Myth: Colleges are ONLY Looking for Well-Rounded Students

You’ve probably heard the term “well-rounded student” a thousand times over during your school years. That term may have even inspired you to branch out, to sample a bunch of different extracurriculars or interests in order to appeal to admissions officers. If colleges only look for a well-rounded student, you better get busy rounding yourself out then—right?

A tennis ball spinning with a darker green background.

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

Colleges aren’t only looking for well-rounded students.

Well, a more accurate statement might be that schools are looking for a well-rounded class. They want a diverse class from different areas, backgrounds, interests, and so on. So while accepting well-rounded students is a definite must for admissions officers, they will also look for other types of students.

We all know a classmate who was a hyper-talented singer or a whiz-kid when it came to chemistry. These kids are almost known singularly by their talent or aptitude, it seems. Teachers, friends, and families will sing their praises and schools want a piece of that action. In addition to well-rounded students, colleges will want to recruit talented or specialized students who may excel at one or two things rather than be average at a number of things. After all, the phrase: “Jack of all trades, master of none” has “master of none” in it. You might want a few masters in a class.

So what can you do?

Instead of being lightly involved in a bunch of different extracurricular activities, colleges would much rather see you more deeply involved in a small handful. Being in the same sport, club, or activity for multiple years shows your dedication. It proves that you weren’t just doing it to get a gold star on your resume or application. It was something you really cared about. Passion is a big plus for any student.

Does that mean you can slack off in subject areas that are difficult or uninteresting to you? Well, no, of course not. Just because colleges don’t only look for well-rounded students does not mean you shouldn’t strive to be well-rounded yourself. It’s always a better bet to broaden your education as much as you can, rather than place your bets on a singular skill or interest.

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