How important are rankings and awards?

<p>If an applicant has a passionate EC (in my case, martial arts every day for almost my whole life), but doesn't compete in it (martial arts tournaments have become increasingly about flashy non-traditional, non-combat skills, so my dojo doesn't compete anymore), is it still seen in the same light as a national/state ranking if I have the same commitment?</p>

<p>I would doubt it :(
I mean, how would you tell them? You can say you've done it X years, but if you have X years and Y awards, that shows you're a serious martial artist.</p>

<p>I mean, I've played piano for eight and a half years. My friend's played for eight years, plus number 1 in all of Ohio, number 6 in the USA. Which EC would you rather have?</p>

<p>I agree with ccesssu that rankings and awards are preferred to not having them, all other things being equal. But you don't need to be a nationally-ranked martial arts expert or pianist to get into most schools. In most cases, your martial arts are only an extra, something else to show the admissions people you can commit and you care. What they care more about is that you have the academics and are a good person that they would want to have around.</p>

<p>If you can show your passion in your essays and in an extra letter of recommendation by your martial arts teacher, I think that would be about as good. My son got into Caltech, presumably based on his math summer camps, a program he wrote for a teacher, and an essay on his passion for math, even though he had never done any math competition at all.</p>