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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2005
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    815

    Default National Honor Society or horse?

    My son will be a junior next year, and he has been invited to apply for the school's NHS group. It seems to not only require a lot of community service, but school volunteering as well. Since he now works every weekend to pay for his horse's board, plus he will be taking 2 AP classes next year, the choice looks as though it will be NHS or horse. Any advice? Any college admissions folks out there? Is this really a make or break decision?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default There's no choice...

    I just finished my junior year of high school with a horse, a job working off the horse's board fees, h/j competitions about once a month, 2 AP classes and an honors class (at a top ranked public school). I got As and Bs in all three classes. I did well on my SATs. It's called 'time management' - plus in my opinion, I don't think I would've made it without the horse. He was something to look forward to at the end of the school day, and definitely a major relief of all my stress. I honestly felt like a happier person than all the other kids, all jobless, getting similar grades in similar classes riding lesson horses once a week (rather than their own 5-6 times a week like me).

    Next year, I plan on taking four AP classes, competing more, and of course college applications. To ivies and the like. But I know I can manage.

    My school does not have and NHS. But I was required to do 12 hours of community service by April.



  3. #3
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    May. 6, 2005
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    Default

    Do you drive? My son doesn't drive yet, and I work full time, so my time management skills need help!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2006
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    609

    Default

    If he's going to college in 2 years, just skip the horse, send him to college some place where he can ride different horses or maybe find one good one, which he can buy if he supports himself after college. You don't have to have a horse to ride one, and if you get one and don't have the time, you might get the Guilt. His interests will change a lot in the next four years. You don't need another mouth to feed!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default

    I started driving about halfway through jr year. But the barn is only about 15-20 minutes from both school and my house, so driving was never a huge issue. But my mother stays at home. Perhaps find a carpool? I did that a LOT.



  6. #6
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    May. 6, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog View Post
    If he's going to college in 2 years, just skip the horse, send him to college some place where he can ride different horses or maybe find one good one, which he can buy if he supports himself after college. You don't have to have a horse to ride one, and if you get one and don't have the time, you might get the Guilt. His interests will change a lot in the next four years. You don't need another mouth to feed!

    We already have the horse. My son has been just fanatical about his horses and riding, but I can only afford the horse if he is able to work to pay some of the expenses. So, this is a BIG decision for us. It truly is horse or NHS.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
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    36,233

    Default

    It is my impression that colleges are favorably impressed by students who are fanatical about SOMETHING, and able to balance that with school and work.

    As a student with a passion he stands out as an individual. As a member of the Honor Society, he becomes part of an elite GROUP but does not stand out as an individual.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2000
    Location
    CT
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    3,210

    Default

    What does he want? If his horse is his passion, then he needs to do that. I dont think sacrificing that for a line on a college application would be worth it for either of you. He needs to follow his passion.
    My suggestion would be to really look at how much he wants to ride. If he can see "doing without" for a couple years, then the National Honor Society sounds like a good bet. But if he really cant imagine not having a horse and riding, and is willing to work to do that, I think that is a terrific outlet, stress-reducer and character builder.
    And if building that college resume is that important - I think his dedication and hard work to support his equestrian accomplishments could sound even more impressive than membership in an honorary society!



  9. #9
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    May. 6, 2005
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    815

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MsM View Post
    What does he want? If his horse is his passion, then he needs to do that. I dont think sacrificing that for a line on a college application would be worth it for either of you. He needs to follow his passion.
    My suggestion would be to really look at how much he wants to ride. If he can see "doing without" for a couple years, then the National Honor Society sounds like a good bet. But if he really cant imagine not having a horse and riding, and is willing to work to do that, I think that is a terrific outlet, stress-reducer and character builder.
    And if building that college resume is that important - I think his dedication and hard work to support his equestrian accomplishments could sound even more impressive than membership in an honorary society!
    To be honest, that is what I was hoping to hear (and thank you, Janet, as well). He has worked since he was 12 for his riding and has never complained. This summer, he works 20 hours on Sat/Sun for his board, and works Mon-Fri riding his trainer's sale horses. He loves it, wants to be an equine surgeon, and has maintained honor roll with all honors classes at a very competitive local school. He has also managed to be the local director for a youth horse education project and a member of our local 4-H. However, his father believes that "lines on an application" are more important. I know that he can't add another activity to his schedule. I have a friend who is Dean of Students at a well-known university and will ask her the same question. Thanks for your thoughts.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area
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    3,887

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    It is my impression that colleges are favorably impressed by students who are fanatical about SOMETHING, and able to balance that with school and work.

