Make Community Service Count for the College Admissions Process

Posted on

September 22, 2018


Greg Kaplan

Extracurricular Actvities

It is common for parents and students alike to ask, “Howmany community service hours do I need to get into college?”  The answer: there is no magic number.  For community service, regardless of whetheryou dream of attending Stanford or any other college, the commitment and thesignificance of your community involvement far outweighs the sheer number ofhours you spend volunteering.

There is no magic number when it comes to the number ofhours you need to get into college.  Collegeswill ask for how long you have been involved with an activity, how many hoursper week you are involved with it, and the number of weeks per year.  That is it.

Yet in a stack of 100,000 applications, the time spentvolunteering does not paint a picture of why it matters to you, or moreimportantly, why it matters to anadmissions officer.  To tell thisstory, expect to write an essay describing why the service matters and shapesyour view of the world and your position in it.  Highlight what you learned in the activity andhow it has influenced your perspective about your future plans.  If you were a leader in the activity, it isalso beneficial to explore what you learn not only in terms of the outcome but alsohow you can increase your impact in society. When admissions officers review your application, this is what they willbe assessing—your ability to make a difference on their campus.  

As this school year is in full swing, look for opportunitiesto make a difference and grow.  Focusjust on the few activities that matter the most to you.  This will not only build your resume forcollege but, more importantly, provide you with the opportunity to learn aboutyourself and how you will contribute to society going forward.  



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