a year ago
Admissions Advice

quitting band...advice?

Hi, I'm currently doing course selections and I'm considering dropping band/Marching band because of the pressure the band director gives me. For context, I just moved to a new school this year and I'm in the top band but the band program here hasn't been the most welcoming, specifically the band director. I have a dilemma because I truly enjoy band, but the program here caused me a lot of anxiety, so much so that I have breakdowns a few times a week at home. I'm really conflicted about it because:

1) I enjoy music (I won't be quitting music in HS, I'm staying in the guitar program)

2) it's going to look bad on college apps quitting as a sophomore

3) it would allow more time for my academics, other ECs, and just time for myself out of school.

I, however, make mostly A's (had one B this year) just fine even with APs/Honors Classes and band but quitting would free up my schedule for other courses and extra-curriculars. I also don't see myself pursuing a music-specific major in college which is also playing a factor in my dilemma. Thanks!

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
a year ago

Hey! So I was in the exact same spot as you with orchestra at the beginning of this year. I really really did not want to take the class for pretty much the same reasons, and two days into the school year I decided to quit. And for me, personally, that was the best decision I have ever made (hyperbole). So here is my slightly unprofessional but very experienced advice:

1) Good that you aren't quitting music, but if you keep doing band it could honestly take away or detract from your love of music.

2) I mean maybe, but it won't (probably) as long as you show commitment and passion elsewhere by doing other music stuff. The guitar program is a good start but I would recommend finding a band program outside of school that you can join. Even cooler than that would be forming your own small performing chamber ensemble which would really showcase your leadership and initiative skills.

3) When I tell you I had SOO much more free time - I was able to add so many amazing ECs that will really really brighten up my app more than just school orchestra. Plus I got a job and made money (and am getting to work as an emt)!! Which I think also diversifies your app a lot and is something you should consider as another option that will be open to you. There is so much you can do just by taking the stress and pressure off a bit.

Also, breakdowns suck. I feel you so hard with this, I have pretty bad anxiety and the way I cried over orchestra on the daily was crazy. It really really sucks to go through that and I'm super sorry you are. Trust me - protect your peace and do what's best for your mental health. You definitely want to avoid total burnout bc then you won't be able to do any music/new ECs.

Side note, awesome job with your grades!! If you keep it up and do the things mentioned above, I think your stats will rock. At the end of the day, only you will know what's best, but definitely keep these things in mind.

(ps I don't know if your school offers this but I'm going to be a teacher's assistant for orchestra next year, which might even look better on my application tbh bc teaching shows skill. that might be a good option if you want to take some of the pressure off; I understand that you really dislike your teacher (I do too) but being able to not worry about grades/assignments/playing tests might take a lot of the stress away.)

a year ago

This will have no impact on your ability to successfully apply and get into to great college. Many people find themselves dropping an EC for many different reasons. For me not continuing with Orchestra after 10th had to do with the fact I no longer love playing the clarinet. I moved on and never looked back. I think we should all experiment and try different ECs and see what we love, and what we are good at and learn what to vacate if we run into a dead end as I did. So use the additional band width to work on other things that make your application narrative more compelling.

a year ago

I agree with the other answers that quitting band may be the best choice for you. Though it's good to challenge yourself, no activity is worth a lot of anxiety and breakdowns. There are many other ways that you can enjoy your passion for music without the pressure that band currently gives you.

There would be no downsides to quitting band when it comes to college admissions, even if you were planning on majoring in something music-related. Marching band is a common extracurricular that does not significantly help your application, unless you gain leadership experience or essay-worthy stories through it. There are plenty of other activities you could do that would look more impressive than band, including hobbies like producing your own music and publishing it on YouTube.

Hope this helps!

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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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