Take 10 Minutes to Get Started With Car Insurance Premium Calculator [Top 10 List]

What is Car Insurance Premium Calculator?

Car insurance premium calculator is a dynamic tool provided, online, by car insurance companies. Get started with top 10 car insurance premium calculator online.

  • Almost every reputed motor insurance company has an car insurance premium calculator on their official portal.
  • With the help of the car insurance premium calculator, customers can get a quote for their car insurance policy and the premium amount they need to pay for the same.
  • You have to visit the ‘car insurance calculator’ page and fill in some basic information about yourself like the policyholder’s name, contact details and address, followed by some standard details about the insured/to be insured car. These details are – car manufacturer’s name, model number of the car, manufacturing year, car sub-type (if any), fuel type and registration date.
  • Some companies also give you an option of selecting if you want to insure the accessories installed inside the car.
  • After you have filled the details correctly, just click on the ‘calculate premium’ button and you will immediately get the quote.
  • After this, you also get an option to get more information and payment option to buy car insurance of your choice.

What are the benefits of a Car Insurance Premium Calculator?

Now that we know what a car insurance premium calculator is, let us find out why it is worth a try:

  • Using a car insurance calculator helps you evaluate your insurance needs, which makes it easy to select the best policy that covers all the requirements.
  • It is an easy and efficient way to compare premium rates of a variety of plans with various features for your vehicle.
  • The process of purchasing a policy becomes unbiased as you don’t have to be under the influence of an agent/broker, and are free to make your own choice.
  • By using a car insurance calculator, You get accurate information about the premium amount you’ll be paying for a particular policy.
  • You can also understand the way premium rates change with a change in variables.

How to use Car Insurance Premium Calculator?

Any online car insurance calculator will ask you for basic details of your car such as the make and model, registration number, manufacture date etc to calculate the premium.

However, you also need to know about the following factors that affect the premium value:

  1. Insured Declared Value or IDV of the Vehicle

    This is one of the most important factors that has an impact on the premium for your car. IDV is the sum insured for the vehicle that is finalized by the insurer. In simple terms, it the current value of the vehicle as per market.

  2. Cubic Capacity (CC) of the Vehicle

    The engine power of your vehicle is directly proportional to your car insurance premium.

  3. No Claim bonus (NCB)

    You can save up to 50% on the Own Damage premium if you have a No Claim Bonus feature in your car policy.

  4. Additional Discounts

    Installing anti-theft devices in your car or becoming a member of the Automobile Association of India (AAI) can considerably reduce your automobile insurance premium too.

  5. Car Accessories

    Any modifications to the vehicle will add an extra amount to your insurance premium.

So you have understood very well, What is car insurance premium calculator? and the benefits to use car insurance premium calculator, so take 10 Minutes to Get Started With car insurance premium calculator[Top 10 List].

1. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv Limited (recently demerged from Bajaj Auto Limited) and Allianz SE. Both enjoy a reputation of expertise, stability and strength.

Bajaj Allianz received the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) certificate of Registration on 2nd May, 2001 to conduct various businesses (including Health Insurance business) in India. The Company has an authorized and paid up capital of Rs 110 crores. Bajaj Finserv Limited holds 74% and the remaining 26% is held by Allianz, SE.

As on 31st March 2017, Bajaj Allianz continues to be one of the most financially robust insurers in the industry by maintaining its growth as well as profitability. The company has made a profit before tax of Rs. 1,078 crore and emerged as the most profitable insurer recording a profit after tax of Rs. 728 crore. The company reported a GWP of Rs. 7,687 crore, which has grown by 30.3% compared to the last fiscal year.

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2.HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company Limited

HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company is a 51:49 joint venture between the Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (HDFC), India’s premier Housing Finance Institution, and ERGO International AG the primary insurance entity of the Munich Re Group of Germany. The Company marked the first merger in the General Insurance sector in August 2017, with IRDAI’s approval for the merger of HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd. with HDFC General Insurance Ltd. (formerly Known as L&T General Insurance Co. Ltd.), and the merged entity, known as HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd., is the third largest General Insurance provider in the private sector.

HDFC ERGO offers products like Motor, Health, Travel, Home and Personal Accident Insurance in the retail space and customized products like Property, Marine and Liability Insurance in the corporate space through its vast network of 122 branches which is spread across 106 cities and a wide distribution network.

HDFC ERGO has launched several technologically innovative solutions, offering customers an enhanced service experience, like the Insurance Portfolio Organiser (IPO) App, the IPO App on the Apple Watch, the Overnight Vehicle Repairs service, Motor Self-Inspection App and the HDFC ERGO Community – https://community.hdfcergo.com/. With a paradigm shift in customer engagement because of new technology innovations, the Company has enabled newer platforms for customers to engage and interact with the company like DIA, the AI-enabled chatbot service made available on the Company’s website, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

HDFC ERGO has left no stone unturned in providing customer service, as the Company follows a 30 minute turn-around-time (TAT) for the processing of pre-authorised cashless Health Insurance Claims and a 15 minute TAT to process pre-authorised cashless Motor Insurance claims.

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3. Coverfox

Coverfox is an IRDAI authorised insurance broking firm. We started as a website back in 2013, with an aim to make insurance simple.

If you want to buy insurance – you would want to compare features and prices of an insurance policy and buy the best policy that you deserve. Then you would expect some help if ever you want to make a claim or renew the policy.

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4. Reliance General Insurance

We feel proud to be one of the leading general insurance companies of India. We have a huge customer base which includes individuals like you, corporates and SMEs.

With our 139 offices and more than 26,587 intermediaries across India, you can now reach out to us and enjoy our services at your own convenience. Moreover, with online & telecalling services, we have become even more accessible.

What do we have for you?

You can look up to us for many of your insurance solutions with respect to motor, health, home, travel, marine, etc. Through our products and services, we try to meet every customer’s individual needs by offering customized plans. In our endeavor to delight our customers, we strive to come up with innovative products like India’s first Over-The-Counter health & home insurance policies.


We want to score perfectly for world standard services & products, and want to be your first choice in domestic as well as global markets.


