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Are Multiple Passions Bad?

DataBoxDataBox 1630 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
edited June 2009 in College Admissions
Hey Guys,

I initially posted this thread in the "What Are My Chances" sub-forum, but then realized that the topic may be more appropriate to discuss on this sub-forum.

So essentially, I am a rising junior and was wondering if having multiple passions is a bad thing. I am quite passionate about both mathematics and government/international relations and pursue both fervently, however, I was wondering if it makes me look as if I am spreading myself too thin. I have included a very brief overview of my stats for your reference:

GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.3 W
Rank: 1/470
Mock SAT/ACT Ranges (w/o prep): 2200-2350/35-36
APs (so far): 5, expecting 5's (will have taken at least 10 APs by the end of junior year along with four post AP level math/physics courses)

Significant Awards: USAMO Qualifier x 2, Congressional Award- Silver Medalist, AMC Perfect Scorer, AMC School Winner x2, CAML Perfect Scorer/CA State Winner, ARML 2nd Place (2009), 4th Place (2008), mathleage.org 2nd Place Winner, Best Delegate at Stanford MUN Conference 2008, Best Delegate at Harvard Model Congress Conference 2008, Outstanding Delegate at Davis MUN Conference 2008, Honorable Mention at Stanford MUN Conference 2007 , Distinguished Delegate at Harvard Model Congress 2008, Swimming MVP, Received the top student in department award for 4/5 departments last year (i.e. English, History, Math, Science)

Main EC's:
1. Class President (6,8,9,10,11)
2. Math Club President (9,10,11)
3. Harvard Model Congress President (9,10,11)
4. Site Council/Youth Advisory Council (9,10,11)
5. Varsity Water Polo, Swimming (9,10,11)
6. Community Service Work (Over 300 hours volunteering in libraries and tutoring socioeconomically disadvantaged children/Designed and executed a three week day program to educate orphans in rural villages in India (Am currently fundraising for the orphanage))
7. Model United Nations Vice President (9,10,11)
8. High School Mathematics Examination President (9,10,11) (Spearheading a mathematics contest for 10-25 local middle schools, scheduled to be held in early October)
9. Congressional Internship (10,11)
10. Science Research (10,11)

Thanks for your kind assistance!
edited June 2009
37 replies
Post edited by DataBox on
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Replies to: Are Multiple Passions Bad?

  • dirdirdirdir 113 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    I have multiple passions too, math and debate. I've been wondering about this too, though a problem I can see is that you can only write about one of your passions for your essay, so the other one(s) become just another EC with a bunch of significant awards.
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  • sgtpepper08sgtpepper08 522 replies44 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 566 Member
    i can't see how these two passions will hurt you. it depends on where you're applying, but most people i know don't just focus on one passion. you seem to have pursued them both equally and obviously you do both well. if you really love it, then it will shine through on your application. colleges know when applicants are trying to fabricate passions.
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  • ChasingStarlightChasingStarlight 439 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 545 Member
    just shows you're versatile. no big deal.
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  • DwightEisenhowerDwightEisenhower 1677 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,704 Senior Member
    I'm the same deal and I think I even posted a topic like this a year ago when I was worried about this. It'll only hurt if you present either one superficially in your application. Having two passions means you should make sure you "cover" them both well.
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  • pdawggypdawggy 186 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    In the college game, yes. In life, no.
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  • pdawggypdawggy 186 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    Umm, plus with those stats, you should be able to get in just about anywhere you want. Don't worry about it.
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  • DataBoxDataBox 1630 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    Thanks for all of your assistance!
    In the college game, yes. In life, no.

    That sums it up pretty well =)
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  • pdawggypdawggy 186 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    Wait, so did you take AP physics and AP calc as a sophomore? Impressive.
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  • DwightEisenhowerDwightEisenhower 1677 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,704 Senior Member
    In the college game, yes.

    Disagree. On my Yale acceptance I had a note written from my regional admissions officer complimenting me on my commitment to diverse interests and balance thereof. The key is presenting your multiple passions well so that it doesn't appear thinly spread out.

