So many parents and students are under the impression that volunteering is essential to find success in the Ivy League admissions process. It used to be that well-rounded students (students with no singular amazing talent but who excelled at a variety of things like three sports, a musical instrument, etc.) stood better odds in the Ivy League admissions process than other candidates. Many folks now know the common knowledge that this is no longer the case and it hasn’t been the case for years. Ivy League colleges want uniquely talented students (in one particular area) to form a well-rounded class of talented students.
But, as we said, this isn’t news. It’s been like this for quite a while and parents and students typically nod their heads that they know this and totally get it. But then why oh why do parents and students think Ivy League admissions counselors will be impressed because your child completes 16 hours of community service a week in a variety of activities? Don’t get us wrong — it’s nice that your child is giving back to the world — but do you really think an Ivy League admissions counselor is going to be floored by this? How does this reflect a uniquely talented individual? How does volunteering in a slew of volunteer activities make you special? Don’t you realize that there are tons of parents like you boasting about this very same “achievement?” It never ceases to amaze us.
If you’re a student who loves volunteering, that’s great! Roll up your sleeves and do something exceptional in one volunteer activity. Make real progress. Start something incredible. Whatever that activity is — just put all of your heart and soul into it. Don’t just join a bunch of volunteer activities because you think it’ll improve your odds of admission to an Ivy League school. It won’t. We promise you that. It’ll make you anything but unique. It’ll make you well-rounded. And do Ivy League schools want well-rounded students? No!