• Satisfy your need of insurance cover in that crucial hour

• Offer incomparable customer service

• Provide innovative products

• Better reach through presence across India and abroad


• Make affordable insurance accessible to all

• Keeping you, our customers, as focal point in all our operations

• Protect policy holders’ interests

• Be the most innovative in product development

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5. PolicyX

At PolicyX it’s all about you, so we make sure you get the maximum by paying the minimum for your insurance. Having insurance is having a financial security in times of death, declining health, maternity, business loss, accidents, diseases and various situations. We understand and stand by you at each step as your own by helping you cover the financial losses in times of need. We have seen and have been appalled by how many times agents play in such sensitive situations by way of cheating, fraud and mis selling. To eliminate such practices in India, we bring PolicyX to you where we believe that our customers should be provided with the best personalized policies at lower premium costs by delivering the satisfaction and sense of fulfillment that you are covered in times of emergency. We connect with our customers emotionally as we understand and respect the importance of you and your family in every aspect of life.

With our motto of Search > Choose > Buy, we get you instant quotes, help you select right quote and secure coverage right away with our technologically advanced system. We run complex algorithms to find plans that fit your requirements and return you features and quotes within seconds. Therefore, PolicyX has got you covered for your every insurance need. Why not get started? Get your first quote now!

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6. Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd

Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises, a leading Indian business group and AXA, a world leader in financial protection. Our firm commenced national operations in August 2008. We are licensed with IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India). With our comprehensive and innovative insurance solutions, we make sure you find the right match for your insurance need. We offer insurance coverage across various categories – Motor,Health,Travel, Home and more. You can easily purchase and renew policies from us online.

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7. Bankbazaarinsurance.com

Bankbazaarinsurance.com is an online destination for insurance comparison for customers seeking both life and general insurance products. We aim to provide customers end to end solution for their Insurance needs and build a one stop shop destination for Insurance requirements, viz. Ease and Convenience; Ease of understanding; Customized offers; Compare multiple options.

Meet the Founders:

Adhil Shetty

An engineering graduate from Anna University and holder of a Master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University, Adhil held decisive positions at Deloitte Touche Tomahatsu’s US East Alliance and Cisco Systems before he dived headlong into scripting the BankBazaar story, the flagship brand of the group

Arjun Shetty

Arjun has a Master’s degree in Operations Research from Georgia Institute of Technology and an Engineering degree from Anna University.

Rati Shetty

Rati completed her BBA degree from the University of Madras. Rati imbibed some rich qualities from Toblerone in Brazil and Milka in the US while managing the launch and go-to market operations of many of Kraft Food’s brands in export markets across the world while working for Kraft in the US and Taiwan.

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8. Easy Insurance India

Easyinsuranceindia.com is another successful initiative of the professionals who founded ICM Computer Consultants and ICM Solutions in 1989 and 2001. These professionals were educated in the U. S. and possess a combined international experience of more than 40 years in the USA and India in the areas of corporate management and IT solution services. Over the past decade, ICM has helped more than 500 customers achieve their goals by providing effective custom solutions that combines software, hardware and other services.

We believe we are successful today because our management focuses on customer satisfaction and customer growth which permeates through the rest of the organization.

We constantly strive to make our operations more efficient, such as reengineering our processes, usage of latest technology, and many more such initiatives, which allow us to provide the customers better service and value for money.

The insurance industry is becoming more and more competitive offering wide variety of choices to customers. This is a welcome change for the customers. However, due to the complexity involved, it has become extremely cumbersome for customers to do comparative shopping for insurance.

Through easyinsuranceindia.com, we empower the customer with a powerful tool where the customers can compare the products offered by various insurance companies in one shot, thus enable the customers to decide on the best insurance cover for them.

Our Mission

ICM Insurance Brokers Private Limited (ICM) is to cover the risks of people and businesses of modern economy who seek easy, transparent, complete, and cost effective insurance solutions on demand coupled with hassle-free claim settlement.

Our Vision

ICM to be the most preferred way to purchase insurance products through easyinsuranceindia.com, its most intuitive ecommerce solutions coupled with superior customer service – during purchase and during claim.

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9.IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance

IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance was incorporated on 4th December 2000 with a vision of being industry leader by building customer satisfaction through fairness, transparency, and quick response. It is a joint venture between the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative (IFFCO) and its associates and Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Group which is also the largest listed insurance group in Japan.

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10. Kotak General Insurance

A 100% subsidiary of India’s fastest growing bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., Kotak Mahindra General Insurance was established to service the growing non-life insurance segment in India. At Kotak Mahindra General Insurance, we value customer service, quality and innovation above everything else.

The company aims to cater to a wide range of customer segment & geographies offering an array of non-life insurance products like Motor, Health, etc.

Kotak General Insurance has a national footprint of 13 branches spread across India (as on 31st Dec 2017) and an employee base of 354 professionals. (as of 31st Dec 2017)

As a practice, the company seeks to provide a differentiated value proposition through customized products & services leveraging state of art technology & digital infrastructure.

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Bottom Line

Insurance has become a prime necessity of life these days and car insurance is mandatory, you can calculate insurance by above given topmost car insurance premium calculator.

John Akii-Bua – Background and Hurdling Tracks to Uganda’s Olympic Gold and Munich’s Top Highlight

Zambian 400 meters-hurdles legend Samuel Matete was born on July 27, 1968 in Chingola in Zambia. Samuel Matete is notably one of the world’s foremost 400 meters hurdlers of all time. For young Matete, legendary Uganda hurdler John Akii-Bua was his foremost sports idol. Matete still holds the African record of 47.10 seconds in the 400mh event, one he set in the German city of Zurich on August 7, 1991. At this Weltklasse Zurich (World Class Zurich), an annual athletics meeting in Switzerland which is part of the IAAF Golden League, and is sometimes referred to as the One-Day Olympics, Matete undeniably made his most memorable athletics mark. In his home country, Matete originally trained under rudimentary conditions, including setting up handcrafted wooden hurdles. Only three other people, all from the USA, have officially ever ran faster personal bests than Samuel Matete. These are: Bryan Bronson in 47.03 seconds (set in New Orleans in Louisiana on June 21, 1998), Edwin Moses in 47.02 seconds (set in Koblenz in Germany on August 31, 1983), and Kevin Young in an astounding world record and so far the only official time below 47 seconds, of 46.78 seconds (on August 6, 1992 in Barcelona, at the Olympic Games, in the finals).