    Edit: It might have been an invitation to an admitted students night that had the note. I don't remember.
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  • DataBoxDataBox 1630 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    Wait, so did you take AP physics and AP calc as a sophomore? Impressive.

    Yes, as far as sciences are concerned I took AP Calculus BC, AP Physics B, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP Physics C: E&M, AP Biology, Multivariable Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra this year.

    Furthermore, I intend to have taken AP English Language, AP US History, AP Chemistry, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Environmental Science, AP Statistics next year, Differential Equations, and Physics w/ Calculus III by the end of Junior year.
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  • jessiehljessiehl 3296 replies32 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,328 Senior Member
    No, multiple passions will not hurt you. This idea that you have to care about one thing and only one thing is a pernicious myth.
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  • itryitry 480 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 548 Member
    It kind of does because I read articles about how people who were virtually president of everything, perfect grades, valedictorian, class president, and a few billion hours of volunteer work applied to Ivies and got rejected. But then there was this kid who wasnt really part of many clubs at all started his own photography business to support his family who got in. Dont believe me?

    WikiAnswers - How do you get into Stanford University

    Yes I do know it is a wiki article but trust me, you will like it (at least some of you will)
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  • itryitry 480 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 548 Member
    I think its okay if you have multiplee passions meaning one or two, but if you show a "passion" for everything, you have a passion for nothing. Just think of it as life. Colleges dont want the kids who do everything possible, they want kids who will actually do something they have great interest for in their future.
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  • LophotrochozoaLophotrochozoa 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I don't see anything wrong with having more than one passion. :P That's why double majors exist, for people like you who want to follow more than one strict path (not that you HAVE to double, but it's a possibility).

    Just be genuine. If it's something that you love, make it clear that you love it, and WHY you love it. From your activities, it seems clear that you enjoy politics and mathematics. Colleges don't just want people who only see one way and one way only; they want people who are well rounded and have an open mind.

    Not to mention, I think it's a really interesting combination of interests you've got there...
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  • DataBoxDataBox 1630 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    I would love to double major if I were given the opportunity to do so! Thanks for all of the assistance, I really appreciate your advice. Also, will the fact that I take a lot of science classes and am involved with science research hurt me? (as science is really something that's associated with math/politics but I still love pursuing it)
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  • itryitry 480 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 548 Member
    Just find something you like a lot and work on that instead of doing everything. One or two and you'll be fine. You Do MUN and MC, so focus on government and the like.
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  • DataBoxDataBox 1630 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    ^Hmmm...what makes you think that? My primary activities are mathematics based (i'm a highly ranked mathematician who has won several significant competitions and tournaments). Also, how is what I'm doing, everything? I appreciate the advice and would love it if you could elaborate a bit.
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  • locknlockn 2990 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,033 Senior Member
    It kind of does because I read articles about how people who were virtually president of everything, perfect grades, valedictorian, class president, and a few billion hours of volunteer work applied to Ivies and got rejected.
    The fact this this is considered to be an event worth writing about shows that it helps very much. Almost everyone is rejected, but people like that have much better odds.

    Really, for someone applying to a top school, DataBox couldn't possibly be in a better position. It would be surprising if he were rejected from Caltech, and he'll probably get into at least one of HYPSM. I mean, USAMO and class president? How often do you think they see both of those on the same resume?
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  • pdawggypdawggy 186 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    I find it intriguing that any high schooler can even reach differential equations and Post AP physics. Can you even take those classes at your HS?
    You must be quite a gifted young man.
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  • itryitry 480 replies68 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 548 Member
    Oh im sorry DataBox. I wasnt aiming that towards you. Im just ****ed because there are all these kids at school going around like, "Oh i am in this club and that. Just doing this club gets you a 5% better chance into Ivies. I dont care if I dont lke this club or that one, i am just doing it to get into college."

    Just putting out there for people like that.
    What specifically in math? Business clubs maybe. Do you have FBLA in your school? if not search it and bring it to your school.
    If you like math, try looking at Princeton U courses.
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