Given the remarkable competitiveness of the college admissions landscape, many students believe that they have to engage in all sorts of extracurricular activities to make their college applications stand out. As a result, many applicants strive to play an instrument, excel at a sport, join after-school clubs, participate in science competitions, and the like. However, these activities will do little to make your admissions profile more competitive if they are unrelated to your theme and narrative: the extracurricular activities you choose should closely match your unique admissions profile.
Volunteering is one of the extracurricular activities that many students participate in just to make their college applications more well-rounded. However, volunteering just to add something to your applications will not do much to impress the admissions officers. Moreover, your commitment to volunteering must be sincere if you want to use that activity to craft a stronger applicant profile.
In this article, we briefly examine some Ivy League admission strategies for incorporating volunteering into your college applications.
Admissions officers value honesty and transparency, so any volunteer work you do needs to be motivated by a genuine desire to help people. Whether you work with underprivileged children, sing at a nursing home, or serve homeless people at a soup kitchen, the admissions officers should be able to tell that you genuinely care for your community.
How much volunteering is needed to strengthen your admissions profile? One of the most important factors to consider is your level of commitment. Many high schools require their students to engage in some sort of volunteering, and the vast majority of college applicants note this in their applications. Therefore, volunteering sporadically will not set you apart from your peers. In contrast, showing exceptional commitment to an organization or a good cause for a number of years will definitely make your admissions profile stand out.
The admissions officers will be impressed if you hold an important position at the organization you volunteer with; simply filling a nondescript role will not make you stand out. Instead of being just another volunteer, try to become an indispensable member of the organization. As with any other activity, the key is to show deep commitment, initiative, and passion. Do your best to make a difference in your community and reveal your positive qualities: doing so will make your college applications much more competitive.
If you are truly dedicated to serving others, it will be relatively easy to show it in your college applications. Of course, you will have to list the names of the organizations you have served in along with the corresponding number of hours. You can also go beyond this and write about your commitment to these organizations in the personal essay or additional information section. Be sure to mention any recognitions you have received for your service. Moreover, if any of your teachers are familiar with your volunteering work, you should consider asking them for a letter of recommendation.
Clearly, it takes more than just a few hours of community service to show the admissions officers that you are a diligent, responsible, and selfless individual. If you follow the above Ivy League admission strategies, you’ll be able to craft a unique and compelling applicant profile that will highlight your hard work and regard for the well-being of others. Remember: the key is to be authentic, show commitment, and fill a key role at the organization you volunteer with. Book a consultation with Ivy League Prep for more tips on how to get accepted into the best colleges and universities.