The only other Africa runners with faster personal bests than Akii-Bua are El Hadj Amadou Dia Ba of Senegal. He ran the intermediate hurdles in 47.23 seconds at the Olympics of 1988 that were held in Seoul in South Korea. Here, aged 29, Dia Ba was in the finals beaten to second place by 29 year-old American Andre Phillips (47.19s, an Olympic record), and aging 33 year-old world record holder Edwin Corley Moses settled for the bronze in a time of 47.56 seconds. The performance in this Olympic final was astounding: Andre Phillips established an Olympic record and Edwin Moses (despite his bronze medal placing) had ran faster than he had at two previous Olympics at which he had won gold! Courtesy of Dia Ba, this final evidenced the breaking of Akii-Bua’s intermediate hurdles’ African record. In addition to Samuel Matete, the only other Africa runner with a personal-best timing faster than Akii-Bua’s is Llewellyn George Herbert of South Africa with a timing of 47.81s in a third place bronze-medal finish in the Finals at the Olympics of 2000 that were held in Sydney.

In 1964 John Akii-Bua, a 15 year-old with an elementary academic education, left school. For the next two years Akii settled on helping shepherd his big family’s 120-herd of cattle. Akii had long learned how to milk and how to employ the cattle to plow. Akii tells Kenny Moore in implying that as a youth he grew up to be a tough and athletic herdsboy: “I milked them [cattle], I plowed with them, everything. In 1956, when I was very young, lions took sheep and goats from our farm, even cattle. But none came when I tended them. I did have a close look at some very big pythons. And we have wild monkeys. They can tease you and throw things. They make you run away” (Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972).

Akii’s devotion to family labor duties became even the more significant because his father–county Chief Bua, a prominent county administrator, died in 1965. Akii was only 16 years old then, and he estimated that at the time of his father’s demise, he was one among forty-four siblings (16 sisters and 27 brothers). Akii’s father had five wives, but had earlier on divorced three. The family, which dwelled in the same compound, was semi-nomadic in sociodemographic character, occasionally moving from county to county. Akii-Bua is listed as born on December 3, 1949 (to mother Imat Solome Bua) in Abako sub-county village in Moroto County in Lango District in Uganda. Among the other areas the family settled in and out of were Dokolo, Kwania, and Oyam. The common listing of Akii-Bua’s birth seems to be fairly accurate, but some of his family implies that he was born earlier than 1949. In the Uganda newspaper “Observer,” the article “John Akii-Bua is A Forgotten Hero” dated March 28 2010, Denis H.Obua implies that Akii-Bua was born three or four years earlier than 1949. Suffice it to say. not many decades ago, dates of birth of many African children were not recorded or remembered.

Soon after Akii’s father died, one of Akii’s older brothers picked himself to be a cashier in his bar. He was the cashier until he joined the police in 1966. Akii passed his basic police training in 1967. Before joining the Uganda police, Akii’s only memory of athletic competition was domestic: his father would set up basic group-age sibling competitions over various distances for trophies of candy (sweets). Akii tells Kenny Moore, “I don’t think I ever won. I had to beg sweets from my brothers” (“Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972).

Along with being introduced to active competition, Akii became inspired by Uganda athletes Ogwang, Etolu, and Opaka. Lawrence Ogwang (born in November 1932) is recognized as Uganda’s first major competitive athlete; he represented Uganda at the Olympics of 1956 that were held in Melbourne in Australia and took 20th place in the triple jump (14.72m), and eliminated in the earlier rounds in the long jump after being 27th with a jump of 6.62m. Lawrence Ogwang is a relative of Akii-Bua and he is sometimes listed as his brother.

High-jumper Patrick Etolu, born in Soroti District on March 17, 1935 is notable for finishing second at the 1954 British Empire Commonwealth Games, fourth in the same event and Games in 1958, and ninth in the same event and Games in 1962. In the summer Olympic Games of 1956 held in Melbourne, Patrick Etolu emerged 12th with a jumping height of 1.96 meters. Tito Opaka was a high-hurdler.

Akii started running competitively when he joined the police. The window into his athletic potential was initially shaped by the police drill which routinely started at 5:30am with physical training and three miles of cross-country running. Akii’s stretching flexibility was notable, the cause for his selection into high-hurdling. Uganda’s Jerom (Jerome, Jorem?) Ochana, a superior policeman and Africa’s 440 yard-hurdles record holder, was conveniently there to train Akii. One of the coaching ordeals involved Ochana placing a high-jump bar a couple of feet above the hurdle to shape Akii into learning to keep his head and body low. Akii recounts the ordeal to Kenny Moore: “Can you see this scar on my forehead? Ochana…made me listen. I used to bleed a lot in our exercises, knocking the hurdles with my knees and ankles, keeping my head down” (“Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972).

In the first week of November 1962, at a track meet in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), a tune-up for the forthcoming British Empire Commonwealth Games to soon be held in Perth in Australia, Ochana secured the 440 yard-hurdles victory in 52.3 seconds. Ochana went on to win in the same event at the East and Central African Championships that were held in the city of Kisumu in Kenya. Ochana was in Tokyo in 1964 for the Olympics. In the third of five first round heats that allowed the three top finishers and next one fastest to advance to the semi-final round, 29 year-old Ochana was eliminated when he finished 4th in 52.4 seconds, on October 14th. In the end, Ochana achieved a 19th overall ranking.

John Akii-Bua, soon after winning in four police championship events in 1967, became significantly recognized and was thereafter placed under Briton Malcolm Arnold the new national coach. Akii still holds Uganda’s decathlon record of 6933 points set in 1971 in Kampala. Starting from the mid-1970’s, less and less attention, and fewer and fewer resources were allotted to the development of field events in Uganda. The presence of Ugandan decathlon athletes waned.

Akii won in the 110 meters-hurdles finals at the East and Central African Championships (an annual event originally primarily involving track and field stars from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia) held in Kampala in 1969. With the influence of the coach Malcolm Arnold, Akii-Bua became convinced that he would reap more rewards as a 400 meters-hurdler. In the finals of the 400mh at the Commonwealth Games (Edinburgh, Scotland, 16th to 25th July 1970) Akii-Bua struggled with a back strain and hernia injury, was trailing last at the final 100 meters, but still raced in fast to come in fourth in 51.14 seconds. John Sherwood (England) was the gold medalist (50.03s), Bill Koskei of Uganda (but soon to return to and compete for his native Kenya) second (50.15s), and Kipkemboi Charles Yego of Kenya third (50.19s).

