You would think that the amount of time that students put into activities that it would matter a great deal for college admission. Let me hedge by saying that there is a certain necessary amount: a sport, high involvement in a club, some community service. Doing nothing is a red flag.
But beyond a certain point, time in many activities is superfluous, at least in relation to college admission. One more hedge: if your child is engaging in additional hours because it elevates them emotionally or otherwise, then there will be happy balance to be struck between doing activities simply for passion versus doing other work/activities for college admission.
The biggest time suck: sports. I’ve written elsewhere about both my love of sports and the fact that all three of my children were highly involved athletes. But those on travel teams and other extensive training for athletics usually do not realize the opportunity cost of spending so much time on an activity that – for most – will end in high school. While the time traveling to Rhode Island or Maryland to play a soccer or softball may seem worthwhile in the moment, that time could also be spent in many other ways, such as academics.
Those entering junior year should be highly mindful that there is precious little time left to invest related to the next stage of life. Invest wisely.