Volunteering and Ivy League admission are inextricably linked. While the vast majority of students who gain admission to the Ivy League do some volunteer work, community service is in no way a prerequisite for gaining admission into an Ivy League university. But when students do have significant community service activities, does this mean this is their primary activity? No, not necessarily. If they’re a baseball player on an Ivy League baseball coach’s radar, chances are high baseball is the priority. But college admissions counselors want to know that you give back, they want to know you’ve got a big heart. So what’s the trick? Do some volunteering. And start volunteering at the beginning of high school — not right before you send in your applications to Ivy League colleges.
College admissions counselors are no dummies. When they see that you started volunteering with Key Club the Tuesday before you sent in your application, they know why you did this. And it’s not going to work. College admissions isn’t about volunteering in a number of activities and doing little to nothing in these activities. It’s about finding a couple of activities and really putting your full efforts into them. So get involved early. If you’re really passionate about volunteering in a specific area and your school or community doesn’t offer anything of the sort, start your own organization. Show your entrepreneurial skills. Get fellow students involved who are just as passionate.
That’s the kind of student Ivy League admissions counselors seek. They don’t want the kid who performs one hour a week of community service with Key Club and two hours every other week with Habitat for Humanity. And don’t just volunteer to get into college. Volunteer because you actually want to make the world a better place. That, after all, is the point. While you’re here, check out this post on Volunteering and College Admission.