Akii-Bua was not in the top-10 All-Time World Rankings of 1970. But in just the following year, he became ranked third behind Ralph Mann and Jean-Claude Nallet. In 1972 and 1973, his leading world performances placed Akii comfortably at no.1. Akii was less active and prominent in 1974 whereby he became ranked no.8. But Akii resurged to no. 2 in 1975, behind Alan Pascoe of Great Britain and ahead of Jim Bolding (USA) and Ralph Mann.

In 1972 the performance of Commonwealth Games’ silver medalist William Koskei (who had formerly ran for Uganda), at the summer Olympics held in Munich in West Germany from August 26, 1972 to September 11, 1972, was very much looked forward to. Although not ranked among the World’s top ten 400m hurdlers in 1971 or even 1972, Koskei was still regarded as an Olympic medal hope. Koskei, together with Akii-Bua of Uganda reigned as Africa’s top hurdlers. The August 28, 1972 issue of “Sports Illustrated” issue of 28th August 1972 predictably listed Ralph Mann, William Koskei, and Akii-Bua as the premier medal prospects.

At the Olympic Games Koskei, though running in advantageous lane 4, was eliminated in the first round. His 4th place finishing in Heat 2, in 50.58s would not allow him to move on to the next round. At the Olympics in 1972, Uganda’s John Akii-Bua would win in a world record of 47.82 seconds, becoming the first man to ever officially run the 400m hurdles in less than 48 seconds. Ralph Mann won silver by several yards behind Akii, Hemery racing in a very close third. Even after 40 years, Uganda seems to indefinitely celebrate Akii-Bua’s Olympic medal triumph, the only Olympic gold that the country has ever garnered. President Idi Amin, Uganda’s dictator from 1971 to 1979, would soon reward policeman Akii by promoting him to Assistant Inspector of Police (Police Lieutenant), giving him a house (from the many dispossessed from east Asians expelled from or who had fled Uganda), naming a prominent lengthy road in Kampala (Stanley Road–that had been named after American explorer Henry Morton Stanley) “Akii-Bua Road.” Since then, many sports establishments have ben named in Akii’s name.

It is intriguing to more thoroughly follow both the road to Akii’s greatest sports triumphs and the thereafter.

Akii-Bua fascinated his international competition by his unique hurdling and training methods. In the Los Angeles article “Akii-Bua Has Method for Hurdles” in “The Spokesman Review” (June 18, 1972 on page 29): “John Akii-Bua approaches the intermediate hurdles race with abandon and for that reason he’s being picked by many as the next Olympic champion in the 400 meter event.” Akii was known to run unconventionally, not confined to the conventional method of planning to interchange 13 to 15 strides between each hurdle. For example, Ralph Mann, the American champion, had an established plan of running 13 strides between the first five hurdles, change gears to 14 strides over the next two, and then switch to 15 steps over the next three hurdles. In the “Spokesman Review” piece, Akii-Bua is quoted as saying:

“I like to run 14 steps between the hurdles but when I run and get to the hurdle in 13 steps, I say ‘okay’ and I jump it… I just run hard between the hurdles and go over them when I get there… [at the forthcoming Olympics] I will try to run 13 steps between the hurdles but I will still jump them when they come up to me.”

Some years later, legendary American Edwin Moses, the greatest intermediate hurdler of all time would fascinate the world with his long flowing strides that would allow him to stride 13 steps in between all the hurdles. Akii was also touted for being advantaged with his ambidextrous ability to hurdle easily with either his right or left leg.

Previously, at the U.S.-Russian-World All-Star track meet held in July of 1971 in Berkeley at the University of California Edwards Stadium, Akii-Bua won in the intermediate hurdles in an impressive 50.1 seconds, on July 3. Ralph Mann was not among the competitors. Jim Seymour (USA), now at the University of Washington and a would-be USA hurdler in the 1972 forthcoming Olympics, came in second in 50.5 seconds. In July 1971 in Durham in North Carolina, Akii-Bua had won in the 400 meters-hurdles at the Africa vs. USA meet. Akii-Bua proved he was not a fluke by clearly beating African rival Koskei, alongside the rest of the contingent of Africans and Americans, and winning in an impressive personal best of 49.05 seconds. American and number one ranked champion Ralph Mann did not show up. He was competing in Europe.

In July 1972, closer to the Olympics, Akii-Bua won the event at the Compton Invitational in Los Angeles in a good time of 49.6 seconds. After the time was announced, Akii-Bua remarked in astonishment that the time was too fast, given that he had hardly done any hurdling training in the past three months. He had not wanted to run that fast that early in the season and make himself vulnerable to injury and burnout. It is to be taken into consideration that prior to 1980, men’s 400 meters-hurdles timings below 50 seconds were considered very good or excellent. And at this time, Akii’s official best time was 49 seconds. A few months before the Olympics, Akii felt that his 169 pounds on a 6’2″ frame was too light and he wished to build up strength and weight to 180 pounds in time for the Olympics.

Sports enthusiasts in Uganda were generally of the opinion that though Akii-Bua was capable of winning an Olympic medal, he did not train hard enough and was not dedicated and focused enough. He often came across as carefree. Some of his times, especially at home were not satisfactory. He was also beaten into second place by European hurdlers, such as Greek Cypriot Stavros Tziortzis and Soviet Union’s Yevgeny Gavrilenko, in a couple of occasions in European meets. There was during that era also the prevailing universal attitude that hurdling was too technical and scientific an event for black Africans, this worsened by Africans’ mediocre training facilities.

Further, despite Akii-Bua’s impressive performances, he had ascended to international recognition rather quickly. He started running the intermediate hurdles late in 1969. His fourth place finishing in the 400 meters-hurdles finals at the Commonwealth Games in 1970, was followed by his establishment of an African record, including wins in several international meets in the United States and Europe in 1971 and early 1972. In a way, Akii-Bua was still relatively unknown on the world athletics scene. Though not by his choice, he had not competed against some of the premier world intermediate hurdlers such as Ralph Mann and David Hemery. In sum, Akii was not regarded by many as a major medal prospect at the forthcoming Olympics that would take place in Germany in 1972. And even if he did eventually win, this would likely be considered a fluke!

