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03/03/2020 at 03:31PM[edited]

how important is commitment to an elective?

I’ve been in my HS orchestra for 2 years now (now a sophomore) and playing violin since 4th grade. I don’t like playing at school anymore but still like the instrument. Would it look bad if I drop an elective like that? My ECs aren’t very strong yet and I haven’t been committed to any specific areas so orch would’ve been my only 4 year activity. I’m planning on maybe doing Model UN, Young Dems, and Debate next year, and I’m in beta, but those are just clubs and won’t affect my class schedule. If I will play outside of school (maybe private lessons/outside groups), will that count as continuing my instrument? As in listing all 4 years of HS for that activity on commonapp? I’m not the most amazing player but I still like it. Throughout HS I’ve been told to stay in the class because it shows commitment, and it’s true that a lot of orch kids at my school end up/probably will end up at prestigious schools (just a correlation lol). I feel like I’m wasting my time in a class that’s unrelated to what I want to do in college, but then again most of my fellow asian orch kids are probably gonna be engineers or doctors or something haha. I’m thinking about replacing orch with AP psych or AP seminar, which I’m genuinely interested in. I don’t want to stay in a class I don’t absolutely love just to show my commitment, but I don’t want to seem like I’m dropping activities just to pile on APs. I might be interested in political science/social science as my major, if that helps. Thanks!

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3 answers

03/03/2020 at 07:48PM

If it doesn't make you happy, drop it. One piece of college advice I've heard a thousand times is that it's about the quality of activities, not the quantity. Try and find something you're really interested in and get deeply involved in it. That will show passion, leadership, and dedication. Being happy is more important than college admissions.

If you still like the violin, you can still play it in your spare time. You can list it as a hobby on your application. Many applications give you some room to explain extracurriculars, so if you're very worried about it, you can include some explanation there.

03/04/2020 at 03:39PM

If you drop the class but still play the instrument i thinks that would not hurt your app. But make sure to be committted to new things and not hopscotch around the ECs

03/06/2020 at 11:49PM

Commitment is definitely one of the main things a college is going to look at when determining the value of your ECs. It's in no way the only thing they are going to look at though. Besides, your happiness and well-being are more important than the time you commit to one EC. Are there local orchestras or something you could also join? Playing since 4th grade is already a solid commitment which is good.

Other things colleges are going to consider with your ECs are how much initiative did you need to take to get/stay involved with whatever you are doing. So if you do decide to quit orchestra you will need to show initiative for whatever you replace it with but it already sounds like you're planning on that. They're also going to look at what level are you involved at which is why it would be great if you could at least stay involved with violin/orchestra at some capacity. But again, your happiness is more important. Finally colleges will look at what leadership or responsibilities you ended up with. Is there a music club at your school? If not, maybe you could start one? It would show initiative, leadership, and you'd be able to continue playing since you like it. That sounds like a win-win-win scenario to me!