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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Multi-sports
By Tommyy (Tommyy) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 12:25 am: Edit

I'm not a serious athlete and just play sports for fun. Therefoer, in my 3 years of high schools, i'm planning to play 3 different sports... trying out each one just for fun. Will colleges see this as a lack of committment?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 01:25 am: Edit

Three sports is definitely NOT a LACK of committment. To the contrary, doing a sport in each season and what it entails in terms of hours per week, is a true committment. I have a kid in three varsity sports (as well as several other ECs) and I know many other kids at school who are as well. Each sport has a different season. In any one given season, her sport takes up anywhere from 14-22 hours per week. I am pretty sure when you said three sports, you also meant a sport per season, not three at once. The committment to even one sport is great. But also they need to see you stick with the sport over many years, as opposed to flitting around year to year from one thing to another. I think the only reason to stick with just ONE sport is if you want to truly specialize and train to do that sport at such a high level that it requires dedication year round to that one sport and specializing and giving up all others. My child has not chosen to do that. So, while she truly excels at her sports, she does not go beyond the state level in any of them cause in order to do so, she would have to do that sport year round and foresake all other sports (and other ECs) to take it to that very high level. Nonetheless, even the level she does them at, involves a great deal of committment and training. So, no, doing three sports in three different seasons is surely not a lack of committment.

I cannot tell from your post if this is just for fun for you and you have no experience, OR if you are hoping to participate in sports that you have done in your youth and wish to continue in high school. If it is the former, I think you might have trouble making the team if the sport is brand new to you. If it is the latter and you have done these sports your whole life, they will like seeing someone that dedicated to something over time. My own child's case is such that she has done these sports from a very young age, continued in all four years of high school and hopes to keep particpating in college. That is where the committment comes in. NOT so much in the number of sports but in the dedication to them over time.
PS: (what sports do you wanna play?)

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 01:28 am: Edit

PS...I reread your post and I hope you did not mean when you said trying out three sports for fun, meaning a different sport each year? IF that is the case, yes, that shows a lack of committment. Find activities you love doing and stick with them in a significant way OVER TIME.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 02:09 am: Edit


Go ahead and have fun.

Nobody will care what sports you played in High School, especially if you are not a serious athlete. High School is all about participating in sports that you may not have a chance to play again in your life.

Except for football and basketball -and to a certain extent baseball, swimming, track and lacrosse- most college attention is NOT directed at the High school level. Serious athletes belong to clubs and teams and see high school sports as a social activity.

The important meets and tournaments are all at the regional or national level, which illustrates the minimal importance of High School sports.

If college recruiters do not visit your school for the particular sports that interest you, just go ahead and have fun. It is a MYTH that high school sports are important.

By Tommyy (Tommyy) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 12:23 pm: Edit

Thanks. I meant three sports in 3 years. Like, my freshman year, I was on varsity tennis, which is the only sport i'm any good at. However, I didn't enjoy it very much, and decided to do track the next year, just for fun. Next year, I want to try out cross country... so would colleges see this as a lack of committment because I switch sports year after year?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 12:54 pm: Edit

So would colleges see this as a lack of committment because I switch sports year after year?

No. There are tons of reasons why people would not play the same sports for years. Injuries and scheduling problems come to mind. It is simply NOT important at ALL. Just do not list the sports as EC since you would not get special recognition for it. It is completely neutral.

By Jayv85 (Jayv85) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 01:08 pm: Edit

Oh, cross country, how I miss it. I ran it last year but I gave it up this year because it was too much with marching band. I did swimming freshman year, but I didn't enjoy that, so instead I run winter track now which is the sport I enjoy. And I've been in spring track every single year since 5th grade. I'm not planning on running track in college, though, because I'm just doing it because I love running and it's fun to me.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 02:04 pm: Edit

First I do not agree with Xiggi regarding sports in general. I do agree that sport themselves are not what are important. But sports are just one sort of EC where one can show devotion ,passion, and committment (lots of hours over years are involved). It need not be sports. It could be any other activity...the arts, debate, research, anything. So, while sports are not imperative, they are an excellent example of a committed EC activity. It is also an activity that someone might continue and contribute to the life of a college campus. So, I would not knock it as you have. I think it is absolutely fine if someone has not done any sports. But they better have some other significant activities that take up this sort of time committment...maybe musicals, symphony orchestras, community service...the list goes on. One is not better than the is the level of the committment, the responsibilities, the leadership, etc.

Ok, that said, now that the original poster has clarified that he meant he was going to switch sports every year of high school....I do think that will show a lack of committment to some degree, yeah. Originally I thought you meant three sports in three different seasons in a my original response does not fit what you truly meant.

