Getting into a Good College: Community Involvement
What role does community involvement play in getting into a good college?
Community involvement is more than just a way to fill free time with things that interest you. It is an essential part of a student’s college portfolio and shows that he or she can develop personal skills.
Serving the community shows collegiate admissions boards that a student is dedicated to using his or her talents to make the world a better place. This is an important characteristic that reflects positively on personal growth throughout the school career.
On top of maintaining high academic achievement and extracurricular activities, getting out into the community may feel intimidating or overwhelming. However, there are many opportunities available to students of all ages to begin community service. Not only are these positions easy to find, but they offer benefits for personal development and college applications.
What community service says about a student
Community service says a lot about a student’s character. It shows that he or she is unselfish, willing to step in and help other people to further the greater good in the community. It also shows that a student is committed to developing concrete skills that will help him or her succeed in life, such as:
- Time management
- Civic responsibility
Volunteering during the secondary school years will allow a student to see firsthand just how much he or she can accomplish for positive change in the community. This is a powerful lesson that is best learned through experience with serving, advocating, and working with organizations and causes that the student believes in.
How does community involvement play a role in getting into college?
Colleges want to see students who serve the community through volunteering and activism. A recent survey of college admissions officers conducted by leading tech education companies shows that most respondents consider community service an important part of a student’s acceptance.
The survey also indicated that 53% of admissions officers’ use community service as a tiebreaker when deciding between equally qualified candidates.
Getting into a great school is competitive. With so many academically advanced students applying each year, colleges will be looking for students who go above and beyond getting good grades.
A student who is invested in his or her community and dedicated to serving through volunteer hours will have a competitive edge over other applicants.
Tips for community involvement
A student should first reflect on his or her values and passion in order to identify areas of interest, such as recycling initiatives or programs for underserved populations.
Use those interests as a starting point to discover local opportunities for community involvement. For example, if animals are of interest, explore volunteer positions at animal shelters and rescues. Other potential community service projects may include:
- Volunteering with local children’s organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of America
- Helping the environment by starting a community garden
- Assisting marginalized communities by working with local food banks
- Supporting special-needs individuals by serving with programs like Best Buddies
- Creating positive change in the community by writing to congressional representatives, or volunteering with local political groups and clubs
- Supporting the arts by volunteering with cultural institutions like museums and galleries
In the end, the volunteer opportunities a student chooses to participate in should follow four simple guidelines outlined by the recommendations from the Harvard Graduate School of Education:
- Meaningful, sustained community service
- Collective action that takes on community challenges
- Authentic experiences with diversity
- Service that develops gratitude and a sense of responsibility
College preparation at American Heritage School
At American Heritage School, we believe that developing the whole student is critical to creating the foundational pillars of success. College and career guidance advisers work closely with students starting in middle school, helping each person to develop his or her grades as well as his or her unique passions.
Community involvement is an important element of student development, as it builds a foundation for success in college and life. We encourage each of our students to contribute to his or her community by volunteering with organizations that represent his or her passions, interests, and talents.
American Heritage School is committed to student development. Please browse through our website to learn more about our school and all of our offerings. Contact us to schedule a personalized campus tour so you can see for yourself why we are the best.