#College admission shouldn’t be about #extracurricular activities

Yesterday while driving home with my son, we were listening to Market Place, a radio program on public radio.  There was an article about what a Charles County, Maryland family is doing to prep their kids for college.  The children in the family are involved in numerous extra curricular activities, including athletics and music.  Having been a member of my high school band for four years; serving in student government; playing on two championship flag football teams; graduating in the top ten percent of my class; being a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist; and leading my Junior ROTC battalion, I could appreciate the pursuit of being well-rounded.

But I also worked in the second half of my high school senior year.  Dad moved stateside to establish a better home for us which meant that I was the man of the house until we all moved stateside after I graduated.  It was tough, but the extracurricular activities and working thought me about being balanced.  Using the experiences as part of a college admissions application was furthest from my mind.

Listening to these parents talk about getting their kids an edge by investing all this time and money into their extracurricular activities reminded me of how screwed up our priorities are, especially given the shifting nature of our economy.  Now more than ever, young people will be required to show how creative they are in order to land work, whether it takes the form of a job (whatever that is) a freelance contract; or starting their own going concern.  Instead, what I heard from these parents was their willingness to show the plantation owner their physical stamina to do things versus their intellectual energy to create and yes, sell things.

Creativity is what drives any economy yet we have parents still buying into that “busy is best” mentality and poisoning their kids’ mindsets with it.  Damn.  No wonder we are still behind the curve.

I wouldn’t admit any of these kids into a school much less hire them.  Not only have they not shown that they even know how to work, but more importantly, they haven’t shown they know how to create.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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One Response to #College admission shouldn’t be about #extracurricular activities

  1. Kenneth Ciszewski says:

    As someone once said, “Never confuse motion with action.” We tend make that mistake a lot in our culture, thinking that always being in motion is somehow the thing to do. Sometimes we dump this idea on our children. And in fact, we are not a very entrepreneurial people–we’re more into sports. Sports are OK, but I think we place way too much emphasis on them.

    Of course, if you keep your kids “busy”, hopefully they won’t smoke dope or become alcoholics or drug dealers! Of course, that doesn’t always work either.

    As I have said before, our educational system really doesn’t teach young people about business or how it really works. This has turned out to be a serious shortcoming. Of course educators live in a whole different world, and don’t understand that education cannot be only for its own sake–it must teach people how to deal with rhe real world, make a living, survive. Right now, education is too much out of touch, ivory tower, at most levels.

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