The Ivy Coach Daily

September 3, 2011

Volunteering and College Admissions

College admissions officers don’t reserve spots in the incoming class for students who volunteer in soup kitchens.

Volunteering and college admissions. So many students and parents think that volunteering is going to get them (or their children) into college. And so many of these students and parents are wrong. Think about it like this. Do you think that college admissions officers reserve a spot in the incoming class for a homeless shelter volunteer? Do you think they reserve a spot for a kid who spends a couple of hours each week volunteering with Habitat for Humanity? The answer is an unqualified no.

Is it good to volunteer? Of course it is! Volunteering makes the world a better place. Everyone should absolutely give back in their own way. If that means coaching swimming in an impoverished neighborhood to kids who wouldn’t otherwise know how to swim, then volunteer coaching swimming! If that means serving soup to the homeless in a shelter, then serve soup to the homeless!

But don’t just volunteer in the hope of getting admitted to college. College admissions officers can see right through that.  If you’re going to volunteer, do something original. Do something that stands out.

Don’t just volunteer in a soup kitchen. That makes college admissions officers think that you have no sense of creativity – that you can’t think out of the box. Don’t just build houses a couple of hours a week for Habitat for Humanity. Be entrepreneurial. If you love swimming, coach swimming. Start a swim team. Start a learn to swim organization targeted to African American and Latino children. March to the beat of your own drummer! Start your own organization that works to help a cause close to your heart!

For more information, check out our blog on Community Service and College Admissions or on Summer Plans for College Applicants.

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