I've always wondered why 'society' has a preference for certain after-school activities. This really first jumped to my attention when applying to MUN, noticing that I didn't qualify for many (most?) scholarships because I didn't volunteer my free time, participate in the right activities, or have demonstrable leadership qualities.
Okay, while these sound all well and good, the point of merit-based scholarships is to attract students to a school that will do a university credit. Is the student who scores mid-80's in high school, plays the saxophone, and volunteers at the SPCA really likely to do much more for the institution than the introverted physics nerd with the same grades?
Maybe this is just me whining about how I didn't get as much money as I would like four years ago (I can't believe I'm in my last year of undergrad) - but to a certain extent I just don't comprehend why volunteering earns more points than say video games, or why a team sport is worth more than running.
It's funny that in so many places, we've moved beyond judging people for their preferences. Now, I'm not comparing scholarship committees to segregationist America, but sometimes it's difficult for my mind to make a large distinction.
Hopefully, there's an economic rationale at work. I've even briefly poked through the literature, but I haven't seen anything on analyzing the returns to scholarship money, let alone breaking those returns down by personal characteristics. Maybe there is a secret pool of institutional knowledge that explains this, but I'm pretty sure it's just a blind preference based on what feels good.
WAFF has never been something I've enjoyed.