Building your college resume early

Max Greenwald

Most Liberty students don’t really start thinking about colleges and college applications until their junior year. I know I didn’t. It’s kind of commonplace to respond in disbelief when, as a freshman, your friend mentions joining a club, volunteering, or taking a hard class because of college apps. I vividly remember saying and hearing others say “why are you worrying about that now?” Well as a senior waist-deep in the college application process I have only the following advice to offer: worry about it. Worry about it now and worry about it plenty.

Now when I say that I obviously don’t mean I want students to be stressing out over college for all four years of high school, but it is definitely smart to be constantly trying to build a college résumé. I say this because the first piece of advice you’ll hear from colleges in what looks good on applications is “be in clubs and sports for all four years of high school”.

For me and the other juniors without time machines, this meant we had already had a gaping hole in our college applications. Don’t get me wrong, I have sports and clubs I’ve belonged to for a while, but what I wouldn’t give to have joined Key Club or tried out the track team freshman year.

As an underclassman I know I had the misconception that colleges cared exclusively about academic excellence; clubs and sports were fine, but mostly they were a distraction from getting good grades and performing well on standardized tests.

What you’ll hear from colleges and what you’ll learn is this is exactly wrong. Belonging to a lot of different groups and participating in a lot of activities shows that you’re an active member in your school and in your community. Getting that 3.5 GPA and a 2000 on the SAT might prove you’re smart, but it is a lot less impressive if you haven’t applied yourself and those smarts somewhere outside of school.

So what does that mean for the underclassman reading this article? Should you put down this paper and go grudgingly join Robotics despite your hatred of engineering and start wrestling for Liberty even though you have a crippling fear of close contact with sweaty men?

No, I’m not saying that you should get involved in clubs and activities solely because you want colleges to think you’re a good student. I’m saying you should give clubs and activities a shot. You’ll never know what’s right for you until you try it; maybe on your quest to appear to be passionate about things on you college applications you might just find some things you really are passionate about.