Admissions

Will Dropping Speech/Debate Hurt Admission Odds?

Question:

I am a freshman at a highly competitive private school in both DECA and speech. Next year, I have been offered the chance to become a DECA officer, however, that means I will have to quit speech as they both require classes that conflict. I am very passionate about DECA and I do well in it, but I don’t know if quitting speech after one year will reflect badly on my college qualifications. I do well in speech, and I have heard that speech and debate is more useful for college but there aren’t many leadership opportunities in speech. What do I do?

Sometimes “The Dean” gets tough questions, but this one is a no-brainer. If you can’t do both DECA and speech, definitely stick with DECA. You clearly have a passion for it, so you certainly shouldn’t give it up.  Dropping speech will have no negative impact whatsoever on your college prospects. Admission officials do like to see that students have used their time in a worthwhile way outside of the classroom, but speech and debate will not impress any more than DECA will.  In fact, if you are aiming for the most selective colleges (the ones that get the most attention on the College Confidential discussion forum) you should note that both DECA and speech … while well regarded activities… will not help you to stand out in a crowd at admission-decision time since each is a very common high school undertaking. So in addition to your commitment to DECA, you might want to also look for another endeavor that you can pursue concurrently that you will love just as much but that is also a bit more unusual.