Building a fake resume: necessary or nearsighted?

October 12, 2016 — by David Koh

Crammed schedules, purposeless clubs and pointless activities — this has become the norm for many high school students at high-powered schools like SHS.

All too often, students find themselves stuck doing activities that they don’t enjoy, such as managing clubs or volunteer work that they assume will look great on résumés. Here’s the important question: Do activities that students aren’t passionate about really matter to colleges? The answer is often no.

According to Time, colleges value passion and commitment over negligible entanglement in unvalued activities. This means that doing activities for the sake of colleges is actually counterproductive and a waste of time. Instead of focusing on filling résumés up, students should focus on activities that they are interested in and can talk about in depth.

Of course, almost everyone says these platitudes and professes agreement with them, but few understand the importance of dropping the college-padding activities. The persistent trend of making this fault could stem from several points.

One reason is the rising competition to make it into top colleges, especially in an affluent area like Saratoga.

This could be solved by a simple shift in mindset. The idea of trying to please colleges is problematic; instead, one should consider pursuing individual interests. After all — and this is what people seem to miss — there is life after college, and colleges will appreciate the applicants who acknowledge this by doing what they are interested in.

Another root cause of this trend is simply confusion. According to Jane Parent, a writer at Your Teen, some high school students don’t understand college standards. Parent goes on to say that it is important for students to be motivated and interested beyond the classroom.

The first step is to educate everyone, including these people.

2016 graduate Luke Salin is an example of how focusing on subjects one is passionate about is beneficial. In his case, it was filmmaking.

“Going into film, I knew I had to be passionate about it and show that through my essays and portfolio,” Salin said.

He said the best way to appeal to colleges is to prove how “real and authentic your passion and motivation is for what you’re doing”.

Salin’s focus on doing what he loved paid off in the end when he was admitted to New York University. In the end, colleges are aware that students often do things to cater to the admissions process, and not only is cramming ineffective, quite frankly, it is difficult to be motivated doing something just for the sake of putting it on a résumé.