FOCUS: For fun or for show? Some students prioritize appearing well-rounded on college applications over genuine engagement with their interests

As a student fills out their college application with countless clubs, sports and extracurriculars, they wonder whether or not they have enjoyed the extracurriculars they have participated in. Many high school students believe it is necessary to take rigorous classes and participate in numerous extracurriculars to be accepted into college. Some students attempt to meet these standards and in turn, overload themselves.

SCHS senior Rida Faraz believes colleges often stress students to take part in extracurriculars they may not be passionate about.

“With college applications being so competitive, that puts a lot of pressure on students to just do everything and have all of these extracurriculars under their plate,” Faraz said. “I think even for me sometimes I can feel that pressure.”

Faraz is aware that a full schedule may attract colleges, but she believes it is essential for students to know how much they do at once and when it is time for them to take a step back before adding another event to their calendar.

“The main thing is you have to know your capacity,” Faraz said. “Like how much you’re actually able to do, and if you feel that you’re overworking yourself, then I think honestly you should take a step back and reconsider what’s healthy for you.”

Sophomore Ren Brown observed that many students feel overwhelmed with extra clubs, especially those they only use for college applications.

“A lot of people that alway complain about the clubs they are in because they’re always like, ‘This club is so hard, but it looks so good on my college application,’” Brown said.

Vice Principal of Activities, Sharon Freeman, believes that joining activities for one’s enjoyment should be the biggest motive, not solely college applications.

“I think that as long as you are doing these extracurriculars because they are important to you, that’s where the genuine connection is made,” Freeman said.

As Brown is the president of the LGBTQ+ club, she acknowledged that even with the pressure of colleges, participation in clubs is usually based on what it means personally to the students.

“Most of them (motives for joining a club) are personal reasons. Like the LGBTQ+ club, I noticed that there wasn’t a club and I am part of the community, so I wanted to help,” Brown said.

Faraz noticed that community is also a common motivator when students choose extracurriculars. Sports and clubs both provide an avenue for students to connect with their peers. Additionally, sharing a common interest or projects allows students to be more involved in the school.

“Part of it was just like I see that everyone around me is being a part of all of these different things” Faraz said. “So I thought for myself I wanted to start getting involved in the activities that we have around our school.”

Freeman believes that with the amount of club and sport choices at SCHS, finding one that fits students is often not a challenge.

“There are so many clubs that everyone on campus should be able to find a group that they can connect with,” Freeman said.

For some SCHS students, extracurriculars are used to allure colleges and for others, they are an outlet for genuine interest.

“I think it’s split between people and what they want for their future,” Brown said.