Dropping ECs?

<p>My junior son is having a hard time balancing school and ECs this year. He is taking 3 AP classes, the rest honors, and is in marching band. He has NO free time. He has played baseball for several years and expects to make the JV team. He wants to drop baseball in the spring so he can focus on schoolwork and band/music. He doesn't expect to play BB in college, but does plan to stick with music. With SAT and AP exams this spring, his studying will only increase. I'm concerned he'll burn out if he doesn't free up his schedule. Baseball will require 2-5 hours after school every day, depending on games. So many students on this forum seem to juggle so many activities. How do they do it? Will his dropping sports to focus on academics and music "doom" him in in college admissions?</p>


<p>Nothing will doom your son in college admissions faster than a lack of focus on academics! And music is a fine EC--it was my D's main EC for her college apps. By all means, let him drop baseball this spring. You'll both breathe easier.</p>

<p>I agree with Ellemenope. Here is a comment from a Stanford Adcom (not verbatim):
"For ECs, we are looking for depth, not breadth. We want to see passion. It's fine to have just one or two ECs. Here is an example: a student whose main EC is music could be taking lessons, perform in the school orchestra and maybe tutor kids in music."That would show passion and that would be fine with us."</p>

<p>No one is ever doomed in college admissions - there are always other options.</p>

<p>I felt the same way you did last year - my daughter was struggling with her courseload and decided to give up most of her EC's. This year, she's taking a lighter but still challenging courseload. She understands that this may limit her college options but she has decided that she isn't aiming for the most selective colleges anyhow. She's pretty happy with the choices of schools she will have in her match and safety range. </p>

<p>Of course, not everyone would make the same choice --- and different kids are able to handle different levels of stress. So, I'd say you need to let your son decide what his goals are and how much time and effort he wants to put into reaching them.</p>

<p>Junior year is the toughest year in high school, IMO, and can be overwhelming if you're not careful. I think if your son wants to not do baseball, it is fine. If he were planning to play in college, that would be different. I know how you feel about dropping things. It is hard to let go of things, esp. in our society where everyone seems to do everything. But it is okay.</p>

<p>Faced with the question of academics and then a band/sports conflict, my S decided as a freshman not to pursue baseball. He'd never have been a star at that, and it woulda conflicted with too many music activities. He never regretted the decision (stayed in b-ball at the rec level) and did fine in college admissions.</p>

<p>And I agree, junior year is the toughest. He had a frustrating bunch of teachers, and the workload was brutal.</p>

<p>Best wishes to you.</p>

<p>I think you have gotten good advice from the responders to your post. I might add that we must take the info posted here with a hefty grain of salt. I would hazard a guess that wild exaggeration is hardly uncommon. </p>

<p>Also remember that baseball is a spring sport. So come winter your son will have a better idea of how well baseball will fit into his schedule.</p>

<p>As a student I know how your son feels and its great that you are supporting him. My junior year I overloaded on APs and was stressing all the time about projects, tests, etc. I was a <em>star</em> softball player, being team captain my sophomore year and having the highest batting average in the county. I was also their highly depended upon goalie for our field hockey team. When the time came to start, I did. After about two weeks, I said, nope, can't do this! My coach was extremely angry with me, but she had never understood my priorities. My parents were extremely angry with me as they thought that sports were <em>essiential</em> to college admission. I thought and thought, but decided to go against both of them and quit all sports. For what I got out of them, it was just too much of a time commitment.(three hour practices six days a week or games that kept me out til 9pm three times a week) I didn't really love the sports and didn't intend on playing in college. </p>

<p>So here I am my senior year, with myself into many other things. I think that my extracurriculars are actually much stronger without the sports because I was able to dedicate more time to what I really cared about. </p>

<p>I would say, quit if he really wants to but don't quit everything. It is important to stay busy, because in college you won't have days to write a paper or hours to do a simple assignment... time pressure isn't always a bad thing.</p>

<p>Thanks for your support. Your replies reflect my own feelings. His Dad is having a harder time with this than I am... but he will stay with rec ball.
I don't think I'm exaggerating about the lack of free time - unless you call showers, eating, and 5-6 hours of sleep a night free time. We've been through 2 years of high school sports and have a very good idea of the time commitment required. My son plans on using his newfound "free time" to get involved in some volunteer work, something he is greatly lacking.</p>

<p>He might want to consider being a volunteer coach of a rec team of younger kids. My son is doing that now and loves it. It's only one practice and one game each week, so it's not a huge time commitment, but it's fun for him and the younger boys.</p>

<p>My son also dropped out of his two major sports in junior year. He had been spending November-July at daily 2-3 hour practices, and finally wore out. He was sick and tired.</p>

<p>Over the summer, he decided to focus on some new interests that he hadn't had time to develop with his sports schedule. His was able to make a great showing on scholastic teams in junior and senior years, and it worked out very well for him. </p>

<p>The initial change is tough on everyone; it may be the worst for dads! But, your son needs to be able to make his own decisions regarding extra-curriculars.</p>

<p>IMO freshmen and soph years are good times to explore a lot of ECs to see what one really likes. Junior and senior years are great times to focus on the activities that the student most enjoys. This is a great time to get depth in activities.</p>

<p>And, as others have said, colleges aren't looking for laundry lists of activities. Colleges are looking for depth and commitment. Pursuing one activity intensely is far better than juggling a dozen superficially. And, of course, grades are more important than are ECs.</p>

<p>How do you think colleges look at being extensively involved in an EC until your senior year, then backing off it almost completely? I did forensics for freshman through Junior years and competed at state and national levels and was team captain, but decided to cut competition from my Senior year because I'm satisfied with my accomplishments. Is that okay?</p>

I also think your son should drop baseball if he does not want to keep doing it. I can't see being invested time wise with what those type of activities involve (I know how much work it is for varsity sports, having an athlete in the house), that nobody should do them unless they are very much wishing to do so. I would not pick an activity because of college admissions and I would not reconsider dropping an activity because of college admissions either. I think the decision about how your son wants to use his nonacademic time should revolve around what he truly wants to do. I cannot see investing that time commitment in baseball this year if he is not truly wanting to do it for whatever reason. He sounds like someone who does not exactly waste his time and does engage in worthwhile endeavors and like you say, might redirect that time toward something else he also wishes to pursue instead. And music itself, if heavily immersed and dedicated, along with achievements, ALONE could have been enough. </p>

<p>I second what someone else wrote about the value of coaching a youth baseball team. In junior year, when circumstances beyond my D's control meant she was out of soccer for that year (after 11 years of this sport), she took that opportunity (or disappointment) and rechannelled it into coaching a fifth/sixth grade girls team and LOVED it. While she did become varsity starting goalie in twelfth grade, the youth coaching experience was so great to her that she ended up in a win-win situation and the whole experience (which I have only touched the surface on) was a source of one of her essays, as it turned out. I can see your son possibly doing that, again, if he WANTS to. I would not hold onto any activity just cause of college. I say get involved in where your passions lie, achieve what you can, commit, and whatever happens in college admissions, does. I would not pick/drop ECs over that issue. Have him go with his heart. </p>