Community Service Plays an Important Role in the College Application Process

By Samantha Douchette   , , No comments

The school year isn’t the only time that you can spice up your college application. Summertime offers the perfect opportunity to volunteer at any organization of your choice. Community service is becoming increasingly more important when it comes to college admissions. Currently, community service is ranked as the fourth most important factor for college admission officers.  So, don’t wait until your senior year to start thinking about volunteering. Here are a few tips when it comes to deciding how to help out your community.

Dedication is key. The most recent survey done by Do Something, an organization that influences younger people to volunteer and contribute to their community, found that out of all of the college admission officers surveyed 72 percent thought it was better if a student stuck to one cause instead of volunteering at a variety of places. This shows dedication and interest in the area. However, if you would like to volunteer at multiple places, make sure you explain that you are interested in more than just one cause when applying to college. Stress that you were involved in more than just one issue that you care about.

The admissions officers also said they would rather see someone commit four years at a shelter opposed to a short stint volunteering abroad. But, don’t let that steer you away from what you want. If there is an overseas opportunity that really interests you, take it! Explain in your admissions that you are passionate about what you did elsewhere and that you want to continue the work you started there. Community service is supposed to illustrate your interests and character for colleges.

Seventy-six percent of the admission officers said that service organizations, like the Boy Scouts, are not given extra weight. In other words, don’t worry if the organization you choose to work with has a recognizable name or not. What matters is what you do while you work with the organization. However, 76 percent also said a leadership position plays a critical role.

In the end, volunteering shouldn’t be about what colleges want to see on your application, but about what you like and want to do. If you want to be a doctor, volunteering at a hospital is probably right for you. If you want to be a teacher, consider tutoring or volunteering at a library. Giving your time to something that truly interests you and your passionate about will not only teach you immensely but also prepare you for your future career.