Stop Doing Things “Just for College”

By Avalon Kelly

How would you respond to the question, “Why are you doing this activity?”  Is it because it brings you joy?  Do you love to build community?  Are you passionate about this particular issue/subject?…Or are you doing it “just for college?”

I know countless people who started a club, stuck with a sport, or got an internship just because these extracurriculars can look good on college applications.  However, this mindset of “all for college” can be extremely harmful.  Rather than encouraging high schoolers to find their passion, the hyper-competitive college application process has led students to participate in a lot of activities while lacking genuine interest.  And—spoiler alert—this method becomes tricky once application season rolls around.  Admissions officers are looking for what is special about you: what you care about, what brings you joy, what makes you successful.  More than anything, a strong portfolio of activities that you care about will show them these traits.

High school is a time to explore your interests and find what sparks your passion.  So join the clubs that sound interesting to make a unique impact within your community.  Stick with the sport because you love it, and don’t waste your time playing a sport that you hate.  Get that internship to experience a possible future career.  Colleges want you to do things for yourself, so stop doing things “just for college.”