Contradicting the prevailing opinion on Akii-Bua prior to the Olympics was the revelation that in fact Akii-Bua had eyed the Olympic gold medal and breaking the 400m hurdles world record quite seriously! He aimed to win in a big way! It turns out that Akii’s regimen of training included a lot of cross-country and hill running in Uganda rainy conditions because a dry track was not always readily available to him. His hurdling training was grueling, involving him strapping a jacket weighted with 25-35 pounds of lead to his back and running the hurdles (heightened to 42 inches high as compared to the conventional 36 inches) for 1500 meters at least six times a week. This is mentioned by legendary Jesse Owens in the “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” of September 4, 1972 in the article: “Akii-Bua’s Win Impressive.” The 400mh world record, held by David Hemery, was 48.1 seconds. Akii had never officially ran the intermediate hurdles distance in less than 49 seconds. Yet, weeks prior to the Olympics, he was very confident of running the distance in 47 seconds if the weather would be ideal (“John Akii-Bua, an Athlete Who’s Just too Good to Lose” by Doug Gilbert in “The Montreal Gazette-May 18, 1977).

It was at the end of August of 1972 that the Olympics 1972 400mh round one heats (five sets) were held. The rule was for the first leading three athlete in each heat (altogether 15 athletes), together with the next one fastest athlete to make it the 16 semi-finalists. Feelings about Akii-Bua’s performance were mixed, some skeptical. Akii won in heat 4, but his winning time of 50.35 seconds was the slowest winning time among the five heats. Akii-Bua probably simply relaxed himself during the run, being confident that he was through to the semi-finals. Winners in the other heats were Dieter Buttner (West Germany) in Heat One in 49.78 seconds; Dave Hemery (Great Britain) in Heat Two in 49.72 seconds; Christian Rudolph (East Germany) in Heat Three in 50 seconds; and Yevgeny Gavrilenko (Soviet Union) in Heat Five in 49.73 seconds.

In the first of two semi-finals, Akii-Bua not only ran significantly faster than he had done in the first round but proved that he was a top contender for the gold medal. Media communications in Uganda and the rest of the world were far less developed in the 1970’s than those of this Internet and mobile phone age. Most Ugandans, relying on radio and piecemeal newspaper and television networks were in the dark about the impressive progress of Akii. Importantly, Semi-Final Round One witnessed Akii-Bua win in 49.25 seconds (his next best personal performance in comparison with his African record of 49.00 seconds), and decisively trouncing gold-medal hopes Ralph Mann (49.53 seconds) the American national champion and record holder and Dave Hemery (49.66 seconds) the Olympic champion and world-record holder. It was the first time that Akii had faced this quality of competition; until then he had not achieved the chance to race with those two big names that would likely be his biggest nemeses at the Olympics. Was Semi-Finals Heat One a preview of what the finals would be? Both Ralph Mann and Akii-Bua had in this semi-final been assigned to unfavorable Lanes One and Two respectively; while Hemery was assigned to advantageous Lane 5 (which same lane he was assigned to in all three rounds–the Heats, the Semi-Final, and the Final)!

It is significant that while Akii’s heat in Round One had been the slowest among the five, Akii had not only clocked the best time in the semi-finals, but had also been the only one that had won in both qualifying heats. The fourth placed in this semi-final was Rainer Schubert of West Germany (49.80 seconds). The first four in each semi-final heat would advance to the final. Competitors in Semi-Finals Heat Two were quite fast, but not as impressive as the first one. Two First-Round winners, Christian Rudolph and Dieter Buttner, did not finish. The winners, to advance to the finals, were Jim Seymour (USA, 49.33 seconds), Gavrilenko (Soviet Union, 49.34 seconds), Yury Zorin (Soviet Union, 49.60 seconds), and Tziortzis (Greece, 50.06 seconds).

The finals of the Olympic intermediate hurdles were set for September 2, 1972 a date only days before what would become known as the Munich Massacre executed on the Israeli team by “Black September” militants on September 5, 1972. Akii-Bua, a 6′ 2″, 175 pound, athletically built, dark and smooth complexioned youth sporting a bright red Uganda uniform with the inscription number “911” beamed and singularly stood out amongst his European-descended competition. Also, whether by design or shear bad luck of drawing, Akii was in all three rounds assigned to either inner-Lanes One or Two—the sharpest and most difficult lanes to navigate around. For the finals (after being assigned Lane Two in both the preliminary round and the semi-finals), Akii was assigned Lane One, of all lanes! Maybe his previous inner-lane assignments gave Akii the short-term experience and practice of knowing how to navigate through to a gold medal win, albeit being placed in unfavorable Lane One. Nowadays, it is customary to allow the winners in the preliminary rounds to decide to which lanes they will be assigned in the forthcoming rounds. Logically, the winners in each round choose the middle lanes, while the runners-up and ones who ran slower end up having to chose from the “disadvantageous” outermost and inner lanes!

The prelude to the 400mh finals is one of the most colorful in Olympic history, as fourth-positioned USA marathoning finalist at the same Olympics Kenny Moore (in “Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972) reminds us: “…Akii-Bua was amazing. As…other finalists in the…hurdles stared blankly…at Munich’s dried-blood-red track, grimly adjusting their blocks and minds for the coming ordeal, Akii danced in his lane, waving and grinning at friends in the crowd.”

Nevertheless, Akii-Bua was not totally unnerved. He was sleepless, the night before the finals, “…haunted by visions of Hemery winning” (David Corn in “Notes on a Scandal: John Akii-Bua and his Journey from Munich Gold to tragedy” in “The Guardian,” August 6, 2008).

The day arrived! The finals witnessed Hemery, a perfectionist at timing and jumping the hurdles take the lead at a faster pace in the first 200 meters than had been the case when he won gold in world-record time in the previous Olympics held in Mexico City. Most of the cameras were concentrated on Hemery. But long-legged Akii was steadily catching up and overtaking the competition that he could clearly see in front of him. It became apparent that Akii was in the lead soon after the final turn and that Hemery was slowing down. Hemery looked helplessly to his left as Akii, three lanes down powered through. Akii still felt strong and, the finishing line was close, and Akii was confident that the gold would be his! Even after hitting the last hurdle, Akii closed onto the finishing line in what was then regarded as an astonishing new world record 47.82 seconds!

