This is part five of a November series on how families can create a framework to communicate and collaborate throughout the college application process. To access earlier posts, click here.
Does my child need to take ballet? Or violin? Training in music helps develop lasting aural comprehension and math sense—or should she go to space camp and be on the debate team? Kids need hands-on training in the sciences and public speaking. Should she be taking Spanish? Chinese? Does he need to go on a service trip? Learn to code? Students should be prepared for the rapid globalization of today’s markets—what will get my child into the best colleges?
We hear these questions all the time. From high school students as well as parents. It’s kind of terrifying, how wide the world is, and how many options there are to pursue—but that’s the answer. There are so many options. No single course of extracurriculars is right for every student.
But there are common denominators in what colleges are looking for: passion, perseverance, curiosity, and leadership. Just the things you’d expect colleges to want: students who will approach their classes with intellectual excitement and open minds, and who will bring vitality and success to the clubs and programs on campus.
Help your child pursue their interests with passion, so they become leaders and innovators in their chosen activities. Here are five steps to help your child choose and commit to their passions:
(While these steps are mostly middle and high-school appropriate, they can be adjusted to work with younger children.)
1. Ask: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Help them clear out their cobwebs of doubt and ask themselves: What’s the most important thing I want to take on? What would change my year? My college or career options? It could be something as simple as starting to exercise, writing every day, or signing up for voice lessons. The choices are endless, but help them choose one thing. Depending on his or her age, the next step may be to turn the rest of this list over to him or her!