fileWelcome to the twelfth weekly column, “Too Embarrassed to Ask,” where we’ll examine a hot topic from the world of recruiting that parents and student-athletes may want to know more about, but may shy away from asking because it is considered assumed knowledge.

Think of this column like a cheat sheet for those instances it is no longer acceptable to ask a question, say, having met someone three times but still not knowing their name.

This week’s issue: Extracurricular activities.

The question: In addition to grades (a given), should I only be focused on athletics in high school?

The short answer: No, you silly goose.

The actual answer: With club sports and high school seasons taking a majority of a student-athletes time (with the rest hopefully devoted to studying), it can be very easy to not get involved in any other areas.

This isn’t the best idea.

Getting involved in extracurricular activities is a smart thing to do. It will help open up your world view, meet new people outside of the circle of friends you already have, and can help you narrow down where your interests lie for potential areas of study in college.

That may sound like a sunshine-and-rainbows view. Maybe it is. But, it’s also the truth. If you need more motivation out of self-interest, though, try this: Getting other actives onto your college application will help your resume.

College admissions offers want to bring in people that will enrich their campus, and showing you are a well-rounded candidate can be accomplished in part through your involvement in a club or some other extracurricular. It’s showing, not telling, those reading your transcript that can be an asset to the student-life at that school.

So there you have it. Make yourself better, while making your resume better as well. Win-win.

The movie quote that explains current understanding: “It took me 1,200 years to perfect it. Not too hot. Extra Chocolate. Shaken, not stirred.”
-Judy, from 1994s The Santa Clause

What the quote says in our context: It’s Christmas week, so I’m indulging in the holiday classic The Santa Clause featuring Tim Allen.

In the film, Tim Allen becomes the big guy by putting on the suit after the real Santa falls off the roof and disappears like a Jedi. How can Santa, full of magic, struggle with traction on a roof? Why did he disappear? Why are there precisely 0 elves, upon sight of their new Santa (Allen), not upset that the first Santa has gone the way of Old Yeller?

I don’t know.

Anyway, in this quote, a nice elf named Judy gives the new Santa a hot chocolate in his first visit at the North Pole. It’s obviously the best he’s ever had. She mentions her recipe took over 1,200 years to perfect. Now, how it took her 1,200 years to come up with recipe that sounds like it should take maybe a day isn’t the point.

The point is, like the infinite combinations Judy tried to perfect her hot chocolate, so too are there many ways to make your resume stand out to a college admissions officer.

Adding extracurricular activities is one of the best ways. Not only will it help your resume, it will help you as well.

Our Advice

Being a well-rounded student includes participating in school clubs and organizations outside of athletics.

This does not mean you need to join every club just to bolster your transcript, and surely trying to do so may result in stretching yourself too thin.

Instead, find areas of interest in your life and pursue opportunities in that space. If you enjoy watching movies or sports, consider writing for the school paper about those subjects.

If you are interested in performance, consider opportunities in theater or other performing arts. Whatever your interests, find ways to explore them.

It is also a great idea to join a service organization at your school, be it volunteering your time at a local soup kitchen or visiting the local nursing home. These will often be very rewarding experiences while helping inform yourself of the world that exists outside of your immediate bubble.

Athletics won’t last forever, so it’s vital to challenge yourself, meet new people and discover areas you are interested in that you may not be aware of. You’ll thank yourself down the road.