Not until American Angelo Taylor, 24 years later in the Olympics of 1996 held in Atlanta (Georgia) would a 400 meter-hurdler running in the innermost lane win gold. While Taylor won in 47.50 seconds, a displacement of Akii’s world best of 47.82s gold medal win in the inner lane, his photo finish race required many minutes to pass before the ultimate winner between he and Saudi Arabian Hadj Soua’an Al-Somaily (47.53s) in lane 4 was decided. This happened on 27th September, 2000.

“Akii-Bua fascinated the fans by show-boating after his victory. He leaped over imaginary hurdles, went into dances, and waved and grinned at admirers” (William Grimsley-“In Pole Vaulting, Rowing U.S. Handed Big Olympics Setback” Tuscaloosa News, September 3, 1972). Akii-Bua’s victory, let alone attendance at the Olympics in Munchen may not have happened. Many African nations, had threatened to massively walk out of the games in protest of the admission of white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Rhodesia became disqualified.

The outcome of the finals is further dramatically illustrated by Kenny Moore (“Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972):

“…after he had won the race in world-record time…kept on going past the finish, barely slowing while his victims slumped and dry-heaved…. The organizing committee had not allowed time for victory laps but the crowd was on its feet, calling, and Akii heard….bounding over a hurdle and then he floated down the backstretch, clearing each hurdle again, a crimson and black impala leaping joyfully over imaginary barriers where there were no real ones, creating one of the few moments of exultation in the Olympics. And after the Games had ended, on notes of violence and regret and disgust, it seemed that Akii-Bua most symbolized what they might have been. He seemed a man eminently worth knowing.”

Sam Wollaston in another “Guardian” article (August 11, 2008) “The Weekend’s TV,” writes that Akii “…on the night before his Olympic victory…drank a whole bottle of champagne, provided by his [British] coach [Malcolm Arnold]. To help him sleep.”

Malcolm Arnold, a secondary school teacher and part-time athletics coach left Bristol for Uganda in 1968 where he would head coach the Uganda track-and-field team for five years. After Akii’s successes, Arnold became a national coach in the United Kingdom and is credited with successes of such athletes as hurdler Colin Jackson. Partly because Akii’s background of deprivation and meager training facilities, Arnold now in his 70’s still considers Akii as his foremost trainee. Just before the race, Arnold had advised Akii to concentrate on running his race and going for the gold instead of worrying about the pace of the other competitors and the pace of first 200 meters.

Kenny Moore (in “Sports Illustrated”: ‘A Play of Light’, November 20, 1972), from an exchange while riding leisurely with Akii in Kampala the Uganda capital, describes him neatly:

“…he gave an impression of greater bulk than when seen running. His features are fine, almost delicate, and his complexion very smooth. His eyes are small, allowing his face to be dominated by perfect white teeth.”

The 400mh is considered to be the most trying track event: it involves combining skill, timing, strength, and stamina. Because during that and preceding eras native African hurdlers were not expected to perform so astonishingly well, many are still (erroneously) transfixed into thinking that Akii-Bua was the first African Olympic gold medalist.

Top Nine High School Tips

When you are first starting high school, getting used to all the changes from previous schools can be daunting. Fortunately, keeping in mind a few simple things can alleviate most of the stress that comes with attending high school. I wrote this article less than a year after I graduated high school to pass on some of the most important lessons I learned during my schooling experience.

9. Life isn’t fair

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably been warned that life isn’t fair. The saying is uttered so much that everyone begins to forget exactly what it means, and nobody stops to consider its meaning. Is life not fair when you’re passed up for that promotion for which you’ve worked for months? Is life not fair when your neighbor can afford to buy a more expensive car than you can? Or, is life not fair when a close friend or relative is stricken by a serious illness but you are left unscathed?

In all of the above circumstances, life certainly isn’t fair, and this statement applies to high school as well. Life isn’t fair when you’re rejected from the National Honor Society because you participated in more out-of-school activities than in-school. Life isn’t fair when someone sitting next to you can solve an equation in two seconds, while you ponder over it for two hours. Life isn’t fair when athletes receive all the recognition while other clubs and activities are forgotten.

Not only is life not fair, but no matter what you do, you can’t make life fair. Most of the important decisions are completely out of your control and you have no power whatsoever to change them. There are those who are gifted in every respect, and there are certain people who fail utterly even though they’ve tried their hardest. And finally, even though several teachers told me that they disagreed with many of the school’s policies, their efforts to change them were in vain.

So therefore, in such an unequal world, how can one strive to succeed against all the odds? Some people would say to “try hard,” but sometimes trying hard is not enough in such an unforgiving environment. As long as you’ve tried your hardest, however, what does it matter to everyone else? Sure, you could worry about what happened, but as an English professor once told her class, regret is an empty emotion. If things don’t go your way, there’s only one action you can take:

Accept defeat, and try again.

8. Take a wide variety of courses

Whereas many of the top ten on this list were prompted by my regrets or by experiences that I didn’t have, one of the positive decisions I made during my high school career was to take a variety of courses.

I would recommend that everyone take a wide range of courses, regardless of intended college major. For example, my parents and I were browsing through the course catalog in eighth grade and we stumbled upon a woodworking course. Even though I had no intention of becoming a carpenter when I graduated, I had enjoyed “industrial arts,” as it was then called at the Upper Moreland Middle School. While I was nervous on the first day of class as to whether I would benefit from the course, by January I had produced several pieces, all of which are still in use in our and other family members’ homes four years later.

I was also hesitant about putting AP Government on my roster at the end of my junior year. Again, I didn’t know whether I would benefit from taking a government class when I could have taken any number of easier courses. While I had some luck in that I took the course during what could have quite possibly been the most eventful presidential election in history, I enjoyed the class thoroughly and learned much general knowledge about political systems that will help me in the future as an American citizen and voter.

AP courses are also a great benefit. Through these courses and the related tests, I was able to accrue 18 credits before attending college and will be able to graduate in seven semesters. With the exception of one course (which didn’t even count for college credit at Penn State), I would recommend highly all of the AP courses that I took. Be cautious though – some of these courses do require quite a bit of work, and those who don’t think they can keep up would probably be best with a lighter schedule.

