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December 11, 2007

David Petersam Comments on Squash in New York Times Article

Squash – the sport, not the humble gourd – is growing in popularity, especially in the Northeast, but has it become the athletic "wow" factor for college applicants? A New York Times Dec. 9 article, headlined And for Sports, Kid, Put Down 'Squash,' explores the rising popularity of the court game and whether it has potential to boost applicants' chances for admission to prestigious colleges. David Petersam, founder and president of AdmissionsConsultants, Inc., was interviewed for the article. Petersam is supportive of high school students' commitment to athletics, he doesn't buy the argument that squash outweighs the importance of other sports in the realm of college admissions. From the article:

The idea that squash is a shoo-in sport is debatable, said some admissions experts.

David Petersam, founder of AdmissionsConsultants in Vienna, Va., acknowledged that colleges consider extracurricular activities, but, he added, "to say squash is better than basketball, baseball or Greco-Roman wrestling, I wouldn't go that far."

While schools may be adding squash teams to their athletics menu, admissions officers will remain interested in the array of athletic experience and accomplishments that applicants bring to the table. Athletic accomplishment shows applicants' abilities to persevere, contribute to a team, and provide leadership. If squash is a sport an Ivy or other top-tier applicant would like to pursue, then go right ahead, Petersam says. It never hurts to take on the challenge of learning and mastering a new sport. Serious squash competitors, hoping for a spot on the team, are probably aware of the stiff competition they face from applicants who hail from Middle East and South Asian countries, where the sport, as the Times article noted, is already wildly popular.

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