I am often asked by my clients about the “strategy” for involvement in extracurricular activities. While I generally encourage such involvements, of course, I tell my clients not to over-think the admissions process. The rule of thumb is, “Do what you love, and do it the best you can.”
A recent article from Business Week revealed that admissions officers at undergraduate business programs also have the same rule of thumb. They are wary of students who get involved in a wide range of business-oriented activities and clubs just to gain admission to the best undergraduate business programs. The fact is that admissions officers prefer depth over breadth, and they prefer real, live, human beings with diverse interests than “business dweebs” who care only about the admissions game.
Here’s a snippet from the article:
In the increasingly competitive application process for business programs, extracurriculars have become essential for students to distinguish themselves from the pack of eager, over-committed applicants. Some hold down jobs, from computer repair businesses to service jobs at McDonalds. Others attend out-of-school conferences and camps, such as DECA, an international program teaching students about marketing, managing, and customer service. But when it comes to high school clubs and other outside-the-classroom activities, admission directors from top undergrad business programs agree that the key is depth, not quantity.
So my message to both students and parents is to relax a bit more and to pursue your passions, no matter what sort of college or major you hope to pursue. While there are many educational consultants out there who will help you “game” the system, I specialize in helping you identify your strengths and your passions, then finding the colleges that best fit those qualities. Of course, I help you present those strengths and passions in the best possible light.
But I know enough about the way admissions officers do their work that they know a gamer when they see him.
So stop worrying. Do what you love. And the rest will take care of itself.