Swimming or volunteering?

Hey everyone :slight_smile:
Even though I’m a freshman in high school, I have terrible anxiety about college. Yale has always been the dream school in the back of my mind, and the school I can see myself making an impact at. But there’s a small problem.
My only extracurricular (excluding six clubs) is dance. At the moment I take two ballet classes, two pointe classes, a jazz class, a tap class, a company (audition) class, and I Assistant teach for two levels, as well as assisting in a mommy and me class and a stretch class. It takes up a good amount of my time, and by the time I apply to college I will have been a dancer for fifteen years.
I am, however, naturally good at swimming. I don’t say this to brag, just to mention that I could enter at a fairly high level. I have a school team which two coaches have asked me multiple times to join. It’s something I think I would enjoy, but they practice six times a week.
My other option is volunteering. All of my pets have been adopted, and my puppy had five homes before we adopted him, so I’m very passionate about rescue animals. It’s something I would definitely enjoy doing, and my local MSPCA needs volunteers.
These are both options I am passionate about, but dance is still my main focus and I cannot fit both into my schedule. This very long post has been a way for me to ask which is the better choice, lasting-impact wise?

The one you enjoy more.

That said, I would think that it would be easier to schedule volunteer hours around your dance schedule that to schedule swim practices. Swim, as with any sport, requires commitment, and a fairly time-consuming and structured one at that. Unless you’re being recruited for swimming, one versus the other will make no differences to colleges.

6 clubs is a lot of clubs, and certainly count as EC’s. You might want to consider jettisoning those that are less meaningful to you. More does not equal better.

Agree with above poster. Do what you will enjoy. I gave up swimming because of the rigorous practice and meet schedules. But if you think you will get recruited (check the team standards / records etc), may be worth it.

This made me laugh out loud, or at least, chortle. I guess you mean that the six clubs don’t involve great physical effort or perhaps the time commitment you’ve made to dance.

It seems that you love dance. You quite possibly would be a standout swimmer, locally, but it isn’t that likely that your times would rank nationally. So, I wouldn’t do it as a “ticket” to possibly being recruited; that seems a long shot.

I agree with the posters who have emphasized that you should do what you love. Fwiw, that seems to be dancing. I would give up some clubs if they’re not giving you sufficient gratification. By all means, volunteer at an animal rescue, but do it because you are passionate about it, not because a college might look favorably on it.

Good luck, and relax. You’re a freshman in HS. Yale is a wonderful school, but you probably would be happier if you didn’t have a dream school right now.

The one you enjoy MORE is the better choice.

Colleges understand that students taking a rigorous course schedule must spend 3 to 4 hours a night on homework. That leaves about 20 hours a week to devote to extracurricular activities. When you complete your EC list, college’s ask you to list your EC’s in the order of importance to you – and they are looking for something very specific, no matter what activities you list. What is it? A long-time commitment to 1-4 activities outside of the classroom. The idea is that a student’s commitment, drive and energy to something beyond academics is a transferable skill that might be applied to another activity in college or later in life.

Try this exercise: Spend a week adding up the time you spend in the bathroom, including showering and using the toilet. I guarantee it adds up to more than one hour a week – and maybe even two hours. Bottom line: Even though you may have participated in 6 clubs, you should not list an EC on the Common Application that takes up LESS time than you spend using the bathroom each week.

Lastly, understand that many students (including my son) are accepted to Yale with only several extracurricular activities. For example, my son only had two EC’s on his resume: Varsity baseball (non-recruit) and computer science, but he spent about 15-18 hours a week devoted to each of those activities during the fall, winter and spring. As such, he did not have any time to volunteer or gain service experience, but that didn’t stop him from being accepted to Yale because his energy, time and commitment to those activities were evident in his application.

I agree with those who say do the activity that you enjoy most, and I also agree that trying to maintain dance at your current level would make it pretty difficult (if not impossible) to take up a competitive sport.