If you switch each year, you should be explaining the rationale. Is it a schedule conflict? An injury? If you like track, can you continue with it in whatever season that is, and still do cross country in the other season? Then, you would be adding something, not switching. Also, an athlete would stay in shape in other seasons in some capacity.

I guess I am coming at this a bit from my own kid's experience. Her sports are ones she has done her whole life (and she is not just an athlete, she does many other EC committments over years, including several areas of performing arts and student government, and so on). She has done soccer for 12 years. She played softball for seven years. She has done ski racing for 11 years. She has played tennis for 7 years. She made one switch so I can identify with that. She had done softball in spring for 7 years and did JV in ninth grade. She decided in tenth, to switch her school spring sport to tennis (is number one singles player on team) and had been playing tennis for years in summer, but not for school. She switched her school spring team cause of scheduling issues (conflicts with music and dance) and the attitude of the softball coach regarding this and the tennis coach was begging to have her on his team and was willing to let her go to All States in Music or her annual dance recital whereas the softball coach would not hear of it at all. Since she played both softball and tennis for years and loved both, she made the switch of her spring team to tennis and has been on it ever since (is a rising senior). So, this could be explained. In either case, she devoted years to both softball and tennis. Her fall and winter sports (soccer and ski racing) have been significant in her life since kindergarten. Again, sports are not important as much as showing devotion to something over time. Ski racing alone in season, involves a minimum of 24 hours per week on top of all else. Again, something besides a sport can accomplish such committments.

If I read an application where someone switched around constantly, I would not have a clear picture of his or her passions. Also, by switching, the student can rarely achieve awards/honors in that All States or some such thing...cause the student would not be able to be that accomplished without having devoted significant time to learning those skills in that area. By the time someone is in high school, the committments to a certain activity usually become greater (whereas in elem school, you might practice soccer, for example, twice a week but in high school it is often six days per week).

Just my perspective.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 03:12 pm: Edit

First I do not agree with Xiggi regarding sports in general. I do agree that sport themselves are not what are important.

Susan, I believe that you missed my point entirely. Sports ARE extremely important AND could play a very large role in college admissions. What it is NOT important for MOST sports is the role of the High Schools.

To begin with, most High School programs are complete jokes since they are not taught by professional coaches but rather by teachers who volunteer their efforts. There are, however, HS programs that could rival colleges but those are for the "big bucks" programs like basketball or football. Most everyone in Texas -and probably in many other States- knows that Friday night is Football night. There are cities -like Midland and Odessa, in Texas- that live for their football teams. All life stops on Friday night and people might even order a hit on a competing cheerleader :) Those types of HS programs can afford to hire great coaches and spare no expenses in pursuit of the Division 5 and Division 4 titles. The colleges coaches DO visit the schools and the best athletes are very coveted. But football is an exception.

Let's look at a sport that you mentioned: soccer. I believe that the system would be quite similar in Vermont, so we may have a worthwhile comparison. Most kids start playing soccer at the Y at around 5 years old. By the time, they reach middle school or the age of 10, the next step is to graduate to the world of "select" soccer and join a team that is coached by professionals. In some part of the country, they are called "traveling" team. For the next 4 years, and before any High School starts, the kids will develop through 2 to 4 weekly practices, participate in very competitive leagues and travel throughout the country to tournaments and regional championships.

On the other hand and in most cases, the HS "coach" will round up his class in the beginning of the season, count his select players and hope for the best. What follows will be a few months of asinine practices and mediocre competitions culminating in lackluster finals. The best soccer players MIGHT participate if the school puts enough pressure on them. The select coaches are usually recommending to go though the motions and ... pay no attention to the "coach" tips and strategies that are freshly copied from the ubiquitous Soccer for Dummies book. In some cases, HS HAVE hired professional coaches and the programs are considerably better, but that does NOT change much in the overall value of the program as a development tool.

Now, as far as college coaches go ... Do they travel to HS to see soccer players? Hell no! Why would they? The colleges coaches travel to Regional and National Championships and to a number of prestigious tournaments and showcases. Any parent who believes that the HS soccer team is a platform to a college scholarship needs to check what he puts in his pipe! And if you believe that I am dissing the HS program because I have a bad case of sour grapes, you should know that I play Varsity soccer and that our team is the current State Champion in Texas. I enjoy the camaraderie and love being with my HS buddies. However, none of the players who do not play OUTSIDE the school, will ever see a college recruiter.

In conclusion, each sport has its own "pipeline" from kindergarten to the colleges. There are sports where High Schools are critical since they are "feeders" but most sports do not fit that pattern at all. Play sports in HS for fun but be realistic.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Ok xiggi...I did miss your point, my bad. I do agree for the most part that to be recruited in sports for a big college team, you have to have done your sport likely year round and specialized in it and beyond merely high school teams, yeah. This is a generalization but true in many cases. So, correct, many high school athletes will likely NOT be recruited. I was not really talking on this thread about recruiting however. But I do get your point on that matter.

