What's the Point of Extracurriculars?

<p>I know ECs can help ad coms learn about an applicant's leadership, dedication, etc.
But, what elso do colleges look for in your ECs? Are they looking for skills that you can use to enrich their campuses? Talents that will enhance their reputation? What else...?</p>

<p>They want to know who you are as a person behind those SAT/ AP scores and how you will contribute to their school. Not so much "Talents that will enhance their reputation" but more along the lines of leadership in certain organizations that you will continue in college.</p>

<p>Without EC only the smartest people might go to college... the horror</p>

<p>This is my opinion of ECs....</p>

<p>1) they won't typically make up for a "just a good" GPA/test score at an elite school unless you've published a best-seller or something.</p>

<p>2) If a top school has to choose between a student who got straight As and a 2400 SAT, but had no ECs, and a student who also had similar stats, but also was the captain of the volleyball team, the school will think that the 2nd child is really the smarter child - because she achieved the same without having to dedicate as much time to studies.</p>

<p>3) ECs make little difference at some state schools who must largely admit by an objective formula.</p>

<p>What if my ECs are of an academic nature?</p>

<p>I guess ECs also give more of an insight into the types of interests that you have and the things you are passionate in.
For example, my class selections, grades and SAT scores don't reflect my interests in piano and photography at all. My extracurriculars give me a chance to show college admission officers that I have more to offer besides good grades and test scores.
Plus, as mentioned before, they give a hint as to how you might fare as a leader in the school. Strong leadership positions in ECs show that you have a strong potential to be a great leader.</p>

<p>As long as you show dedication and passion in your ECs, as well as high achievement in them, colleges will not care if they are academic or athletic in nature.</p>

<p>What's the point of ECs? To have fun and devote time on things that interest you outside of school.</p>

<p>Why do colleges ask you about your ECs? To make sure you aren't a one-trick academic pony. </p>

<p>Top colleges are eschewing the stereotype that they are purely academic institutions burdened with making the very brightest, brighter. One of my friends--an anthropology major at Harvard--told me that college want to cultivate intellect. What they don't need are people who are already academic; college will make them so. No, rather, they want people who are emotionally mature, diversely accomplished, and innately interesting. This is because those are qualities they cannot cultivate, and are seemingly in very short supply.
In other words, they don't care all that much how smart you were in high school, because what you learn in college will soon eclipse all high school-level academic achievement. The point of high school is thus not to identify who is the very best academically, but rather to help students grow in other ways, while ensuring they are competent enough to handle a rigorous college environment.</p>

<p>The long and the short of it is that top colleges value maturity just as much as--or even more than--intellect. Both are required. For the latter, SAT scores and GPA provide a quantified metric. An analogous metric does not exist for the former, however; ECs are one method of assessment, while interviews, essays, and recommendations are another.</p>

<p>That's what I've found, anyway.</p>

<p>Colleges instituted the focus to try to get the right type of "Harvard man" or whatever, i.e. there were too many Jews when they just went by academic achievement.</p>


<p>The point is that they don't want kids who just know stuff, they want future leaders. Schools see value in students who can not only understand advanced concepts, but can also relate those concepts to others. They want people who have leadership qualities and are going to actively try to change the world.</p>

<p>basicalllly they want proof that you will be able to go out after college and make bank and hopefully kick them a few hundred Gs
IQ doesn't correlate with $ very well
but IQ + social skills + leadership does more.</p>

<p>They want to see that students have a passion, and aren't robots. They want to see that these kids are going to do more than sit and study; that they're interested in being self-motivated physically doing something with themselves. </p>

<p>NEVER do an EC just because you think it will "look good on a college application." That defeats the entire purpose.</p>

<p>ECs are NOT designed for college. They're designed to help you gain a better perspective of the things you want to do. Yes, obviously colleges look into these, some more in depth than others, to help determine if you will be a beneficial asset to the school (leadership, creativity, community service, etc.). </p>

<p>You should be doing these ECs to help your community, to do what you love, and figure out the things you truly have a passion for.</p>

<p>While this isn't the same point raised by the OP, I would argue that EC's have no point because most kids participate in EC's for the sole purpose of college admissions- whether they admit it or not. Very rarely do I ever see anyone who truly has a passion for their EC.</p>

