Column: Serving Others to Serve Yourself
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
College applicants spend hours and hours writing one essay after another. The key to college admission, however, is not only GPA and ACT/SAT scores, but also community involvement. Money.usnews.com describes that community service is “ranked number four in importance of factors considered for admission — above reference letters, interviews and legacy.” Fortunately this growth of importance will only increase for years to come.
With a multitude of applications pouring in at once, high school students are in need to distinguish themselves from the rest of applicants. The best way to do so is to get involved. An article entitled “College Admissions: Volunteer Service That Gets You into College” by The Huffington Post, expresses how admissions officers “prefer to see a student who sticks with one cause, not one who dabbles in a laundry list of volunteer opportunities.” College Raptor goes on to say that sticking to one or two causes shows that a student is heavily engaged in a particular volunteering opportunity, and that they truly enjoy and care about the issue, rather than having a slight involvement in many organizations. This does not mean to only deeply volunteer with one or two organizations. It is important to still be actively engaged in other organizations, but when writing college applications, stress the importance of the one or two organizations that you were deeply involved in.
When writing essays, get personal by sharing anecdotes on how volunteering has changed you. Money.usnews.com specifies that you should not just outline what you did and how many hours you volunteered. Instead, college admissions officers want to know why you took place in this organization and how this experience has impacted your life. The Huffington Post advises a college applicant to use power words for instance, initiative, personal change, leader; instead of danger words, which include, showed up, forced, required. These admission officers read hundreds of applications each day, so make sure your essay is unique so you stand out to them and amplify your chances of acceptance.
A college can learn a great deal about you just from looking at your community involvement. They can see that you are interested in using the skills and talents that you possess in order to improve the lives of others; that you are reliable and trustworthy; but most importantly that you are able to handle multiple demands in your life, without becoming overwhelmed, describes theartofapplying.com. Not to mention that all of the work that you are doing in order to apply for college is also helping you to become a great job applicant.
If an applicant is unable to volunteer because they need to work in order to support their family, they should just simply explain their economic situation and how they are helping their family out. The Huffington Post expresses that admissions officers will not disregard a person who does not have any community involvement if they are unable to volunteer because they need to support their family. Though if a student is being lazy and lethargic, the admission officers will look down on the student and an applicant’s admission may be affected by their lack of community service.
Now is the time to make the most of your high school career before applying for college. Get involved in your community and volunteer whenever possible. This will only make you look like a shining star in a field of average applicants and improve your chance of getting into the college of your dreams.