Are Activities Important Essential to Get Into College?

A parent passed along a question they had about some advice another college admissions consulting professional have given them. This individual advocated that activities are not necessary to get into college.

I certainly disagree, but let me qualify that and explain in more depth. A common misconception is that students need to be completely well-rounded. Many assume that their child must be in 5-6 activities including at least one sport, instrument, service club, academic club, etc., etc. While I would strongly disagree with the assertion that students don't need ANY activities, I would far prefer to see students dabble in a few things that might interest them as freshman and even into sophomore year but then select and commit to a "deep dive" into one or two of those things that they continue throughout high school (or that they continue on with from middle or even elementary school). Within these one or two activities, I encourage students to seek opportunities for leadership - either formal or informal. Not everyone can be a team captain or club president due to the sheer mathematics of it and due to personality types, but everyone can choose to be proactive - seek to mentor younger students, start a fundraiser, etc. The college seminars I have attended with selective schools in attendance have reiterated this - the admissions committees at these schools are not necessarily seeking well-rounded students; they are seeking "pointy" students - those who recognize that their free time away from their studies and academic responsibilities is precious and spend it wisely by immersing themselves in a sport, instrument, pursuit, or cause that they love and dedicating themselves to improving themselves and others in the process.