Head boy/head girl, worth the effort?

(22 Posts)
mindgone Sat 27-Apr-13 00:25:49

It seems that these posts can involve such a lot of extra time and effort at such a busy time in kids' lives, with exam pressures etc. Does it really make any difference for uni applications, CVs, life in general?

LittleMissLucy Sat 27-Apr-13 04:18:01

I think it does, actually. Leadership roles are often seen as a sign of good character (whether that be true or not...).

creamteas Sat 27-Apr-13 10:57:48

It will make little difference to the vast majority of uni applications, most admissions tutors are interested in aptitude for the subject. Applications for subjects like medicine need to show people skills, but just being head boy/girl is not enough for that anyway. You would still have to show what you had gained from it, and there are other ways to do this.

The advice at my uni for graduates is to drop school-related achievements from CVs and replace them with more recent experience anyway. So leadership activities whilst at uni would be more important than this.

cory Sat 27-Apr-13 11:37:51

I think it depends entirely on the child and what future they might be heading for.

For some careers, an opportunity to develop leaderships skills might be very beneficial, regardless of whether admissions tutors are ever going to look at that particular piece of paper or not.

For a different child, heading for a different career, it may be that that time could have been more profitably spent on something else, whether school subjects or extra-curricular activities.

ISingSoprano Sat 27-Apr-13 16:40:51

My ds wasn't head boy but within his schools prefect structure he was one of a team of just 8 senior prefects (head boy, head girl and six house captains). I don't honestly think this added much to his CV but to be chosen for the role out of a cohort of about 200 certainly gave him confidence and self belief. He really had no idea he was regarded that highly by his peers and teachers.

Interesting this one.
They are expected to turn up to meet and greet at every single evening function the school holds, from parent evenings to open days to presentations. That is a lot of hours, in GCSE year as well.
DS2 came home with an application form. He doesn't really want to do it because of the huge commitment but would if he thought it was hugely beneficial . I had said that the application and interview process would be useful practice but he has decided not to apply in case he gets the job! He would probably be one of four or five realistic candidates.

nextphase Sat 27-Apr-13 17:13:37

Well, Deputy head girl still goes on my CV. never been commented on. The gold DoE award, achieved at a similar time, is often commented on.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Sat 27-Apr-13 17:58:16

It can't do any harm grin and, I agree, that it gives the child added confidence and experience. I don't think Uni's care very much though.
My DD is studying medicine and didnt do 'leadership' roles, hasn't learnt an instrument and wasn't in any fancy sports teams. It didn't matter a jot despite medical schools specifically asking for applicants to demonstrate leadership. She did write her personal statement carefully and made the most of her experiences and achievements.

joanofarchitrave Sat 27-Apr-13 18:04:32

I think unfortunately it is possible it can do some harm. The head girl in my year was really inspirational, had a great relationship with the head and other teachers, and was a true facilitator for other people - we all had a wonderful time and achieved a lot. She would make a wonderful CEO. However, she got bad grades in her A-levels and it knocked her confidence. I can't say for sure that her grades were affected by being head girl (I know others who have got top grades) but I think they were.

Yellowtip Sat 27-Apr-13 20:41:43

I expect the vast majority of those chosen can manage to get their predicted grades too. And it's quite a nice accolade. So on the whole, I'd say do it.

webwiz Sat 27-Apr-13 21:28:40

At my DCs sixth form all the head boy/girls that I've known of have gone on to do really well at their A levels and often to Oxbridge/medicine. It certainly doesn't involve being at every school event but they do have to speak at open evening and at the prize giving evening.

One of DD2's closest friends was head girl and she just took it all in her stride and went on to get A*A*A at A level. I think if DS wanted to apply I would encourage him (he's year 11 at the moment so it would be this time next year) as I think its a good thing to do if you can but for the experience in itself rather than for university application.

MoreBeta Sat 27-Apr-13 21:38:26

I was head boy at a boarding school 30 years ago and it was an extraordinarily hard year. I did not enjoy the experience because I did not get the support I needed from the Headmaster in my role. At least 1 day per week was running the basic operation of the school day along with a teacher from 07.30 - 21.00 and often had to make speeches, welcome guests and generally be 'on duty' at other times.

I dont think it helped me get in to uni but perhaps was noticed by employers as a sign of consistent achievement.

The accoclade is nice but the person doing it needs good support at home and school.

Agree with morebeta in that it's mostly to do with the accolade and parental pride. I know the current HG at DS2's school and she is a high achiever academically but has been run ragged this year. I am a governor at the school and see how much time she puts in on a daily basis in school hours plus every school event, of which there are many.

What MoreBeta said. DS is HB, and it's a lot of work, but he's not getting support from the HT (whole other issue). Lots of public speaking, lots of organising for the parents and it's likely, as in DS's case, that the HB or HG is already involved with lots of other things and won't have a shortage of leadership activities for his/her CV.

scaevola Sun 28-Apr-13 09:53:07

What a head boy/girl actually has to do varies enormously between schools. It's an honour not to be turned down lightly, as it is offered to those who show leadership and other qualities valued by appraisers and only those who the adjudicators think can cope with the role.

It may or may not make a tangible difference to future applications. But it might mean a great deal in terms of confidence and self-esteem to the pupil.

MoreBeta Sun 28-Apr-13 10:40:36

I very much agree with this: "..has been run ragged".

Lots of parental support and a very close eye and a phone call to HT if things are getting out of hand.

Its a job you are not trained for or prepared for at all IME

LadyMountbatten Sun 28-Apr-13 10:45:02

i was. I STILL use it. Locally its a big deal. INwardly it was bloody hilarious

roisin Thu 02-May-13 02:03:13

In some schools it is a very onerous and time-consuming task. I think it can be a great opportunity to learn life skills. But before considering, you should be clear that dd/ds is:
* very efficient at time management
* currently very solidly on track for all subjects
* has never shown any signs of stress
* does not have other significant time commitments (eg music or sport)

I don't think the time investment is repaid in terms of how it looks on uni/job applications, but does have other advantages.

mindgone Sat 04-May-13 00:36:47

Thanks all. Was just wondering whether to encourage it or discourage it! I guess we'll just see what he thinks when the time comes, and we should have a better idea of how he can manage his time and studies by then. Very interesting to read so many different views, thanks again :-)

lljkk Sat 04-May-13 13:03:40

In my experience, they tend to go to enthusiastic but not the most academic kids. Which is fine. It is a kind of labour of love.

Happymum22 Sun 05-May-13 19:07:40

Yes but no more than other roles like House Captain, Charity Captain, School Council, Sports Captain etc.
Most of these things it is not WHAT you did but HOW you describe it and describe what you gained from it.

DD, bless her, was asked to be House Captain in Year 6 at her junior school. She wrote a very polite letter rejecting it, explaining that she would much rather be Head Tuck Monitor as she felt her qualities suited it better and she would gain more from the role grin she just wanted first pick of the tuck each day and to be bossy at breaktime.

Saracen Mon 06-May-13 09:40:47

I don't have an opinion.

In light of what others have said, why not encourage your ds to speak to current/recent head boys or head girls from his own school to get an idea how they have found it, how supported they are by the headteacher, and how much work it is?

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