What if college applications didn’t ask for your position in a club, but how you actually contribute to the group?
Right around spring midterms, Andover students scramble to write board applications, hoping to receive a title in their club. They hope that this title will land them an acceptance letter into some elite university and selective program. Tension is high at this point of the year, as students are hoping to be compensated for their commitment with labels that represent dedication and interest. The words co-head, associate, and board member become common themes of conversation and underclassmen look towards the older students who receive the position that they hoped for. Leadership positions are treated as the only form of leadership.
As a campus we greatly value the honor and esteem that comes with a leadership position. As a result, “board app season” is a stressful, yet important part of our year. However, we value the appearance of a leadership position more than the responsibility and action it holds. We focus on getting the title more than what we will do with that title. The motivation to do things is lost once someone obtains a leadership position; as a result, students with leadership titles sometimes don’t perform their full duties, as they feel like the important part of the leadership process is done. There is a mindset on campus that says that a leading position is more important than a leading action. This mindset is detrimental to our progress within groups and also as a campus.
However, it’s not entirely our fault. As a prep school, we find success in acceptance to good schools; hence, we value their applications with great importance. On these applications, they ask three questions for each activity:
Description of Club (100 words or less):____________
When our goal treats our activities in such a manner, it’s hard to look at an activity as anything less than an opportunity to fill up a line on an application. It’s time for the culture surrounding leadership to change.
Leadership is about action, not position.