Colleges want well rounded students, right? Actually, the more selective colleges don’t want well rounded students, they want well rounded classes. So what does that mean and what are colleges looking for?
The more selective colleges actually want students who have a particular focus, or passion, in one or two areas. For instance, if a student is interested in soccer the selective college wants to see that they are on the soccer team. Ideally, the student would be the captain of the team to show leadership and might also be on a traveling soccer team. The competitive student could also volunteer helping younger students learn the game of soccer.
What the passion of the student is does matter as much as what the student does with that passion. The passion could be sports, theatre, music, dance, a particular instrument, whatever.
What the selective colleges do not want to see is the student that has tried 10 different activities but has no focus or leadership in any of the activities.
When making admissions decision the selective colleges take all of these “passionate” students and admit those who will make a well rounded class.
It is fine for students to explore their interests during the freshman and sophomore years of high school. However, by the time they reach junior year the student should decide what they have a particular interest in and start to focus on that passion.
Of course, grades and in many cases test scores, are the most important elements in the admissions process. But for those students considering the highly selective colleges the student with a passion will have a better chance of admission.