and/or pianists as dull and hackneyed (even if he or she is very accomplished at it)?
Post edited by ddd on

Replies to: Does it really look bad for Asians to play violin and/or piano?

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    ABsolutely, postively not. It is not worse for Asians to have violin/piano as a main EC than it is for anyone else. The only exception I know to that statement are those kids who overcome enormous challenges to play those instruments.

    The issue with violin/piano proficiency is that the top schools have soooo many kids that are good in those instruments. They don't NEED them and don't have to want them because they are just there. By accepting the best applicant without consideration for those music skills, there are schools that still can fill their orchestras, and music classes. Also because there are so many kids that are very proficient in those instruments, it is hard to stand out. THere are kids who are soloists and renowned for their musical abilities. When you are in that group, you are just one of many being in the state orchestra, the concert master, or having one a young artist competition. It does not count less than any other activity that may be on the resume; but it is not going to be a hook unless it stands out in that category.

    The same go for athletes who are not going to be on a college NCAA team. Yes, schools like to see athletes, they certainly do not discount the athletic activities on the resume, but it carries no where near the clout as athlete who is going to be able to compete on the collegiate level.

    The problem is how high the bar is to be considered "very accomplished" in those activities.
  • Hippo724Hippo724 Registered User Posts: 897 Member
    I play the viola, the overly neglected cousin to the violin. Violas are not by any means "rare" instruments as they are a standard member of any string orchestra, however, very few people (relatively) play it compared to violin/cello and even arguably the double bass.

    Does this make me stand out more or is it regarded as just another string instrument?
  • KeshiraKeshira Registered User Posts: 1,148 Senior Member
    It makes you stand out more than if you played violin, definitely. Simply because there are less viola players. Your skill is rarer and therefore more desirable to colleges looking for diversity of talents.

    Technically, having a skill should not be considered a disadvantage, but Asians who play classical instruments and and/or have a strong math/science inclination in ECs may trigger subconscious stereotypes of Asians as uninspired plodders, which would not be a good thing. Best, in the case of admissions, to present a more 'unique' application. Of course, college admissions is not a good reason to start or stop playing an instrument, or change other extracurriculars, but do make sure, if you're at a risk of falling into the "Asian stereotype," to counter that image with inspired, creative essays. Admissions officers would then be more willing to imagine that your violin playing is also inspired and emotive, rather than "dull" or "hackneyed."
This discussion has been closed.