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College admissions officers first look at test scores, grades, and the rigor of courses students take in high school. However, what are also important in the admissions process are a student’s extracurricular activities. Students are a representative of the college they attend, and it goes without saying colleges care about the character of the people they admit to their school. Extracurricular activities are a good indicator of what a student does during his or her time spent outside of school. In other words, what a student is doing over summer vacation and on the weekends, gives admission officers a good idea of what kind of individual they are considering admitting to their college. No doubt about it, volunteerism is very important; however, admissions officers are looking for real hands-on involvement. There is a difference between the student that volunteers once to collect money for a charity and the student who spends every Saturday helping clean up city parks. The... read more

As competition among college applicants has become more dog-eat-dog, high school seniors are more pressured than ever to distinguish themselves from other applicants. Volunteering and community service are great ways to do exactly that. What to Avoid Many students nowadays make it obvious that they are volunteering simply because they have to in order to get into college. Many of our students volunteer at one of two places: the library or hospital. When asked why they are volunteering at these locations, they answer, "To get into college." It is important to choose a cause close to your heart. If you love animals, volunteer at the animal shelter. If you are passionate about helping those without food or a place to sleep, volunteer at a homeless shelter. The point is, whatever you do, have a good reason for doing it. It will make you stand out on a college application. How Long to Volunteer Commit to a single cause over a long period of time... read more

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