College apps! Who cares?

December 3, 2012
Okay, just kidding. I don't actually meant to not care about your future education. But there are so many people who almost exclusively worry about their extra-curricular activities and their grades. I’ve heard many people in the clubs I join almost boastingly declare that they only join so they have something to put on their college applications. While planning ahead is great and all, don't you think there should be a little more to high school than college applications?
Don't get me wrong, of course it's important. I know how PRECISELY how important it is. I hear practically EVERY DAY about how important it is. But I hate that it's making people do what they think is right rather than what they want to do or what they could develop into a serious interest. Here are a few examples of some clubs and a few things I think are worth mentioning.

Key Club
"I need the volunteer hours."
I actually love Key Club. I get to help out in my community, which I actually ADORE, because I know a lot of the people in Los Altos and I get to interact with them more often than I normally would. Contributing to the community is a common college app explanation, but to me it's more than that. It's getting a lot out of it, too.

Green Team
"Save the earth! Hang out with friends!"
Perhaps the hanging out with friends part only really applies to my school, but there is always that one (or two, or three) clubs on campus that's dominated by certain friend groups. This is an absolutely atrocious thing to do, because one, it makes others feel excluded and discourages interest in the club, and two, it drags friends into the cause and uses up time they could be doing something that they truly love... Though, I guess it’s a good deal. Friends, volunteer opps, and great college essay topics? Why isn’t it more popular??
The go-to college app explanation for this would most likely be something about not decimating the earth and undoing the damage that's been done by past generations. For me, I wasn't even aware of the issue until I visited the country I grew up in and realized that I couldn't breathe without choking on the haze. Fresh air was only found in air-conditioned mega-malls, and there was no sign anywhere of the familiar blue bins I have since grown to love. As a bonus, I got my family in on it too!

National Honors Society
This one is purely for college applications. I can’t disagree.

California Scholarship Federation
...No contest here either.

The list is short, but you get the gist. Students should join clubs because they truly believe in what it stands for, not because it gives them more to write about on their college applications. The activities and the qualities they demonstrate really shouldn't be as important as how they use those activities to build their character and discover what they love. And guess what? Colleges love that! They love to see that you’ve found something you are truly interested. They love to see that you know the difference between well-rounded and well-strained. And I bet you’ll love to see that too.

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ilovewriting95 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm
I completely agree with you! It's sad how many people only do things to appear impressive instead of doing what they are interested in. Great job on this article, I am surprised it doesn't have any comments yet.
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