I remember that when I was in sixth grade, the cool kids' motto was "i luv college." They said it all the time. A friend of mine even got that iced on her birthday cake. It was far off, and I didn't even know what a resume was. 

Ah, college. How times change.

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If one person says the word "college" to me, I may just get sick. This is along with the phrases "student to faculty ratio," "standardized test scores," "AP classes" and "campus diversity."

Diversity. Every single college that I've visited and every brochure I've ever gotten never fails to mention the diversity of its student body. They have X number of students from all fifty states and Y foreign countries! Oh, the joy!

The word diversity has taken on a new meaning in the world of college admissions. Seemingly overnight, it has become a virtue to be Asian-American, African-American or Native American on your college application. You are at the mercy of the race you list on your standardized tests. Colleges will love you all the more (or less) for it. People want desperately to take part in this diversity, since if you do, selective schools and scholarships abound.

Another gem of diversity: religion. If you are Muslim, Sikh or, of course, Jewish (and outwardly acknowledge it), along with other religions, you automatically contribute to campus diversity. So if you are at least somewhat religious or have religious parents, you had better make that obvious on your application.

In a way, though, since there are already so many Jews on selective college campuses, they (or should I say "we") are no longer such a novelty. As less than one percent of the US population, however, colleges are eager to grab at a piece of challah and serve it around on Friday nights at Hillel. Being outwardly Jewish is a huge boon in the college admissions process; even though it's not as rare as one would hope, it's still more "diverse" than the average WASP applicant.

As a result, many Jewish applicants are flaunting to college admissions teams that they are "more Jewish" and thus "more college bound." Teens join synagogue youth groups, become presidents and go to a bunch of conventions. And I'm GLAD that they do all of this. These are all incredibly valuable activities. However, part of me wonders how much of these activities are genuine. Do most Jewish teens pursue these actives to list them on their college resumes or on their "Olam Ha-Ba" resumes?

While I have many friends who participate in synagogue youth groups because they are proud of being Jewish, I also see others my age going to synagogue only to list it on their resumes. Maybe we're all a little guilty of doing things only to later list them on applications, but religion is another matter. Doing a half-bit job in Debate Club is not the same as doing a half-bit job in your service to God.

Call me crazy, but I don't go to any youth groups. I go to synagogue because I enjoy davening. Before I seem too "goody-goody," though, I will tell you that I make sure that you can see I'm Jewish on my application in other ways. Those ways, however, are genuine. I didn't go to Jewish literature camp, learn Hebrew or volunteer at the Hebrew Home to list that on my resume. I did those things because I wanted to, and because they are fulfilling.

The distinction must be drawn between being Jewish for your resume and being Jewish for yourself. It pains me to see the college application process making Jewishness artificial. Judaism is more than leadership experience or an extra-curricular activity. It is a way of life. And at the end of the day, I think that colleges want their applicants to be genuine Jews rather than "resume" ones. After all, they want their Hillels to stay in business.

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