Sunday, February 7

Can Chess Get You Into College?

Conventional wisdom suggests that you must participate in a wide range of academic and extra-curricular activities to get into a top tier university. Examples include math club, debate team, band or a varsity sport. Where does chess fit into the picture? Over the years, there has been little evidence that competitive colleges view chess as more than another club.

A parent pointed out this article from April 2008 about admissions at UC Berkeley. I wouldn't have thought much about it except for one 5-letter word in this paragraph.
"The admitted class for fall 2008 also excels beyond academics. It includes a world champion in youth division sailing, a student who wrote a symphony during high school, a back-up dancer for a pop star on a U.S. concert tour, a national chess tournament champion, an international Irish dance competition winner, several Olympic and Junior Olympic medalists and a set of quadruplets."
Perhaps there is hope after all! It is just a few short words, yet they say chess matters.

The more frequently admissions officers see chess listed among activities, the better the chances that it leaves a positive impression. In fact, my teaching experience has shown that chess can indeed be one component of a successful college application, especially when supported by thoughtful essays.

1 comment:

bfn said...

I don't think the chess champion title matters as much as the high SAT scores and GPA.

However, if the student has the required SAT scores and grades, then chess couldn't hurt.