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"Well-Rounded" Vs. Passionate

find your passion

find your passionIt is a common struggle among all teens, especially in Arlington, to prepare for college. In addition to the attempt to boost your GPA, take numerous standardized tests, and think about your essays and recommendations, high school students have to focus on being “well rounded”…engaging themselves in seemingly thousands of different activities to add to a resume.

                The problem with being well-rounded is that it is ultimately ironic. Although you are seemingly “engaging” yourself in a hundred different activities, how many of these activities actually mean something and will stick with you in the future? Probably only one or two.  So why does every single college say they are looking for “well rounded” students? Do they really want students who do a hundred different activities that mean nothing to them?

                Honestly, as a 17-year-old girl who has been on close to 15 (!) college visits, I used to think the answer was yes. In my mind, colleges wanted someone who was in the choir, 10 after school clubs, played lacrosse, soccer, basketball, went on a mission trip to Africa, and cured cancer. Unfortunately, I was none of those things, and almost every college visit ended in a feeling of inadequacy.

                It was two weeks ago that my outlook took a 180. I was visiting my top choice college, which unfortunately happens to be the most selective school in Virginia. Naturally, I went in to the visit thinking that it would be the same as the other 15- a dean of admissions would talk about how many opportunities there are at the school, and go on to talk about the type of “well rounded” students they want. To my surprise, the dean of admissions actually put down the words “well rounded”, explaining that well rounded students weren’t passionate. Although they may play 16 different sports and are involved in 20 different clubs, this college explained that they would rather have a student that was interested in one thing, and dove deep into that one thing, involving themselves in many different aspects of it. For example, if a student was interested in music, they may play an instrument, work on the school musical, intern at a recording studio, or get involved with one of the many community service activities there are that involve music. That is the kind of student colleges want. Passionate students get more out of what they do than a “well rounded” student ever would, thus setting them up more positively for the future and ultimately making them more successful both as students entering college and people.

                So, you can rest easy tonight as you reassure yourself you don’t in fact have to be in the choir, 10 after school clubs, play soccer, lacrosse, basketball, go on a mission trip to Africa, and cure cancer to get in to college. Invest yourself and your time in activities that you enjoy and activities that are meaningful to you. Not only will it take away the common stress that all teens face, but if you’re doing something you enjoy, you will be happy…and that’s the best thing a teenager can be.

Posted: Jul 29, 2013 by Rachel Robertson

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