Should I give up on ivy dreams and do what I love?

So I’m at crossroads as I begin my junior year. I’m Canadian so I’d be an international applicant but I’ve always wanted to apply to the ivies. I’m a great student academically, with a 43+ predicted IB score and a 35 on the ACT. However, my main extracurricular has always been cross country/track. I’ve done it since 7th grade although I was never really thrilled about it. It was one of the only sports that I became really good at. Heading into my junior year, it’s likely I’d become team captain even though my times have dropped this past year. I’ve realized I absolutely despise the sport and never look forward to running. I don’t have a passion, just mere natural talent. To be clear I’m not ‘recruiting’ good. I really want to drop out of the sport especially considering the time commitment involved. However it’s one of my only ECs that show heavy commitment. Over the past year I’ve also faced body dismorphia over how skinny I’ve become doing the sport. I feel like I’d be a lot happier if I neVer had to do the sport again. But it seems like it’s one of my ‘hooks.’ As an international student I already know that my chances are extremely low and I feel like I’m just wasting my time on some dream that’s not bound to happen

P.S. If I drop out of track I really wanted to join boxing/jiu-jitsu but I was told it doesn’t look good on a college application and it’s unlikely that in these two years I’d rack up any accomplishments or leadership positions the way I could do with track.

What do you want to study ?

Any career plans ?

I want to go into medicine and so in the back of my head I’ve always had this sort of backup plan where I do my undergrad in Canada and apply to an ivy medical school afterwards. But at the same time, realize that Canadian schools have a much lower recruitment requirement than the US. Many athletes with my times have been offered scholarships so I was thinking about sticking with it just for the possibility of a scholarship but that’s still only a possibility.

OP: In your original post in this thread, you wrote:

“To be clear, I’m not “recruiting” good.”

In your second post, you wrote:

“Many athletes with my times have been offered scholarships…”

P.S. With respect to medicine, what does “recruitment requirement” mean ?

If you plan on attending medical school, almost any college or university will suffice for pre-med studies in the US as US medical schools are most concerned about high GPAs & MCAT scores in addition to a couple of other factors (e.g., demonstrated interest & interviews & recs).

In the US, medical school is expensive. Many graduate with medical school debt well above $300,000 US dollars. Some above $400,000.

Are Canadian medical schools expensive for Canadian or provincial residents ?

In Canada, our universities aren’t that competitive athletically compared to the states. For example, where Harvard would require a 14 minute 5k to be recruited, many Canadian universities will recruit athletes with 16 minute 5k. I currently run around a 16:45 meaning it’s impossible to be recruited by the ivies, but there’s a chance at some Canadian unis

You can do what you love and have Ivy dreams. They are not mutually exclusive. If running competitively is resulting in distorted body image, that is reason alone to move on and do something else. If you take up a different athletic activity or something else to occupy your free time, two years left in HS is sufficient to show commitment. But even if it weren’t, you should take care of your physical and mental health first.

Your academic stats look excellent so you should have many choices for college if you maintain your current trajectory. Best of luck to you.

Canadian med schools and universities in general are a lot cheaper than American unis. It’s about a 1/3 of the price annually. However I’ve been told that pre-med unis don’t matter unless it’s an ivy or something of that prestige.

Don’t choose your activities based on what you think looks good on a college application. If you want to quit track and do boxing then you should do it. Track is not a hook if you are not recruitable. It’s just an EC like any other EC.

Just because the odds are so difficult, you probably won’t get accepted to an Ivy. How will you feel if you kept track for just that purpose and then you still didn’t get in? It’s better to just do what you want. If what you want, is not what they want, then you probably would be happier somewhere else anyway.

You’ve answered your own question. You despise it, have developed a disorder, and want to quit.

Quit. Doing something you hate on the mistaken belief that it‘s a hook is a great reason to not do that thing. Your odds of getting in are ridiculously low anyway. Life is too short to do things you don’t care about.

Completely agree! I think it’s a terrible mistake to make every decision in high school only to be able to attend an ivy. Most people will not be admitted to an ivy. The odds are incredibly low. I would not make yourself unhappy trying to reach that goal, especially if it’s hurting your mental and physical health. Do something you think you’ll like instead. Personally I think college applications that are interesting are more compelling than those who just try to check all the boxes.

And I’m not suggesting by giving up on running that you are giving up on your dreams of an ivy. I honestly don’t think it matters. Doing something your interested in matters.

Maybe this is kind of left field but “why I gave up something I was really good at” could be an interesting basis for an essay topic too.

Not sure we know enough about you to give advice. Track is a good EC, a team thing, and you’ve done it two years. Sometimes, kids have enough other activities (of the right sorts, depth and breadth,) that it’s fine to drop one. Other times, they’re not in that position, with respect to applying to a top college.

So, it’s less about dropping track, per se, and more about what ECs that leaves you with. (More than just what you “like.”) Nothing really wrong with boxing or jiu jitsu. Just that they’re more individual.

Doesn’t sound like you want to be recruited, would want that commitment in college. Alone, track is good, but not a tip.

True, it’s tough to get an admit as an international- and harder for kids from the English speaking nations, on the whole, because of the volume who apply. Also remember the Ivies don’t offer scholarships, just need-based aid and you want to check any US college’s policies on fin aid to internationals.

“You can do what you love and have Ivy dreams.”

I agree with this. I have for a long time advocated that you should participate in the extracurricular activities that you want to participate in. This approach is what I did, and it did get me into highly ranked US schools (as a Canadian).

However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

One is that if you want to become a doctor, then you need to budget for 8 years. Canada and the US both have great universities. For a Canadian, the ones in Canada are a LOT less expensive – less than 1/4 the price. Do not forget the exchange rate when looking at prices.

Also, premed classes are tough. The majority of students who start off intending to be premed change their mind before they get to applying to medical schools, and the majority of students who apply to medical schools do not get in anywhere. Therefore there is a good chance that you will end up doing something else. It would be a lot easier to start doing something else if you are not starting with a huge debt. Of course if you do end up attending and paying for medical school having no debt when you graduate with your bachelor’s is also very helpful. Having money left in the college fund is even better.

At least in my experience Canadian employers prefer to hire from the excellent Canadian universities, and US employers prefer to hire people who have the legal right to work in the US. This can be awkward for a Canadian who graduates from a US school. I do understand that there are other countries in the world where having a degree from a US university is a good thing, but Canada is not one of them.

I would not continue an activity that you do not like that is causing your health issues just to try to apply to an Ivy League school. Keep up the great work academically, and do what you love.