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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 11/ 4/2009

Are college admissions officers being ridiculous?

By Valerie Strauss

Yesterday I posted three questions I had posed to admissions directors aroun the country with the responses. One of the questions asked the directors whether they are looking for students with long resumes listing many activities or a demonstrated passion for something. The answers were varied, but many said they wanted to see the latter.

Here’s the reaction of one reader, who asked not to be identified. I think she raises a legitimate point. Do you agree?

From Donna:
When popular colleges read essays what really pops out about the student?I am amused how 17 years old are suppose to pursue something with vigor,passion and a leadership role!!!!

Gee, how many of the admissions counselors personally meet the criteria of their colleges’ admission standards? Stick with one thing....try a lot of new things. Isn’t high school about exploring and trying new things and if you find something stick with it or if you don’t keeping searching?

Our child’s high school comes up with a couple of new clubs every year. Want to learn how to fly an airplane? Take up yoga? Our child’s school has 50+ clubs andorganizations, etc. for students to explore. Some students do find a passion and stay with it and others try out numerous clubs because the choices are so vast and interesting.

Good grief if a child can’t explore from 14 - 17 when are they going to explore? Retirement??

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions  
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This person makes a point but I remember from my High school years the people who joined everything and pursued or contributed to nothing. Just one more tick mark for their college application. That is why admission personnel might look at the person with tons of extra curricular activities with less respect than the person who truly contributed to the activity s(he) pursued

Posted by: rit21042 | November 5, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

No, they are not supposed to explore at all. I remember being bored in first grade because I could already read and had to sit while my classmates learned the alphabet, but I didn't know the games that taught direction-following directions and was socially inept because hadn't been to kindergarten to learn those things when they did.

Now, kids are supposed to preschool knowing how to sit still and listen, kindergarten knowing their letters and numbers, first grade being able to read and fill out a standardized test, high school having already taken algebra, and college knowing exactly what courses they need for a specific career (and never having taken a challenging course that might hurt your GPA). If you take an extra year because you stumble across a course that fascinates you (or because you had to stop to earn money for the overpriced textbooks), you hurt the college's graduation rates--or again, hurt your GPA and jeopardize your chance at graduate school.

You aren't supposed to learn anything anymore or satisfy your curiosity; you are just supposed to accumulate the credits so you can move on to the next level.

(The local colleges allow anyone 60 or older to audit courses as space permits for only the cost of the textbooks--they are swamped with retirees taking courses in art, music, languages, and all sorts of other courses just for fun.)

Posted by: opinionatedreader | November 5, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

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