<p>First off, you probably have a considerable amount of time outside of just doing schoolwork and regular day to day activities, and colleges want to know how you spend this time, which is where ECs fit in. People who just do what's necessary to do well in school but waste a lot of time doing things that aren't constructive will probably have a hard time adapting to the demands of the work found in elite colleges. And they probably aren't passionate or care enough about something to succeed as well as those who are involved with something outside of school. So I think people who go to schools that require large amounts of work aren't expected to have as high a level of involvement in stuff outside of school because of that.</p>

<p>The second thing is that one of the appeals of top colleges in the involvement of their students in ECs or things outside of the classroom. If colleges admit people who aren't very involved already, why would they get involved once they get to college and when there's a lot more work. If anything, people would quit the ECs they had in high school.</p>

<p>apyyy: it's too bad you haven't encountered some of the people I've had the pleasure of meeting at my HYP alma mater and in the subsequent years interviewing and recruiting. Of course there are people who are looking to game the system -- but I've seen startlingly fascinating 17 and 18 year olds as well.</p>

<p>BTW: my main ECs? Top JROTC cadet in my HS and I washed dishes. Was I "passionate"? I think I would have laughed if anyone asked me that. I was who I was. I didn't do what I did for anyone's recognition. But looking back at it, that very factor probably was evident and thus, made me an attractive applicant.</p>

<p>Note for jiujiu: When I hire people, I'm not looking for the smartest or the top scorers only. Why should elite colleges?</p>

most kids participate in EC's for the sole purpose of college admissions- whether they admit it or not. Very rarely do I ever see anyone who truly has a passion for their EC.


<p>Ever watch high school sports?</p>

<p>Yep, I've never seen a state champion swimmer, runner, or football player go through four grueling years of practices, travel, meets and games purely for college admissions. The only way they survive and thrive a cutting edge athletic schedule, is by passion and dedication.</p>

<p>I'm going to go with the minority here and say that ECs are for you, not adcoms. If you choose not to participate you may very well have a successful admissions process, fulfilling your ideal that they are unnecessary. If you do, it could make your hs career a heck of a lot more enjoyable. No one says you have to be in 10 clubs, find the ones that interest you.</p>

<p>You enjoy civics, public speaking, are considering poly/sci. Spending time involved in Model UN or Debate may confirm your feelings. Perhaps you have no idea what you want to study, you are strong in many areas, and really have a lot of opportunities open. You are an athlete. Due to an injury you become ineligible to go any further in your sport. You can just coast the rest of hs, thinking 'I tried, it wasn't my fault.', or you could take that step to try another activity your school offers. Maybe they have a fantastic robotics team. You give it a try and find that while no, you don't have a love of programming, you love the feel of building things. You are great with hands on. The concepts just click. I'm not talking about legos. I'm talking about actual mechanical engineering skills, physics, and other vital skills you may be exposed to by your mentors. You may be inspired to seek out a career in engineering. Would you have ended up in engineering in college anyway? Quite possibly. Would you have had the experience of knowing that years earlier and experiencing things outside the classroom other students wouldn't do until they get to college? Unless you sought out opportunities within your community outside of school, probably not.</p>

<p>Weather or not it looks good on a college app (and that depends on the school, but generally, yes), you will have had the benefit of finding out about yourself before you change your major three times in your first four semesters of college.</p>

<p>"I'm going to go with the minority here and say that ECs are for you, not adcoms. If you choose not to participate you may very well have a successful admissions process, fulfilling your ideal that they are unnecessary. If you do, it could make your hs career a heck of a lot more enjoyable. No one says you have to be in 10 clubs, find the ones that interest you."</p>

<p>This is true. ECs will help you enjoy life a lot more by getting involved in things that you like. ECs will teach you social skills, help you know what you're talented in and may wish to major in or pursue a career in. ECs will help you develop leadership skills that will serve you well for a lifetime including when you have to work with and/or supervise others.</p>

<p>ECs will help you make friends and develop hobbies and interests that will allow you to do more than go home and drink and watch TV after you come home from work when you're a fulltime employee.</p>

<p>The purpose of doing ECs is to enrich your life. Relatively few colleges factor ECs into admissions. The ones that do -- places like Harvard -- are interested in ECs that students have done out of their own interest, and have pursued with depth and accomplishment. Those colleges want to create student bodies with active students who will be making an impact on the local community as well as helping campus organizations flourish, and then after graduation having an impact in their communities and fields.</p>

<p>Students who think that doing ECs is only to look good to colleges are missing the point and are missing out on a great deal of pleasure and fulfillment in their own lives.</p>