Focus on Your Strong Suits

Joe Kottke, Editor-in-Chief

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Joe Kottke

  From ninth grade high school orientation, it’s reinforced that—to get into college—you must get involved outside of academics. You have to volunteer, you must be the president of this club, or the captain of that team, while, still obtaining good grades.
  I did not challenge this expectation, joining many clubs such as Youth Extending Service, Earth Club, Link Crew, Spanish Club, and many others. Not only this, but I began interning at local magazines, spending lots of time volunteering at routine locations, and working several jobs.
  When the time came to apply to college, I was confident. I rushed through the test scores and GPA components of the application, knowing they aren’t the strongest example of who I am as a student.
  When I got to the extracurricular section, I froze. The Common Application prompted me to summarize my activities with ten examples. Ten. The Coalition application has even less, with only eight slots. I was dumbfounded. All of these experiences that have helped me grow throughout high school are not given a platform to showcase. It makes me feel as if I’m defined by numbers: your GPA and ACT.
  I wish someone would’ve told me this my freshman year. It’s a common misconception that you should get involved in as much as possible, when actually you should find your strong suites—which can include getting involved in many clubs for some—and focus on them. I found my passions in journalism—the Trojan Tribune—and Spanish. I put extra effort into these, obtaining leadership in both. This is what colleges like to see.
  So, unlike me, do not waste your time on clubs, sports, and activities you don’t enjoy. If you don’t care, neither will colleges.

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