Is Community Service Essential for College Admissions?

College admissions officers expect to see community service as part of your extracurricular activities. Community service is a great way to get involved in your city or town and gain valuable experience in areas that interest you. Not only does it feel good to get out there and help others, but your experiences may help you learn about future career interests. Volunteers are a vital part of all communities. Every year more and more college scholarships are based on community service and volunteering.

The fall and winter are times of the year when the importance of volunteering should be most apparent. Feeding the hungry, collecting clothing for the needy, and tutoring students in low performing schools are all ways that you can donate your time and energy towards the members of your community. Community service is an important factor for college admissions.

Performing community service will give you not only a sense of responsibility but also make you proud of where you live. It will also give you satisfaction that you were able to make a difference. Extracurricular activities and volunteering in particular, show that you are a well-rounded individual and you know how to manage your time efficiently.

Community service should involve activities that reinforce your interests. If you are an athlete, get involved in the Special Olympics. If teaching is a career you are considering, tutor young children in an after school program. If you are interested in medicine, spend an afternoon a week working at a hospital. Getting involved in the community shows that you are a responsible citizen.

College applications should not just highlight your GPA and test scores. They are also a place to demonstrate that you are a person who is concerned with others. Colleges look at academic performance as well as a student’s involvement in school and in the community. Colleges may admit you because you have a perfect 4.0, play an instrument, sing in a choir, or actively participate in a varsity sport. Volunteering can also boost an applicant’s chances for college admissions.

Community service in the real world is a way to build social and career skills. It is also a great way to meet many different people from all walks of life while making many new friends along the way. Colleges are looking for students who volunteer with passion, commitment and enthusiasm. They are interested in students who have pursued their community service over a period of time as opposed to a few days of volunteering here and there.

Students can also be creative in finding their own community service projects. Don’t just do something generic because it is easy. If you see a need, find a solution. Most importantly, volunteering is the right thing to do even if you are not concerned with college admissions.

Susie Watts is an educational consultant and college planner in Denver, Colorado. She is the founder of College Direction. Susie helps students with their college search, applications and essays, and provides college assistance throughout the college admissions process.

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