In conclusion, if you see a course you might enjoy or think might be of benefit in the future, take a chance and schedule it. AP courses are also a great chance to earn college credit in high school, so take advantage of these opportunities!

7. Keep your grades up in 9th grade

The Upper Moreland School District has a very good “transitional” program for helping students succeed in their freshman year of high school after attending the middle school for three years. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the high school, I didn’t have any idea of how difficult the workload would be.

For reasons that escape me now, I somewhat slacked off during 9th grade, earning a B average. While some of the courses I took were very difficult, I should have been able to earn better grades if I had tried harder. After I was ranked 59th in the class (in about the 22nd percentile), I decided to pull everything together and work harder, eventually graduating in 10th place. While a final GPA of 99.59 wasn’t bad by many standards, it wasn’t good enough to earn scholarships at Penn State or (even though I had decided against it before I received their final decision) to attend the University of Pennsylvania.

Most likely, I was misled into believing that 9th grade wasn’t important because of what some seniors said at an orientation day the year before I began high school. On the contrary, a poor performance in your freshman year will haunt you for the next three (or possibly even seven) years. Therefore, treat each course as if it could determine the rest of your life.

Depending on your goals, it could.

6. Ask around before taking courses

One of the worst mistakes I made in the past four years was not investigating the courses I was taking. Having no information on what a course was actually like or how it would benefit me in the future, I was blindly thrown into situations for which I could have been better prepared.

Three courses in particular come to mind when I look back at experiences I may have been better off without. While I won’t go into details, I will say that I gained little or no lasting benefit from these courses and could have better spent my time doing something else. However, looking at the past, I now realize that courses in which teachers attempt to “prepare students for college” are most likely not worth taking.

Throughout high school, I continuously heard certain teachers state their goals to “prepare students for college.” As far back as 9th grade, I took a class where the teacher asked students in the class to define hundreds of terms in a single weekend. While I spent hours completing the assignments and “preparing myself for college,” I remember very few of the terms now and have realized that college is actually easier than those teachers would have students believe. College teachers don’t require students to define hundreds of terms for homework credit.

I encountered the last and worst class of my high school career in my senior year. At times, the teacher of this course assigned over 10-15 hours of homework in a single weekend, and I received the lowest grades of my twelve years of school. In short, what I didn’t know was that most colleges, including Penn State, didn’t accept the AP credit for this particular course (even though I scored a four on the test), and that scholarships were awarded for higher grades as opposed to tougher courses. Therefore, my work was in vain – but I could have discovered all of this information by simply doing a little research before creating my schedule.

Therefore, while I’d like to say that the attitude of the teacher of a particular course shouldn’t have an impact on whether you roster the class, there are certain courses that simply aren’t worth the effort. Becoming an informed student is another step on the road to success.

5. Don’t be intimidated by college planning

In today’s world, successful people plan well ahead of the times. The typical retail chain, for example, begins ordering Christmas inventory in early January. Look at any celebrity’s success story and you’ll discover a hidden story where someone was outstanding in some activity at a very young age. Therefore, it’s not surprising that high school students are flooded by college propaganda. Somewhere in a pile of old papers I have a college admissions “road map,” which details how students can prepare for college as early as seventh grade!

Obviously, such a flood of information can be overwhelming. Between preparation for the SATs, decisions about which college to attend, and the pressure to keep the grades up, those I know who were inundated with this information took one of two paths of action: began their college search as early as tenth grade or put off the process until the last minute.

First, don’t check the box on the SAT’s which gives you the option of receiving information directly from colleges. Not only will you receive a thousand useless pamphlets that will require hours of your time to review, but you’re probably more likely to make the wrong decision because of a nice looking picture or an unsubstantiated promise.

Believe it or not, you probably already know where you want to continue your education. As early as the beginning of eleventh grade, my dad first brought up the idea of my attending Penn State. I pushed it aside, figuring I would look through all the pamphlets, attend visitations, and eventually make a grueling decision in crunch time. As a result, I visited ten colleges and spent a hundred hours or more of my time writing nearly twenty essays, having them proofread, and completing application after application.

In the end, I decided to attend Penn State anyway, which required no essays, and from which I had already received a decision before I even began applying to the other colleges.

I also took an SAT preparation course, but in truth, statistics agree that SAT preparation programs rarely, if ever, improve a student’s scores. Finally, as I discovered, attending an ivy league school doesn’t assure success in the real world – as I’ve heard from stories involving those who attended such schools. In most cases, a more reasonably-priced university will be as good as, if not superior to, the education offered at an ivy league school. One of my teachers at UMHS once told his students that the only reason private high schools appear prestigious is because they can afford to reject those who won’t succeed no matter how much guidance is offered. The same applies to ivy league universities – they appear exceptional because their reputation allows them to reject less capable students from their larger pool of applicants.

So, in essence, the college admissions process is simpler than you might think. Ignore all the rhetoric and decide where you think you would succeed and be happy, and stick to your decision.

4. Learn to drive at 16

The headline for this tip is somewhat misleading. Let me state that if I were the dictator of the world, the legal driving age would be 18. Since the driving age in Pennsylvania is 16, however, I have to include advice to learn to drive as soon as reasonably possible.

With the enaction of the new six month wait laws, however, I waited until I was 18 to learn how to drive. It wasn’t until after I knew how that I realized how important the skill of driving is to everyday life. It had never occurred to me how many seemingly insignificant tasks that would normally require days to be completed could be finished in a short time when one has the ability to drive to obtain whatever is needed. More importantly, I discovered that many of the commonplace activities in which many young people participate frequently (such as going to the movies), while not all that difficult before, become infinitely easier with the freedom to come and go as I choose.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that everyone obtain a license to drive back and forth from school every day. Driving to school is one activity I strongly recommend against. However, if you have the money to hold a license after you are 16 1/2, then do so. While it might not seem important in the beginning, having a license earlier rather than later will save a lot of hassle when you really need one.

3. Don’t be afraid to pursue romantic relationships

Of all the tips I’ve included in this feature, this one is by far the most difficult to comprehend. Not only is it an awkward topic to discuss, but you probably won’t listen to what I have to say anyway. Hey, I didn’t listen to what anyone else had to say either.

