How not to pad your extracurricular resume

In light of today’s Midmorning conversation on college applications, here’s a New York Times blog piece on lightening the load of extracurricular activities. It’s geared toard college students, but I think the same principle may hold for high-schoolers.

Sandhya Simhan counsels overachievers how not to overdo the extracurriculars:

The second rule of being successful is learning to say no to things. In order to be able to devote yourself to those few activities that really inspire you, you need to make time for them, and that can only happen if you don’t take up every opportunity that comes walking by.

Such wisdom apparently occurs later on in school:

I’ve noticed a trend in my three years of college: The older we get, the fewer things we do. As a freshman, I joined almost every club I thought might be interesting, which put my club tally somewhere around the ridiculous number of nine, including a 20 hour-a-week dance team. But as a sophomore, I quickly figured out that I was only really invested in four of them. In this, my third and final year, I’m involved in three main activities as well as my part-time job.

Although I understand the sentiment, aren’t we missing the point of extracurricular activities?