Selective colleges want to admit students who will be successful after college, so that they can donate large sums and bring honor to the college. They want to admit future Nobel prize winners but also future presidents and CEOs.

A recent paper found that Its Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person. Therefore selective colleges value "leadership".

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Parents who spend a good chunk of the week shuttling kids to and from soccer practice or drama club might be comforted by new research that suggests this effort is not in vain as long as their kids are good at math, too.

A recent paper from UCSB found that the return on being good at math has gone up over the last few decades, as has the return on having high social skills (some combination of leadership, communication, and other interpersonal skills). But, the paper argues, the return on the two skills together has risen even faster.

What does all that have to do with soccer practice? The research compared two groups of white, male U.S. high school seniors the class of 1972 and the class of 1992 to see how earnings associated with social and math skills have changed over time. Using two National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveys, it looked at senior year math scores on standardized tests, questions about extracurricular participation and leadership roles, and individual earnings seven years after graduating high school. And it corroborated the findings with Census and CPS data.

The analysis found that while math scores, sports, leadership roles, and college education were all associated with higher earnings over the 1979-1999 period, the trend over time in the earnings premium was strongest among those who were both good at math and engaged in high school sports or leadership activities. In other words, it pays to be a sociable math whiz, more so today than thirty years ago.