When college admissions committees examine students’ applications, they attempt to get a feel not only for the applicant as a student but as a whole person. For this reason, a large portion of any admissions decision – roughly 25 percent – is based on the applicant’s extracurricular activities, including club participation, sports and admissions essays. Most importantly, colleges give particular attention to volunteer service in considering the student as a whole.
Now, one might ask, why that is the case, as volunteer service often has little to do with one’s specific interests or academic abilities. Turns out, it tells the college a great deal about a student.
First, it shows that the student is willing and able to give his/her time to helping others for no real personal benefit. This demonstrates that an applicant who has performed some community service has a compassionate personality and recognizes the importance of giving unto others. An extension of this, volunteering to help one’s community shows the desire to improve the community in which he or she lives. Both of these show a person who would be willing to contribute to improving the school by participating in student government, organizing events, or even helping their fellow students through tutoring or similar services.
Thinking in the long term, a student who acts upon the impulse to help out the community in their teenage years will later go on to aid their community in greater ways as an adult. This includes getting involved in politics or otherwise contributing time and money to the community, both of which raise the prestige of their alma mater by extension. Also, in a more financial vein, these individuals are seen as more likely to donate to their colleges, giving back in a monetary way to the school that ‘raised’ them.
Additionally, students who perform community service show their prospective colleges a well-rounded person. A student is not merely the numbers and statistics printed on their transcripts. A student is an individual with their own personality, interests, dreams and aspirations, which will drive the student and, in a small way, the college in a specific direction. Because of this, admissions boards consider very carefully the aspects of the student as an individual as they are able from the application.
More importantly, schools realize that working for a community cause in sometimes challenging team dynamics helps foster teamwork, leadership skills, interpersonal skills and maturity in an individual. These are traits that go a long way in defining a person, and in determining success relative to ambitions.
So, if you are planning to take the SAT or the ACT in the near future, do pay a good deal of attention to selecting a meaningful volunteer activity. Not only will you beef-up your application, you will also grow personally and feel a great deal of satisfaction while improving the community around you! Its a win-win situation!
SAT/ACT and Academic Tutoring