2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How important are extracurriculars that are not related to your major like ballet, an instrument etc?

I am currently a freshman in high school and I am learning ballet. I am considering learning an instrument on a professional level but I've heard mixed answers to my question: are these extracurriculars really going to help boost my application? I want to major in astrophysics. I'm also an international student from India and AP classes, clubs etc are practically nonexistent so extracurriculars that are typically considered good for your application are very difficult to pursue.

I am, of course, very passionate about everything I pursue but I don't want to waste my time on things that might not help in the long run.

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Wow... the fact that this is an actual question makes me extremely sad about the current high-school/college application environment. The only correct answer, as someone who has been through the whole process with decent success, is: don't care what extracurriculars get you into college! Do what you love! If you love ballet, who cares if it doesn't apply to astrophysics, you should pursue it! Have fun with your life... For crying out loud, college is only four years of your life, it's not the end of the world.

And honestly, paradoxically, if you don't care about what gets you into college and do what you love, chances are that'll help your application in the long run. College admissions reps review these applications as their JOBS, you think they can't sniff out people who pursued only the extracurriculars they thought would "look good?" I remember talking to one of MIT's dean of admissions and he said they can almost instantly tell the kids who made their high-school experience miserable by doing clubs they hated just to get into college, and they didn't want them! Who wants kids who have no passion for what they do? The dean said they wanted fun people on their campus... and that's coming from MIT! (Not to throw shade at MIT but like... that's not really a school associated with the word "fun.") In the end, getting in somewhere by doing what you love is way more rewarding than four years of making yourself miserable in the HOPES (not even guarantee) of going to a prestigious school.


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