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Old 09-09-2014, 11:14 PM   #1
evhledzep5150
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Can guitar be used to your advantage for college apps?

I was wondering if per chance there was a way to use my guitar playing experience to my advantage to add depth to my college applications. I have roughly a 3.97 GPA, 2060 SAT and not a massive list of extracurriculars. I attend a very competitive high school with plenty of people that have 4.5 GPA, 2400 SAT and a dozen ECs, so I need to stand out in any way possible. I spend a ton of time jamming with friends, practicing, and songwriting, and I am a pretty competent musician overall for my age.

The problem is I'm not a jazz snob or a classical snob with years of formal education, as I've taught myself guitar. It's just something I'm super passionate about. Guitar doesn't seem to have a great forum to demonstrate skill and musical competence like piano or a school band instrument. I'm also trying to become an electrical engineer, not going to Berklee College of Music or GIT for music.

So, anything remotely useful I can make of this for college apps, or forget about it?
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:27 PM   #2
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:43 PM   #3
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Volunteer work, internships, music, art, sports, travel experience, leadership experience can all have a positive impact on a college app. If you play like this I would definitely mention it:
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cajundaddy
Volunteer work, internships, music, art, sports, travel experience, leadership experience can all have a positive impact on a college app. If you play like this I would definitely mention it:

That might take awhile for me to transcribe (actually that's not too bad), but I could probably play that (clean setting of course, a little boost like she seems to have here), I have pretty good dynamics and good vibrato, good legato, can do little sweeps easily and can alternate pick. Not to glorify my playing, I'm no Guthrie Govan, not even a fusion player, but I believe I am technically capable of playing this. I'm not sure how I would convey this to colleges though.
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by evhledzep5150
I'm no Guthrie Govan, not even a fusion player, but I believe I am technically capable of playing this. I'm not sure how I would convey this to colleges though.

You don't convey that to colleges. That's not what matters.

Anything can be considered relevant for these types of things if you BS it enough. As long as you cover the following:

- how it expands your world view
- how it makes you a more well rounded person
- experiences that connected you to the community
- "soft" skills that will translate into a greater professional profile
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:51 AM   #6
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you've been in a band, so here's something you could talk about how that experience helped you work in a group setting, where everyone is contributing. It helped you learn leadership skills as you had to keep the band focused and driven. etc etc

As XiaoXi said it's all about BS'ing and drawing something from nothing.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:22 AM   #7
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2 things:

1) Yes you can use it to boost an application. Colleges love hearing that you have hobbies that you're passionate about. It shows that you have the drive and commitment to stick to something you love.

2) What school do you plan on going to man? Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter too much that your high school is competitive when you're a much better student than 90% of the country. If you're planning on going to an Ivy League college then yeah, you might have some tough competition. But I'll put it this way, you make me look like a complete dumbass and I go to a pretty decent university.





EDIT: Also, what's your GPA on a 4.0 scale? You can't use GPAs that can go over a 4.0 when comparing to other people because every school weights them differently.

I went to two different high schools. Immediately after transferring my weighted GPA dropped big time. Also the valedictorian at my first school graduated with a 5.7. At my second school the valedictorian had a 4.28. And it wasn't because the second school was worse. The second school was the top rated public high school in my state. It just happens that the way they weight it is so different that a 4.3 was as high as you could go at the second school when you could get up to a 6.0 at the first one.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:23 AM   #8
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:56 AM   #9
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I don't know about where you are but when I applied for uni in England I did a guitar examination which got me some extra UCAS points, so you can to some extent.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
You don't convey that to colleges. That's not what matters.

Anything can be considered relevant for these types of things if you BS it enough. As long as you cover the following:

- how it expands your world view
- how it makes you a more well rounded person
- experiences that connected you to the community
- "soft" skills that will translate into a greater professional profile

good post


Also stuff you do outside of school is really important. Anyone can join school-based ECs but they'll be seeing a lot of that so if you're doing anything significant outside of school it's worth mentioning it. Guitar won't automatically make you different but it shows that you have the motivation & passion to pursue something other than school related stuff. Have you performed for any community events? Even just for someone's last-minute wedding or something.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:41 AM   #11
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
You don't convey that to colleges. That's not what matters.

Anything can be considered relevant for these types of things if you BS it enough. As long as you cover the following:

- how it expands your world view
- how it makes you a more well rounded person
- experiences that connected you to the community
- "soft" skills that will translate into a greater professional profile


This..

I give an example.

I'm a guitar player in a death metal band.

Say that is wrong. This is not my personal way of thinking but you have to judge what someone wants to hear in the heat of an interview.

What you should say is;

I've been playing guitar for 5 years starting out with pop songs and now in a band playing heavy music. I've gotten drawn into this style because of it's technical aesthetic quality.

Alternatively if you want to stay true to yourself go work in IT.

All the people I see here working there are 20 - 25, act slightly creepy are physically weak looking and wear black shirts with shitty metal bands this is all on the workfloor, but they make big dough.

I'm guessing their inteligence trumps all that, actually beautifull to see tbh.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:50 AM   #13
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lol, be in the UK. apply to a decent uni for engineering and they won't a shit for anything extracurricular unless it directly pertains to engineering or the skills it involves.

not sure if that's how it works over there, but for EE you'd be better off making stompboxes or something. it's not too hard, the skills you'll learn won't be completely irrelevant to your course, you'll probably find it interesting, and you might make some cash doing it
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:09 PM   #14
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Go on, brag some more about your GPA. Bitch.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:13 PM   #15
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I don't see why they would care if you aren't going for anything music related.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:27 PM   #16
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wormholes
I don't see why they would care if you aren't going for anything music related.

because having passions and a variety of interests makes you a more desirable candidate for school, jobs, etc.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
You don't convey that to colleges. That's not what matters.

Anything can be considered relevant for these types of things if you BS it enough. As long as you cover the following:

- how it expands your world view
- how it makes you a more well rounded person
- experiences that connected you to the community
- "soft" skills that will translate into a greater professional profile



dis
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wormholes
I don't see why they would care if you aren't going for anything music related.

'Cause engineering programs don't want people who are boring, since it doesn't look good.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:07 PM   #20
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Mind explaining GPA for the sake of all the users on the other side of the pond?
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