    As a student with a passion he stands out as an individual. As a member of the Honor Society, he becomes part of an elite GROUP but does not stand out as an individual.
    I absolutely agree with this ... he's demonstrated perseverance, a deep interest in a field, and great time management.

    plus, working with horses is such a good outlet for stress.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    Ohio!
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    1,817

    Default

    Besides just looking good on an application, the horse is acting as a stress relief, a social outlet, teaching him compassion and problem solving and all kinds of things. So personally, I agree with most everyone that the horses are more important than the Honor Society. And if he's already doing honors classes, he won't notice much of a difference doing AP levels.

    I would think that directing a local youth horse education project would be considered community service. So, if he was interested in joining the NHS, maybe that would count?

    He sounds like a neat kid, I wish him luck with his goal of being an equine surgeon!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2007
    Location
    Aiken, SC
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    4,696

    Default

    Getting into a good school is important, but the best school in the world wont help much if he has no social skills or work ethic.

    I think the horse will make him more marketable AFTER he graduates becuase he will be relating to non honors people all the time and working on his people skills and making contacts that might help him get a job in later life.


    A horsey background does look good on an application. When my schools did orientations and had to "brag" about the backgrounds of their new students, "equestrains" was always mentioned.

    I got to give a lecture to the dean of my law school since his daughter rode. Impressions like that are lasting and lead to more jobs then high school honors activities


    You pay for school. It only pays you back if you make good people contacts while there. Horses are a very good way to do that and bond with future employors, clients, and HR people.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2005
    Location
    Ohio
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    300

    Default

    Horse
    Only dead fish go with the flow.

    http://tommybluefoot.blogspot.com/



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2004
    Location
    Sergeantsville, NJ
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    Default

    Both. Learning time management skills at an early age is a good thing. Oldest daughter did NHS, all AP classes, worked weekends and after school, took care of our barn, and rode her own horse daily - and is at Dartmouth. Youngest daughter (CarolineWeber) does NHS, takes multiple AP'S, takes care of our barn, and rides her two horses daily. It IS easier now that she drives (since April), but we managed before - and we both work full time. If riding and academics are both important, you can make time for both.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
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    Default

    He has also managed to be the local director for a youth horse education project
    THAT sounds like a pretty good line on the application.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    1,316

    Default

    Horse. As long as he's getting good grades and has good SATs he won't have trouble getting into a good pre-vet program.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2003
    Location
    Southern Maryland
    Posts
    1,267

    Default

    Well, how about if you half lease the horse? Someone pays off the part your son doesn't have to work part time for the horse?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2002
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    947

    Default

    Another vote for sticking with the horse and the passion and career path he has already developed. He has some great things going on with his involvement in the equine industry. Do not throw that away for NHS. Like someone else said, lots of kids that don't have anything else special join NHS to have something to put on their apps. He has a lot of great things that show an interest in pre-vet.

    As far as time management- it is better to do some things well then a lot of things just mediocre! Do not stress the kid out with 101 things to do (horse, job, AP classes, NHS, volunteering, social life, etc) because eventually something has to give and you don't want it to be his grades!

    Good luck.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2008
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
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    1,634

    Default

    Colleges look for applicants that have a consistent dedication and involvement in extracurricular activities. Being an equestrian that is so devoted that he works to support his activities and has shown the initiative to do related volunteer work is, IMO, better than NHS. I've known people that reviewed the college applications and they actually like to see something different. The fact that he has done volunteer work outside of a framework like NHS speaks *very* highly of him. I would certainly like his application more than the typical bookworm who got involved with the NHS just so he could improve his chance of getting into college. How many students do THAT every year? Ho hum.

    But...what does your son want to do? He will put his heart and utmost effort into what he really wants to do and therefore do it well and that is what is important.

    When he submits his college application essay it will most likely lay out his long term interest and involvement with horses and what he would like to do in the future which you say is also horse related. It will be easy to see that this kid has direction in his life and that is what the schools want to see.
    Altamont Sport Horses
    Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
    Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
    Birmingham, AL



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    3,148

    Default

    I wouldn't dream of asking a kid to give up his passion, his pet for a fluffier college application! Were I in his shoes, that would have been like death. Follow your passions, do your very best in school, and let the chips fall where they may.



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