Significant EC?

<p>I am on my high school's swim team and I don't know if this is normal for other swim teams or sports teams in general, but I spend an average of 27 hours a week during the season on swimming. I feel that this leaves little time for anything else between school, homework, family and swimming. Will college admissions officers at top schools realize that I may not have as many ECs as other applicants, but I spend a lot of time on swimming?</p>

<p>Unless you have an award to go with it or are being recruited, no one gives a crap. Sorry that's reality.
However, you can definitely write about swimming in your essay or something. That could be unique depending on what you focus on.</p>

<p>I believe that colleges will take the large time commitment that swimming takes up into account. Just remember that not all ECs need to be year-round; you could try being more heavily involved in other activities during the offseason and the summer.</p>

<p>Well I'm a varsity swimmer if that counts as an award. I do girl scouts, NHS, school floor hockey, mentor to autistic children, physics club and tutoring. Also I am in a band. But do to the time commitment, I cannot do ear round attendance required school clubs. Also I think that at top schools such as HYPMS, you don't have to be recruited for them to look at it, you just have to be doing something that you're passionate about, at least that's the impression I got.</p>


<p>ANYWAYS, to the OP. Colleges actually do "give a crap" about swimming so of course you should list it as an EC, especially since you had such a strong time committment to it. However, it doesn't count as an award - just an EC. You have a lot of other strong ECs such as physics club and tutoring so you're fine in that department.</p>

<p>Your ECs are fine. You have several sturdy ECs which you seem to be commited to, of which swimming is number one. Commitment is very important, and joining a bunch of clubs without doing much does not look good. So you are definitley okay right now.</p>

Also I think that at top schools such as HYPMS, you don't have to be recruited for them to look at it, you just have to be doing something that you're passionate about, at least that's the impression I got.

At the top schools you mention, the applicants that really stand out for swimming have probably been on the US Olympic team. Yes, that's really the level of the top competitors for the few thousand slots at the top schools. Of course most don't have that level of achievement, but to think that just because you spend 27 hours a week swimming that the elite colleges are going to count that as really special is fooling yourself.</p>

<p>The question about strong ECs comes up regularly; here's a thread with responses from Northstarmom, an alumni interviewer at Harvard -- <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I did not mean that my time swimming would make or break my app, but from what I heard at info sessions at some of these schools, they do not reserve spots for people based on athletics. I was just making a point against the thought that they wouldn't care about my swimming if I don't get recruited.</p>

<p>How do you spend 27 hours a week swimming and still not have any sort of awards for it? That's about four hours a day of practice--even football, the sport that probably takes the most time to organize and execute a practice for, generally doesn't take that much time during the school year.</p>

<p>That's the amount of time our team spends on swimming, so it isn't just me. We have 1.5 to 2 hour morning practices and then 2 to 3 hour after school practices. We get out of school at 3 and leave for the meet and we don't get back to our school until 9 usually. We have about 2 meets per week sometimes 3. Our team is unusually big 35 swimmers, so it makes getting varsity letters hard because you get points for being in meets and we can't put everyone in meets. Other than a letter, we don't even have awards. What kinds of awards were you refering to?</p>

<p>^ My guess: regional, state or national level competition. If you're practicing that much, surely you made the regional meet or state meet?</p>

<p>Our team usually makes states and regionals in an event or two. Even still, I don't know if you are familiar
with swimming, but there are 4 people in relays so our top 4 swimmers in that event go. I am not one of the best swimmers on our team so I don't go to states. The practice time is for our whole team, so in a way, yes, the time spent swimming reflects achivment but for our team as a whole.</p>

<p>I think mikemac has it exactly right. Yes, they want you to have a passion, but they want you to be highly accomplished in that arena. To have an extreme passion but not to accomplish anything out of the ordinary in it is not what HYP are looking for. At other schools it might impress more, but lets face it, if you spend a great deal of time on a sport at the expense of other things, they'll be looking for you to be recruitable.</p>

<p>Look at it this way, they are looking at achievement and figuring out who will really excel at something and make a difference in the world. So when they look at musicians they want someone who has gone way beyond the school orchestra, they want artists that have been shown in galleries and as mikemac says, you'll find many olympic athletes on ivy campuses. This is how they can count on many famous grads to keep their top image alive.</p>

