Equal opportunity

All extracurricular involvement should be treated fairly on applications
Camyle Cryderman
Managing Editor

As students start nearing the end of their high school careers, they begin to focus on college— which colleges they will apply for and which would they like to attend. When filling out applications for schools and scholarships, one of the main factors is usually high school involvement, but that should not be the case.
From the moment a student walks through the doors freshman year of high school, it is stressed that being involved in high school is enjoyable and important. Teachers and counselors constantly encourage students to join student council, tryout for sports, or take part in the school play. This is what counselors say universities look for, but what makes doing all these activities better than focusing on just one?
Personally, I started dancing at just two years old. By the age of seven, I had joined the competition team and was dedicating three days a week to the studio. As I grew older, the time spent dancing continued to increase, leaving almost no time for other activities. This continued every week until I was 18. When it came time for me to fill out college and scholarship applications, I was left to essentially write nothing in the huge spaces they allocate for high school involvement.
Many students are strictly dedicated to one sport or activity outside of school that allows them little time for high school participation, and they should be praised too. It is understandable that colleges want to see a student who is involved and an active member of his or her school. It shows the student cares and is going to be an asset to that university, but only participating in one activity shows the same. By sticking to one hobby for many years, it shows dedication, focus, drive and passion, which are all traits colleges and scholarships, look for in a student. All other aspects aside, what makes someone more eligible simply because they were on the high school track team, a member of the chess club and had a role in a play? Nothing. They are equal.
Alongside the pages and pages that ask for high school involvement on applications, there should be sections for involvement outside of school. If a young person chooses to dedicate their life to one activity not associated with the school, they should receive just as much consideration as those who don’t.
It takes a lot of drive and passion to continue one hobby throughout childhood and high school. If a student is willing to miss sports games, dances and school events with their friends to partake in this activity, they demonstrate a real commitment. Colleges should not only take these characteristics into account on applications, they should look for them, and students should feel comfortable and confident with what they have chosen to dedicate their life to when filling these applications out.
There are many aspects that may make one applicant more eligible for acceptance into a school or scholarship than another. Academics, volunteering and general involvement in activities are all important, but being involved in school activities rather than outside activities should not give one student the upper hand over the other. All students should be given the chance to state how they spent their time in high school. Colleges should consider each student equally; looking at what characteristics that student’s activities proves them to have.