AS EYE SEE IT: Resume padding isn’t the key to success

by Antonio Zodda ‘14

Academics, Service, Extracurriculars: the iron triangle of the Ignatian experience. No journey though this campus is complete without involvement and effort put into all three of these areas. They help one to develop and mature throughout his time at Ignatius, by exposing him to countless opportunities to take advantage of. They are essential to forming the right character in every student.

But the consequences of well pursuing academics, service, and extracurriculars are not all internal. One pleasant side effect of participating in these areas, is the extra boost it gives to one’s resume. Colleges, of course, want to see that the student is putting hard work into his high school career. When building their extracurricular resumes, Ignatius students (or anyone really) tend get particularly liberal with putting down their actual involvements and time commitments. Evidence of effort is important, and the easiest thing to feign is extracurricular involvement.

These students attend one meeting or event (if at all), and then write down that they were 4-year committed members of the club. Or they might start a club, not because of a passion for the subject, but for the sole purpose of putting that “founder” label on the resume column. Then, instead of planning an event or having an interesting discussion, they’ll sit around for the next couple weeks until the club fizzles.

Looking for their take on the issue, I tried to speak with two founders of new clubs, who have both been criticized for “resume building”, for their thoughts, but both declined to be interviewed.

Now unless someone goes all out on an elaborate lie about how he set up an after school program that built shelters for local homeless people, the “moral” issue here is relatively unimportant, seeing as that these “resume boosters” are, in reality, merely a placebo, and do little to help the student break through the Ivy gates.

The bigger issue at hand is how students will do anything for the faintest hope of getting into Harvard. That is the real problem. Societal indoctrination coming from parents, family, friends, and the media, telling them that anything less than absolute perfection is equivalent to failure.

This insane pressure to get into a “top ten” university is what makes these students fill their resumes with half truths. Students need to take a load off and actually join a few of the dozens of fun and unique clubs and sports that Ignatius has to offer.

And if you’re just too busy to take an active role in a few clubs or sports, then you’re probably already focusing enough of your time on other areas that college admissions offices will recognize.

So find a subject area that you like, and join a club or two that encompass it, or, if you have a real passion for something unique, start your own. Get involved, share ideas, bring your friends, and spend those extra 30 minutes or hour after school doing something meaningful. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it.