<p>IsaacM I am familiar with swimming but there are also individual events like the 100 Fly, 200 IM etc. that individuals swim at regional and state level competitions if they make the cutoff time.</p>

<p>That's not that uncommon for swimming. On my club team everyone swims 1.5 hours before school and 3.5 after school. However, I would think you would be a club swimmer who is in an olympic development program of some sort.</p>

<p>like my basketball coach can spend 5 hours practicing shooting, but if your using the wrong form and wrong fundamentals...that was 5 hours of waisted time. you can spend 20 minutes shooting with the right form and make a lot more of an impact. </p>

<p>so if you really spend that much time swimming, it means nothing unless you have some kind of achievment/award out of it. otherwise its just waisted time and you have nothing to show for it. redivorys is right. thats reallity</p>

<p>Who says we are practicing wrong? You spend a lot of time swimming because it is an endurance sport, the difference between first and last place is seconds! I am sorry then, that I am not making my state cutoff, and not many people do, in our conference one Medley relay team made it and a 3 others made individual events at state level. I am sorry that I asked this question as it seems quite a ridiculous expectation of anyone to be an Olympic athlete if they wish to attend a top school, and have a sport that they enjoy, and spend a lot of time on, and to have people say that their time commitment is irrelevant.</p>

IsaacM writes: I am sorry that I asked this question as it seems quite a ridiculous expectation of anyone to be an Olympic athlete if they wish to attend a top school, and have a sport that they enjoy, and spend a lot of time on, and to have people say that their time commitment is irrelevant.

And I am sorry that you didn't get the slap on the back you were evidently looking for, to have everyone assure you that adcoms will "realize" what you've done and that you're going to be a great candidate for Ivy's and similarly selective schools. Nobody has said you have to be an Olympic athlete to get into a top school -- reading comprehension is an area that perhaps needs a bit of work? </p>

<p>What people are telling you is that the level of competition to get in to top schools is much higher than many people expect, that to have someone on the admissions committee sit and and take notice of a great EC does require a significant level of achievement, and Olympic-caliber applicants are not unheard of. "Member of swim team, 27 hours per week" is not going to do much more for you at top schools than listing "spend 27 hours per week copying the phone book". Both show commitment, but the top schools are not faced with a choice between those who show commitment and those who don't. They have a choice between those who show commitment and those who show commitment and achievement. </p>

<p>I gave you a link from a Harvard interviewer, which given your reply above you obviously did not bother to read, that lists what are strong ECs. You started the thread by stating that your 27 hours in the pool are stopping you from doing other significant ECs, so is that going to be enough? So I put it to you -- how does "member of swim team" compares to the following ECs commonly seen (according to an experienced Harvard interviewer) in people getting in top schools like Harvard with just one main EC:

State or nationally- ranked athlete
Professional musician who plays solo concerts at places like Carnegie Hall
National president of a student organization
Member of the local school board (such as being the only student on the school board)
The top individual scorer in the nation in an activity like Junior Classical League or Mu Alpha Theta
Research has been published in a professional journal</p>

<p>Has gotten paid for articles written for major publications such as national magazines or major newspapers (This doesn't include columns unless one was the winner of teen columnist scholarship that is awarded by something like Newsweek or Time)</p>

<p>Has created and organized a major service project such as getting a Habitat house built ,raising at least $10,000 or starting a nonprofit that clearly was started by the student, not their parents
Professional actor who has appeared in movies, big city theater or TV
Has done an out of state paid internship with a corporation
Spent a semester or year abroad in a select program like Rotary's program (The travel abroad programs that are based on ability to pay do not count as "excellent" ECs."</p>

<p>Created and runs their own business that makes thousands of dollars a year. (N.B. The business can't be really run by or created by their parents or other adults)


<p>In fact, I did read the post, however, I think that this is not a good representation of an entering class at top schools. Sure they do include people with these achievements, but I think that this is over sensationalized here. If you read decision posts, many accepted students do not have ECs from that list. However, many do say things such as ''biology club 2 hours a week'' which is why I asked if 27 hours would give me a bit of an edge even with my other ECs. If other students can be accepted with scores and grades similar to mine, have ECs that are normal and less time consuming than mine, why shouldn't mine count for more? And if my EC is so useless then how did they get in, with no mention of outstanding awards or hooks either, when everything is similar to mine?</p>