There are some circumstances in life that require a less-than-entirely-truthful approach. Think of job applications, or signing the yearbook of that kid who sat next to you in sixth period, the one who kind of smelled and who you didn’t like much. College applications require a different kind of dishonesty; they don’t really provide space for you to furnish all the details of your numerous escapades. You’re not supposed to lie, but you have to shorten some things.
Honestly, a flat-out lie might be more truthful. In any case, I’ve been looking over myhigh school records and achievements. I personally found that there were few things that could be considered application-worthy. To make things worse, I’ve seen what applications are supposed to look like when you’re done with them. They all seem to be bursting at the seams with volunteer work, club membership, and academic decathlons (bonus points to anybody who actually knows what an academic decathlon is; I don’t). Basically, all of it sounded really boring. But when I looked at what I’ve done, I realized that while I probably should be doing more, I have a decent start already.
1. What it will say on my college applications: I made Region Orchestra every year since starting high school. Last year, I was ranked third in the region.
What really happened: A bus broke down so a bunch of kids couldn’t try out. Half of them, actually. My friends and I spent most of the audition day convincing freshmen that the audition cuts included “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga and trying to steal each others’ instruments (1 success with the Bad Romance efforts, no successes in stealing).
2. What it will say on my college applications: I attended All-State Solo and Ensemble competition and received ratings of 1’s and 2’s in a total of three events.
What really happened: I got to take a charter bus to Austin, hang out with my friends for seven hours, and eat Chipotle. I played my instrument for a grand total of eight minutes out of the twenty hour trip.
3. What it will say on my college applications: I participated in the school musicals every year, and in our school symphony orchestra.
What really happened: I discovered that playing in the musical means getting to hang out with the theater kids, who everyone knows are way cooler than orchestra kids. Plus, they have to put up with us, or perform their musical minus the music (which, according to a band legend, happened one year). Symphony means going to IHOP with the band kids and staying up late at clinics with weird old professors.
Together, all of it meant laughing a lot and having the time of my life. Looking in to what I’ve done so far provided some valuable insight: Extracurriculars don’t have to be grueling time-suckers that steal your soul. Crazy, I know. But the only good thing about college applications is that you can put almost anything on them. They’re your story, so you have the freedom to write them as you please (side note: I personally do not recommend trying to start a walrus-hunting club, even if you really enjoy it). I know my approach will be to simply do the best I can with what I love to do: waste time, eat good food, and trick credulous freshmen in to believing the most ridiculous stuff I can. So far, it seems to have served me well enough.