Community Service Matters On College Applications

When it comes to teens and philanthropy, one of the biggest challenges is knowing how to get them involved.  There are so many different causes, foundations. and charities out there and teens only have so much free time - when I was in high school, I never knew quite how to go about volunteering and felt like a few weekends here and there wouldn’t amount to anything.

DoSomething.org wants to change that notion by showing teens that they have the power to make a difference.  According to their “About Us,” the goal is to “inspire, support and celebrate a generation of doers: people who see the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.” They go on to list five guidelines to live by, which essentially emphasizes the value of teens (1. Believe in teenagers; 2. Trust teenagers; 3. Celebrate teens; and so on).

They recently surveyed 25 of the top 50 universities in the United States to determine what impact community service has on college admissions. Today, DoSomething.org released the results of the 22-question Community Service and College Admissions survey. Here’s a brief look at what they found:

1. Passion and consistency valued most. When asked, “Which would you value more: four years volunteering at a local community center or one month helping orphans in Somalia?” 100% surveyed chose four years at a community shelter.

2. Time spent worth more than money raised. When asked, “Which would you value more: raising $100,000 for the homeless or spending a summer working at a homeless shelter?” 68% surveyed valued time spent over money raised.

3. Community Service Ranks Fourth Amongst Valued Criteria. When asked to rank GPA, SATs, legacy, reference letters, extra curricular activities, and community service, 37.5% surveyed ranked community service fourth.

4. Organizational affiliations don’t matter. When asked, “Does being a member of a service organization like the Boy Scouts have more or less weight than an unaffiliated student volunteering?” 84% surveyed gave no weight to such affiliations.

5. Tell your story well. When asked to list the three words admissions officers most like to see when students describe their community service, the most recurring words were commitment,” “passionate,” and “dedication.”

Hmmm….So college hopefuls can gain serious application points just for throwing words like “dedicated” and “passionate” around a lot? Too bad I’m already in college!

2 Comments

  1. Allison

    Are the survey results available online somewhere? I couldn’t find them on their website. Thanks!

  2. anastasia

    Hey Allison—here’s the contact on the press release:

    Janell Vantrease
    Sunshine, Sachs & Associates
    212-691-2800
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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