Turning the Tide
Are you considering a mission trip in order to amp up the “community service” portion of your college application? Don’t bother. Most university admissions officers are savvy to this trend and aren’t impressed by a two week voluntourism project. What they are impressed by is sustained commitment to a volunteer project or charitable focus.
They want your contributions to be meaningful to the community you serve and also meaningful in making you who you are.
What does that mean for you? It’s not about the hours, it’s about engagement.
If your high school requires community service hours, try to pick projects that last throughout the year, or which share similar goals. Volunteer for organizations whose mission you admire, not just what’s most convenient. They’re also looking for volunteerism that shows “contributions to others in ways that reflect varying types of family and community contributions across race, culture and class.” See more at “Turning the Tide” http://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-mcc/files/20160120_mcc_ttt_execsummary_interactive.pdf
For those who are currently living abroad, there are lots of organizations that can use your help and fulfill this goal. So, who needs voluntourism anyway?