An increased emphasis on high school extracurriculars is causing an uptrend in over-scheduling of college students’ already limited free time.
The Common App is a popular tool for the organization of college applications, and it offers ten blank spaces for students to fill with extracurricular activities. Most high school teachers and guidance counselors strongly suggest that none of those spaces remain empty.
Ten daily, weekly, or even monthly extracurriculars would take up the majority of any one person’s time. That does not include the hours spent with family, doing homework, and even sleeping that are necessary for a balanced life and success in school.
Many of these students all across America continue on to college with this same sense of urgency- to do well in life, they feel they must be a part of as many activities as possible. They sign up for different clubs and organizations and pledge themselves to multiple causes.
This over enrollment isn’t the issue. It’s assumed that most people won’t stay in each association as they find which ones work best for them; but they often do.
Multiple first years in McCormick Road Residence Area have admitted that they feel pressured to see out their initial commitments to clubs.
Metcalf resident Sarah Kiscaden agrees. “Even if they aren’t interested in it, most people won’t quit [an organization]. They just want to keep that number [of extracurriculars] as high as possible,” she says.
It’s clear that students today are leaning more towards quantity over quality when it comes to filling their schedules. Instead of focusing on activities that are meaningful to them and developing close connections within those groups, they are overextending themselves on autopilot.
If high schools and college admissions officers are able to shift the focus off of numbers and onto what matters, students will be able to stop struggling to fill in the spaces. Maybe then they will find the free time they desperately deserve.