Here in soccer, there are different levels, yes. There are regional leagues that travel out of state and so forth. However, the kids on those teams in our state are also on the high school teams....they do both. So some of my daughter's varsity soccer team play on these regional traveling teams and a few on Olympic development teams. These kids play soccer year round. My daughter has not chosen that route in any of her sports. To really excel at a national or big regional level, one must specialize in their sport year round. In ski racing, this means attending a ski academy for school. One of the finest in the country is in our town in fact. My daughter again has not chosen to attend a specialized high school. She does their weekend program and still races on the USSA circuit. However, it is hard to reach the big time on that circuit without training many hours per day in a ski academy. So, while she is still on that circuit, she is more competitive on the high school ski team circuit which in our state is very competitive too. To be on the national level, she would have to do ski training even in summer. Instead, she has chosen to do different sports in each season. While she excels at sports, she is not expecting recruitment much from too many. Even in tennis, the best college team coaches will recruit nationally or regionally ranked players. To be one of those, one must compete on the USTA circuit to attain a ranking. Here, in VT, there are barely any sanctioned tournaments to garner a ranking. One would have to travel out of state to do that. If she had chosen to focus all her efforts year round in tennis, she would compete out of state and get a ranking. She has chosen to do the high school team as she loves her other sports in other seasons and cannot therefore play tennis year round. However, she played tennis in matches throughout Europe this summer and happens to be entering a USTA tourney out of state this weekend to at least get a ranking. But she is very very aware that to be at the top of any of these sports, she would have had to specialize. She chose not to. Her hope is to continue playing all her sports in college cause she loves them and has done them her entire life. She realizes in soccer, she will not be recruited just as you say. She would enjoy club teams or even intramurals. In ski racing, she just wants whatever school she attends to offer some form of a race program and each school on her list has at least a club team (she met with captains at every school we visited) and two of her schools have a varsity ski team (Brown and Smith) and she has a chance to make those particular teams we believe (if admitted of course). In tennis, she has no illusions of playing varsity on some of the schools on her list that happen to have top teams with nationally ranked players. She hopes to play JV or club tennis.

So, I never thought we were discussing recruiting here. I agree with you on a lot of that part.

The original topic had to do with sports as an EC and how changing sports year to year might look to an adcom. I still believe whether it is sports or some other significant EC, it looks better to devote a lot of time to a certain activity over a few years at least. And clearly in sports themselves, to be any good at it, one would have to have the skills that are developed over years. For instance, kids on the high school ski team with little race experience, do not place in races. Kids like mine who have raced since they were two years old, get into States and do well. Those are accomplishments that still look good on the EC list, even though it might not mean recruitment. It is being devoted to an interest (in my kid's case, ski racing is a huge passion) over a lifetime and committing numerous hours daily to it and then achieving honors such as in state championships or being named to regional teams and so forth. It still looks nice in terms of an EC. Recruitment, yes, is a different realm and issue.


By Tommyy (Tommyy) on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 12:07 am: Edit

The reason I want to switch sports is because I'd like to try different ones. I'm not looking for awards in sports. I am a dedicated musician, earning state awards in that area and have also recieved other awards that show committment (eagle scout, congressional medal). That said, would switching aroudn in sports HURT me in the admissions process? Thanks

By Jimjunior (Jimjunior) on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 03:28 pm: Edit

I dont know if it is different in your school xiggi, but in my school the situation you have described is simply not true. The best soccer players who play on select teams take the high school team very seriously. The state tournaments for all sports are big deals with lots of fans and very serious athletes and scouts

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 03:46 pm: Edit

Tommyy - well, I don't think so, but I'm a musician and mom of an All-Stater, too. It's certainly credible to show excellence and commitment in something other than sports. Not everyone who pursues a sport in high school is a standout. I'm not fond of the idea with sticking with one activity several years just to look good for 20 minutes to an adcom. One question: are these sports to complete a PE requirement - athletics instead of general PE?

If you are really concerned about how it looks, I suppose you could include a statement about looking for a fitness activity you can stick with throughout adulthood. Just my 2c.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 05:00 pm: Edit


I respect your opinion and understand that there may be some difference among the various states.

However, do you really believe that Division I college recruiters will travel to watch games between Seattle Prep, Bainbridge, and East Catholic? Or would they rather make an effort to scout the Crossfire Sounders, 3Rivers or Eastside teams. Or, would they simply not attend the Region IV Regionals or Snickers National?

I believe that you know the answer. :)

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