Dear Parents,

We know you mean well when you tell your student to sign up for every activity under the sun.

We know you only want the best for them when you encourage them to go out for one more try-out, one more audition.

We even know that the pressure that can sometimes creep in, isn’t on purpose, but out of love and the desire to see them succeed.

But here’s what you’re missing when it comes to your student preparing for and eventually applying for college:

You say that all of the activities will only help them, it will look great on their application and that you can never have too much on a resume, right? But see, that’s where you’re wrong.

For a long time, we’ve believed that more is always better when it comes to college applications and resumes. However, in today’s college application process, this is simply not the case. As many college admissions officers will tell you, they’re not looking for every activity out there, or even a specific activity, sport or club on a student’s application. College admissions have changed and are continuing to change all the time. With initiatives like Make Caring Common, college admissions offices across the country are adjusting their lenses in what they value in a student and class as well as how they value it.

Think about grades and extracurriculars as the ticket that gets a student into the event, but not the front row. What gets them into the front row? Well, it’s not a million activities. It’s not playing every sport. And it’s not joining every club.

Admissions offices don’t just want to see great grades and stellar extracurriculars — they want to actually know your student and what they care about in the world. This is what today’s students are looking for in a career as well – something they are passionate about and where they can make a difference. Showcasing this – your student’s passion and impact on their world – that’s what gets them into the front row.

With this idea in mind, it changes everything. It’s no longer about quantity, but quality. Don’t have your student sign up for every activity imaginable, but help them find 2-3 activities / sports / clubs that they are actually passionate about and want to make an impact with. This is great for their college applications, but far more importantly, this helps them discover their God-given brilliance and their unique design and skills.

So, where you can start?

Clear the clutter: This is especially true if your student is in middle or early high school. Help them identify the activities that are taking up time, money and brain power that just aren’t worth it to them. By eliminating the things they don’t feel passionate or excited about, it will clear the way to help them find the activities or organizations that make them want to wake up in the morning.

Work on their passions with them: Once you’ve established the few sports, activities, or clubs that they are excited about, work on helping them improve their skills in these areas, find ways you can lend a hand and speak words of encouragement into these specific spots of passion for your student. Ask questions constantly. What’s working well for them? What’s not working well for them? How can you help them adjust? Teaching them self reflection and helping them work through it is essential.

Continue the conversation: Even after clearing the clutter and focusing on their passions, continue to talk about ways they can simplify their involvements and improve their contributions. Remember: As your student grows and changes, so can their passions. Keep helping them narrow their focus on what they were designed for and what the best possible career fit and eventually college fit, may be for them.

As always, if we can help you and your student along this journey, don’t hesitate to reach out,

Your friends at CPI