Does Quitting an Instrument Really Matter?

In the maze of college admissions, parents and students alike often worry about every decision’s impact, from course selection to extracurricular activities. A common concern among families, as highlighted by Dan Ulin of Elite Student Coach, revolves around the decision to quit playing an instrument and its potential implications on college applications.

It's a Myth...

Dan challenges the prevailing notion that continuity in activities like playing an instrument is a make-or-break factor for college admissions. Drawing from conversations with parents, he addresses the undue stress and concern over a teen’s decision to stop playing an instrument after years of commitment. “Why shouldn’t I fold space for my mentee,” he muses, emphasizing the importance of making choices that genuinely reflect the student’s interests and happiness.

Empowering Choices Over Prescribed Paths

The fear that discontinuing an instrument will negatively impact college admissions is largely unfounded. Dan’s advice to parents is clear: if your child no longer feels passionate about an instrument, it’s not only acceptable but advisable to let it go. This decision won’t close doors to colleges but will instead open up space for pursuits that more accurately reflect the student’s current interests and passions.

The Real Criteria for College Admissions

College admissions officers look for authenticity, passion, and a student’s genuine interest in their activities. They’re more impressed by applicants who pursue activities that truly excite them, rather than those who stick with something out of obligation or for the sake of appearances. Admissions panels can discern between students who are genuinely engaged in their interests and those who are merely ticking boxes.

A New Perspective on "Quitting"

Rather than viewing the cessation of an activity as “quitting,” it’s more productive to see it as a strategic pivot towards aligning activities with true interests. This approach not only alleviates unnecessary stress but also encourages students to explore and develop new passions that could be more meaningful and fulfilling in the long run.

Have you or your child faced a similar decision regarding extracurricular activities? How have you navigated the balance between maintaining a strong college application and following genuine interests? Share your experiences and insights below.

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