Preparing for your college future early shows remarkable maturity. Teens who consider their college applications earlier, rather than later also have a better opportunity for acceptance because they are able to “round out” their information.
But, it can be hard to know exactly the most favorable items to include on your submission. Students want to know which activities will look the best to the application board members. And, many musicians or prospective musicians want to know if playing the violin will make them a more favorable candidate for their school of choice.
Your extracurricular activities say a lot about who you are, and colleges aren’t looking for just the smartest people, or the students who can pass tests perfectly. Those things are important, but when it comes to Ivy League schools or other highly competitive institutions, admissions boards give more weight to other factors. Namely, how likely it is that you will succeed in life, and make your mark upon the world.
To judge your ability to succeed, boards look for three things: Commitment, Leadership, and Recognition. And playing the violin can fulfill all of those requirements.
Making a long list of a bunch of different endeavors can actually work against you on your college application. One year with the chess club, one year on the yearbook committee, etc. makes it appear like you haven’t yet developed the “staying power” required to really succeed in life. Those activities are great, and in many cases, trying a variety of things can help you determine where your interests lie. But, college boards are looking for commitment.
On the extracurricular page of the admission form, you need to list activities that you stick with for the entire four years of high school. So, if you’ve been playing violin since you were six or seven years old, or even just since the 9th grade, that is an awesome way to demonstrate to admissions boards that you possess the strong commitment needed to succeed.
Leadership abilities are key for making a good impression on a college admissions application. These will usually be found in the roles you’ve played in clubs and organizations you participate in. Being a captain of a sports team, or getting elected president of a club shows board members that you have a quality that others can look up to and looks fabulous on applications. What is even more impressive is if you’ve held that title for longer than one year.
Being elected by your peers as a leader shows that you can make decisions, delegate responsibilities, and accurately gauge the abilities of others when apportioning tasks (telling others what to do). All of these qualities are important skills for later in life and mark you as a person who others can trust. Believe it or not, getting elected leader of student body or even a music appreciation club (if your school doesn’t have one, start one!) shows that other people like you, and that you can relate to others, which is a big influencer on whether or not you get accepted to your “A-list” college.
Recognition means that you’ve achieved outstanding performances in the things you do. Awards, prizes, certifications, and other accomplishments are easy to verify and look great on college applications because they show that you have a keen desire to excel in your pursuits.
Playing the violin and earning a coveted spot in a competition, like being accepted for a regional orchestra, looks great. Plus, it’s considered a “creative” activity. Playing an instrument like the violin, visual arts like dance, and computer programming are creative endeavors that highlight your ability to think outside the box, and when you achieve recognition in these endeavors, college boards are quick to take notice.
So, can playing the violin help make your college application look better? You better believe it! Playing the violin is an awesome (and fun) way to round out your extracurricular activities page on your application because it offers you the ability to show your commitment, leadership, and accomplishments. You can find out more about how to make your application look better by visiting one of the many sites dedicated to helping students do their best on college admission forms. Also you can learn more about the benefits of playing the violin by checking out our past article.
Looking for a music school to advance your violin skills? Check out some of the best music schools in the world.