Building a College Resume

According to the stack of books I'm reading, a college application won't get very far if it lacks 5 or 6 strong activities...

Buidling A College Resume

According to the stack of books I'm reading, a college application won't get very far if it lacks 5 or 6 extra curricular activities. I'm not in favor of loading up on clubs, sports or even AP courses because it produces a shallow automaton destined to lead an uninspired life. I complained to my wife.

My wife replied that our oldest just survived 7th grade, the grade that counts in Chicago, achieving great grades except for that one quarter where he blew off one class because he calculated that he could, did well on his entrance exams, and did band, boy scouts, cross country, track, the math team, and met regularly with his Friday after school social group. That makes 5 1/2. He could have joined the science club for a solid 6, but he didn't.

Breaking it down

Schools are looking for 2 things beyond the 5 or 6 required activities: leadership and longevity. I'm looking for one thing - balance, aka not burning out.

My contribution was to disallow quitting. Thanks to this policy, he is the only 8th grader in band, slowly taking on leadership responsibilities. The boy scout troop is planning a trip to Florida next year, but the endeavor requires the scouts to be 1st class by then. Being 1st class by freshman year makes the eagle scout rank all but inevitable. Not quitting always pays dividends.

The sports mentioned above are barely sports. It's more like occasional jogging. In my day, we had hard workouts up to 2 hours every day for 5 months. The butter bean kids are spoiled with practice twice a week for 6 weeks. A good warm up for high school and no where near over doing it.

I don't know what he's doing on the math team. They are pictured above. Free parent consulting to the first reader who looks for clues in this issue and correctly identifies my son and the 2 smart kids on the team. If you put together the math competition article and the reading article in this issue, you'll see that I'm OK with it but wonder where it came from. I blame the science teacher. I've been training little brother from birth in math like Tiger Wood's abusive father trained his son; I limit the abuse to 30 minute sessions these days.

Taking the next step

My next step as a parent is to do even more lessness than I'm doing now. The secret to raising a successful child is to do less and less. I'm not sure that band is going to survive to high school, although that would be nice. I'm leaving grandfather's college band memorabilia around the house as a hint. I am dropping my prohibition against quitting and replacing it with short, pointed lectures as needed. Here's an example:

What, you want to quit _______ ? Of course you want to quit. You're 13. Everyone wants to quit at that age. Let me warn you now, not quitting is the single biggest factor in your entire future. In fact, last night, the ghost of your future self visited me and thanked me for dissuading you from quitting because not only was __________ so important to your future life, but it opened many doors related to your future success. Why don't you put it off for a month and then we'll have the same talk then.

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