Originally Posted by eema
As someone who lives outside the US, I am just fascinated by this thread.

Where we live there are no SAT's, and we have world class institutions that can be accessed without spectacular grades or a lengthy resume. Fees are lower too.

Good luck to all of you who have to navigate this!

I'm not from this country (USA), but we live here now. When I went to university it was free. (Now it's increased to being merely cheap). Entrance was based on sufficient academic qualifications, and no other criteria.

But I've recently been reading online, and I'm aghast at what goes on here, which is why I started this thread. I just don't get it. I've never actually met anyone in real life who has ever mentioned anyone ever doing anything non-academic in order to increase their chances of college admission. So I've been completely oblivious to this whole phenomenon of people engaging in (huge amounts of) non-academic Extra-Curriculars in a calculated attempt to get into desired colleges. It never would have occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.

Originally Posted by intparent
Yes, College Confidential is the place to go. Be warned, it is like crack for parents of college bound students, though!

One book that I really like that can help you think about ECs vs academics is:

How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport

I actually got this book and started reading it, but I couldn't get past a few chapters of this stuff. It's so bizarre.

We're not going to get involved in this non-academic busy-work arms-race. My kids can focus on academics to the extent they want to, and can do whatever else they want for fun and fulfilment.

But the preparation for university should be academic.