Community service has long been one of those elusive factors on college admissions. What kids of community service should teens be pursuing, how often and how long?
A recent study of college admissions counselors (admittedly done by a company that helps high school counselors track community service hours on a web platform) concluded that community service IS very important, but it’s not necessarily because they are looking for altruistic students, or students more likely to graduate. Instead, the top three factors in why colleges look at community service included:
1. “Indicator that the student is likely to be active in student social life outside the classroom.”
2. “Indicator that the student is likely to contribute to the school’s mission”
3. “Indicator that the student shares the school’s values.”
The survey also found that colleges are most likely to use community service as a decision-making factor between two otherwise similar candidates (i.e. same test scores, class rank, extracurricular involvement).
The take away from this? Highlight those three factors when talking about your community service. Also, get involved in community service that is interesting and relevant to you, which allows you to get involved deeply, rather than superficially.
Read more about the results of the survey on Forbes.