While a number of experiences shaped my opinion on romance, one that stands out occurred during the fall of my senior year. Someone with whom I was enamored suddenly began making idle conversation and showing all the traditional signs of flirting. As the person in question was quite possibly one of the most “popular” students at UMHS, had won about every award imaginable, and most importantly had at least two other guys I knew swooning over her, I figured that what was happening was impossible. For weeks, I battled within myself as others attempted to convince me to ask her out, but eventually decided to give up because the embarrassment of rejection would be too great because of her “social status.”

It wasn’t until well after these events (and a conversation with some fellow students) that I was able to remove the dust from my eyes and realize what had actually been happening. Contrary to my belief, I wouldn’t have died had I decided to take a chance, and so-called “popular” people aren’t any different than anyone else. A girl doesn’t stare at a guy throughout an entire AP Government class for no reason!

On a side note, I was never very enthusiastic about attending school dances. While I had danced somewhat in the past, I ridiculously assumed that dancing was a laborious task that required years of practice to master. Therefore, I was nervous that by dancing, I would make an idiot out of myself. To make a long story short, since I hadn’t danced much before the senior prom, I believed that my lack of experience would be painfully obvious. As you can see by the picture of me that somehow made its way into the 2001 yearbook to be preserved for all eternity, it wasn’t that hard after all.

I should also note that I know someone whose parents “strongly recommended” against dating until the junior or even senior year of high school. This person was forced to reject four girls’ questions during his freshman year and not attend the annual dances and formals. As a result, this person was completely unprepared for later experiences when many of his peers had been associating with members of the opposite sex since they began high school.

And finally, one last tangent – if you’re stuck in a bind and a major dance is approaching, ask a friend. I made an entire weekend out of the senior prom to meet old friends, and I can say (as my “date” probably can as well) I had much more fun doing the things with the group that weekend than I would have looking across the table and smiling at a first date.

So in conclusion, if you’re in doubt, just ask. This statement applies to a number of life’s lessons, and it applies to relationships as well.

2. Be your own person

College, like many universities boast in their propaganda, is a place where you will meet people with a variety of interests. In high school, by contrast, everyone is (or appears to be) startlingly like each other.

Peer pressure is referenced constantly by the media. For example, parents are urged to talk to their children at a very early age to prevent them from being talked into taking drugs by their peers. All of this attention is given for a simple reason: peer pressure plays a huge role in high school life.

In college, however, the pressure vanishes overnight. There aren’t any popular “cliques” that are exclusive to certain people, nor is there a group of forgotten academics who put their grades above everything else. Whereas a student who sits alone at a cafeteria table in high school preparing for the next day’s classes would be labeled “weird” by those who care more about sports during high school, college students make no such divisions because there is one purpose to attending a university – to get good grades and graduate.

A fellow student and I joked about the state of the world’s affairs one day during my senior year. The premise was simple: one day, the jocks, who were the most “popular” kids in the school, would be the average joe, while the “nerds,” scorned by a large number of people for their studiousness, would be running the world.

At your fiftieth high school reunion, nobody will remember who was the most popular or who was involved in the most activities. Even Mr. Daher recognizes the impact of these social “cliques” when he said that each class tends to “pull together” around the time of the senior prom. It’s true – the social divisions vanish, and everyone is left with a realization that the “in” group wasn’t much different than everyone else who was trying to be accepted.

In short, if someone thinks you’re “strange” because you are unique among everyone else, it’s not the end of the world. Just because you aren’t part of the group that everyone looks up to doesn’t signify that you’re any less intelligent, attractive, or “cool” than they are. Be your own person and do what you want to do.

1. Get involved

“That’s the number one tip?” you ask. That’s right – my number one pointer is something that your teachers, parents, older siblings, and just about everyone else says every day. I must have heard this phrase at least a hundred times during my high school orientation process.

Unfortunately, I didn’t listen, at least in the beginning.

One of the biggest changes I swore that I would make when starting college was that I would become involved from the beginning. For some reason or another, in 9th grade I limited myself to the school orchestra. What high school orchestra, you ask? Actually, the orchestra fell apart at the end of the year, leaving me out of the loop in tenth grade.

During that summer, I had a revelation that I was missing one of the most important parts of high school life. As a result, I came back sworn to become involved, and that was one of the best decisions I ever made. I discovered an entirely new aspect to high school life. Why is it important to become involved early? Most of the upper positions in clubs are chosen from those already involved in the clubs, as one would expect. If you want to be the captain of the football team, join the team in 9th grade. If you want to be class president, join class council in 6th (!) grade. In short, as is true in the working world, the important positions are reserved for those who have been with an organization the longest.

I should note, however, that while I joined activities that I enjoyed, I also joined a few organizations for the sole purpose of being accepted to colleges. Attending meetings of these clubs was a chore that I didn’t enjoy, but I persisted because I believed that my résumé would look more impressive to college admissions officers and employers.

I found out too late that most admissions officers would prefer a fewer number of activities toward which a prospective student dedicates him- or herself rather than participation in every club imaginable. And even though I participated in so many activities, I still was unable to obtain a paying job during the summer of my senior year. Therefore, I recommend participation in activities that you enjoy to add a new dimension to your life, but don’t join clubs because some college in Indiana told you to “participate.”

Also, becoming involved in out-of-school activities isn’t a bad idea either. Myself, I was involved in more out-of-school activities than in-school organizations, and I enjoyed both equally. However, don’t expect to be nominated as Student of the Month or be accepted to the National Honor Society if you’re involved in out-of-school activities, simply because many of the awards at UMHS are given to those closely associated with school clubs.

Speaking of the NHS, however, I should add a word of caution. In eleventh grade, I was rejected from the society because I had concentrated on my out-of-school involvements. I immediately decided that I would get involved in so many clubs that they couldn’t possibly turn me down the following year. Surely enough, I was accepted, but into an organization that met once a month for five minutes and held one event during the entire year. Universities, for some reason, boast of the NHS as a club for the best of the best, while in reality the only goal in which it succeeded was to provide another means of further separating the all-around students from those who were more reserved in their participation.

In conclusion, get involved early. If you don’t, you’re missing out on exciting experiences that could never be had otherwise. But be involved because you want to be involved, not because you want to satisfy an admissions requirement.