Originally Posted by madeinuk
Universities want people that are bright, articulate and driven and also applicants that have a strong sense of who they are. So ECs, at a time that is now in the past, probably were an appropriate measure of balance; evidence that the applicant was not a hothoused 'monomath'.

But the college admissions process appears to have morphed into an arms race that has become so extreme that EC's have become just another grindstone for Tiger parents to push their offsprings' collective noses to. This reality then completely undermines their entire raison d'Ítre as a factor that indicates 'balance'.

Even when I was in high school (years ago), I wasn't doing the EC's because I "knew who I was". I don't have any interest in sports or performing music whatsoever, but I did those things anyway, because it was expected (I guess to show that I was "balanced" whatever that means).

I was trying to execute a strategy to package myself as whatever it was that colleges wanted.

I viewed it as necessary or I would be plunged into the abyss. The "abyss" being actually having to work for a living.

When I got to college, there was no longer any pressure on me to do things I didn't really want to do (because I had already achieved my main objective in life), so I did nothing, to the extent that I was able to do nothing. "Nothing" being reading books, watching TV, and playing computer games.

The same thing is true in much of life however.

I don't really have the slightest inherent interest in having a career, but in order to survive, I needed a career.

I'm never going to figure out "who I am", but that's not even relevant to being able to live day to day. You just have to do things so that other people don't knock you out of your employment so that you can continue to generate income.