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Last Minute Clubs and Sports

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by osdad, May 5, 2010.

  1. osdad

    osdad 5-Year Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    If we’re to believe the news, competition for appointments at all the SA's is increasingly tight. While everyone is trying to put their best foot forward, we see numerous posts that ask “Should I join <<insert EC here>> because I know I’ll be elected president?" or "I’m thinking about going out for <<insert sport here>> because I know they don’t cut anyone.” I can’t help but think that admissions can easily differentiate those candidates who have shown dedication and commitment from those who join to pad their resume.

    Are such efforts, at best, a neutral factor?

    If I’m correct, should these candidates be counseled to discuss their new interest in their interviews and in their essays?

  2. vampsoul

    vampsoul 5-Year Member

    Mar 14, 2009
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    Yes. You will be asked about your extra-curricular commitments in your interviews, and WHY is usually a key question. I did swim camp at USMA even though I'd never done HS swimming. I was asked about this and answered I wanted to see USMA and experience a sport that was more team oriented, as competitive martial arts is more individual (my main sport). Do not answer "I felt I needed more activities" if that's not already obvious.
  3. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014 5-Year Member

    Jun 8, 2009
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    I discovered that finding one thing and being devoted to it can be a lot more helpful than being involved in a lot of other stuff.

    I was only involved in one extra-curricular activity, but I was/am extremely devoted (35-45 hours a week outside of school) to it (and plan to remain devoted to it long after I leave).

    Why you do it helps. Saying you did it because your parents made you, or because you just wanted something to do...Not going to work so well.
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    SA admissions officers, like all major college admissions officers, see tens of thousands of applications each year. It's very easy to "see through" attempts to bolster one's resume by joining a bunch of clubs or last-minute sports.

    First, there can be legitimate reasons for some of this. For example, someone who changed schools frequently or, perhaps, a new club started up you senior year that really interested you. Or, you realized you'd get zero playing time on sport A that you had been doing but could start on the team of sport B.

    You can expect your BGO and/or MOC nom cttee members to ask about your ECAs. I typically throw out a softball, such as, "Which ECA occupies most of your time," or "Tell me what you actually do as team captain/club president." Someone who's very involved generally has no difficulty with these types of questions. Someone who is merely a name on a club roster or who is a "president" but doesn't actually have any responsibilities as such doesn't have much to say.

    This is why, BTW, I say that getting involved in and/or spearheading specific projects can be more powerful than being a club president. And not everyone is Mr./Ms. Popularity. So, if you aren't selected for a leadership position, look at things you can do to show leadership.
  5. jennyp

    jennyp 5-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Good thoughts, all. My son had ridden horses competitively since age three. Even at international levels. Realizing that this wasn't a traditional type of athletic endeavor (although he did have to keep both himself and two horses in fightin' shape)......and recognizing the need to RUN at USNA, he joined cross country his SENIOR year in high school. Actually started running with them the summer before senior year. Didn't finish the first race. Made HUGE improvement by the end of the season and kept running and running and running.

    Many "leadership" positions are purely popularity. And USNA Admissions is pretty tuned in to this. Which is why they recognize the value of say, Eagle Scout. And why each and every applicant needs to utilize the remarks sections of the application to clarify exactly what they did in their "leadership" positions: like led XXX kids in monthly meetings, coordinated XXX fundraiser for scholarship fund, community service, etc. Be very specific as to what you did, not so much how many things you were elected to.

    Didn't get elected? Chairing a very active committee, appointment by a teacher to organize something..........taking on something and DOING it. USNA85 had an awesome example of leadership by doing probably 2-3 months ago on a thread in the USNA forum. It is easiest to be a good leader at something you are passionate about.

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