I recently wrote a piece for the Century City Patch about community service. Can it help you get into college? The answer is this – it can’t hurt.
Community service is one of the many ways you can show colleges that you are a real person, with real interests (sometimes referred to as “passion” – we will address that in a later post) and someone who spends their time doing something other than just studying. Colleges view your essay, your teacher/counselor recommendations and your extra-curricular activities, including community service efforts, as components of your application that humanize you, illustrating your personality in ways that your grades and test scores cannot.
And most colleges look for depth. A one-time volunteer gig at a soup kitchen does not show them your dedication. Ongoing volunteering for an animal rights group, or homeless services organization, or at a health care facility will show them you care, and you are interested, in helping others in the world.
So how do you build depth? What if you volunteer for something and then decide you don’t like it? That’s ok! This is one of the many reasons that I like to work with students as early as 9th grade, so that we have time to explore different options.
A great opportunity is coming up in just a few weeks – Citizens of Our Planet’s Summer Academy will offer you a week filled with service learning as well as college prep sessions. You can download the flyer here:
If you can’t make this summer academy, think about what interests you, do some research into volunteer options and try them out. In the end, dedicated community service may spark an interest you never knew you had!