Colleges want applicants to declare their “passion,” but what they really need is persistence and purpose, writes B.K. Marcus, editor of The Freeman, for the Foundation for Economic Education.
“The good news for stressed-out college-bound teens is that passion is easier to fake,” writes Marcus. However, the rush to find an easily marketable passion by the age of 17 can be damaging.
Well-rounded students are out of luck, writes Steve Cohen, co-author of The Zinch Guide to College Admissions, in Top 10 Myths of College Admissions. “Colleges want a kid who is devoted to — and excels at — something. The word they most often use is passion.”
Harvard’s Turning the Tide proposal calls for admitting students based on passion — “passionate involvement in social causes” is stressed — rather than test scores and grades, Marcus writes.
Passion “burns hot, and it can burn out,” writes Marcus. For long-term success, young people need purpose and persistence.
In “Our Push for ‘Passion,’ and Why It Harms Kids,” parenting author Lisa Heffernan writes, “By the time a child rounds the corner into high school … the conventional wisdom is that he needs to have a passion that is deep, easy to articulate, well documented and makes him stand out from the crowd.”
Kids feel compelled to “grab onto an interest, label it a passion and buy the requisite instrument or equipment.” The problem, she warns, is that “Fake passions crowd out real ones.”
Also being a big phony is debilitating.