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Where does this factor in the admission process?

sath23sath23 4 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
Apart from the "typical" ECs most high school students do like sports, music, etc. my school(quite selective) organized various trips for us to learn, work, and grow. Where do these factor into the admission process? Do you see them as significant or "different"?

1. A trip to rural India to study the economy, geography, and conditions in the area. During our visit(1 week) we found water scarcity to be a major issue. Therefore, we also did research and studied watershed conservation methods. We engaged with a local NGO to understand and possibly help local farmers.

2. A trip to learn about sustainable living practices and understand more eco-friendly sources of renewable energy. We lived without "luxuries" for a week and met a lot of people to better understand these relevant issues.

3. A trip to northern India to help the underprivileged. We also worked with fighting hunger and homelessness in these areas. We worked with local government agencies and NGOs to learn and help those who are poor.

4. A trip to Southern Tamilnadu to work toward ecological conservation in the Niligiri Hills.
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Replies to: Where does this factor in the admission process?

  • twogirlstwogirls 7199 replies7 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 16
    You stated that you lived without “luxuries” for a week while in India, but what you fail to recognize is that these trips, in and of themselves, are considered “luxuries” for most HS students. I doubt that these trips will tip the scales in your favor, despite your good intentions to help with homelessness etc. Are they a great learning experience for you? Absolutely!

    I think if you took the initiative...and time....to help out in your own community...with homelessness, hunger, etc...that would make more of an impact (if it’s genuine). There is something to be said for the HS student who visits his elderly neighbor every Sunday...for two years...just because he wants to.
    edited August 16
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38873 replies6866 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    The answer to questions 1 through 4 is identical.

    Service learning will be viewed as an EC. How effective it will be in a college application depends, in part, on how it shaped and guided you as shown in your essays.

    Will the examples in 1-4 "impress" an AO more than the kid that spent $2,75 for a MetroCard swipe to do the exact same thing at 125th Street in Manhattan? Unlikely. In fact it may have the opposite effect as many of these travel programs smack of privilege.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6989 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agreed with all the above posters. International volunteerism can scream of privilege, especially if you point out the "living without luxuries."

    I totally get that seeing that kind of poverty can be crazy good perspective for a young person growing up in the US and is a valuable tool in expanding self awareness, but it's not going to tip any scale for admission.

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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3953 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree with the above comments. This is like the kids that go to "x" country on a family trip to work in an orphanage for a day or two then go back to their full pay resorts.
    But it's also how you shape your experience.
    My daughter who is in college (get some popcorn 🍿) just came from Borneo Indonesia. She worked with a village nonprofit to produce a film festival to educate the indigenous people on the problem of forest fires and their affects on the orangutans that are becoming extinct and the cutting /burning of the palm oil trees and the effects of local pollution on the indigenous people. Actually doing everything to creating subtitles for the movie to handing out gas /face masks to schools and homes.
    So these organizations were started by 18-24 year olds since their government was doing nothing to regulate both these issues.
    So I asked my daughter "what did you learn from your experience" She said "to act now * When you see injustice, do something now to create a solution".
    So I ask you, "What did you learn from your experience and how do you become part of the solution"?
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2378 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "We lived without "luxuries" for a week"
    At the risk of piling on, I'd lose this kind of attitude, students will be applying that have lived without luxuries or maybe even necessities their entire life. Anyway, I'd lean to the first one on water, I was watching a segment on cnn about current water shortages in parts of India and Africa, and it's pretty dire, they could use all the help they can get.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3953 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29249 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s usually a good idea to have some things in those EC, Community Service, Paying Job parts if the application.
    But your application is viewed in the light of your circumstances and privileges. AOs at selective colleges can easily sniff out bought experiences. Clearly someone paid for you to do all of these things, which shows a lot of privilege. Certainly better than spending money and trips on Club Med.

    My one son did local Habitat for Humanity projects—not the trips away, but local. He wrote and did a photo essay of cleanup after local flooding that had our area declared a national disaster zone I know that made tremendous impact to AOs. One actually made a remark about how refreshing it was to see REAL community service instead of paid activities.

    Close friend of ours is CEO to a water to 3rd world company. The admissions counselor they hired at great cost to help their son in the selective schools application process literally said thAt it would be the “kiss of death” to focus on the activities he did in that area. Reeks of privilege and nepotism. I think assessment was extreme but I’m not a paid college consultant nor am I an AO.

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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8839 replies325 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    my school(quite selective) organized various trips for us to learn

    It was very nice of your school to do that for you. So all you and your friends had to do was show up? What country are you from? If you're from India it's great that your school is trying to get you involved with other types of families there. If you're from the US, I have to wonder why they aren't encouraging you to get involved here. We have plenty of low income families.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1647 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Factors in that you can be full pay. These trips are places most will never take. Just the flight alone is quite the luxury. It's hard to find you interesting when your money affords you such experiences.

    I'd be more impressed if you did things within your own community to help others that didn't cost you a dime. Mostly if you gave of your time. JMHO
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 139 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @sath23 Do you live in India?
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  • sath23sath23 4 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Guys this is my own community. I live in India(though I am a U.S citizen). All these trips were to places within 5 hours of my home city. Further, many of you mentioned the expenses involved. They weren't expensive. I always traveled on the lowest class on the local train that took us there. We stayed in hostels. These trips weren't "bought", I paid nothing to go on them. They were organized by my school and those who wished to contribute and help society were welcome to go. The reason I stated the fact that there were no luxuries was to show the magnitude of living conditions. I want to highlight these trips weren't fancy getaways. It was by no means a comparison to my usual experience. Therefore, this trip was not international. I did this in my own community to the locals of my state. I paid close to nothing. I simply wanted to help and learn.

    My apologies for not providing all the relevant details in my thread. I hope you can contribute your insight with the additional info.

    @twogirls @Knowsstuff @austinmshauri @Empireapple
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9147 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So these aren’t really trips, and you should make that clear. Frame these all as either research projects or volunteer projects. I think you simply need to use the right wording. It seems that your primarily involved with environmental stuff. If that’s relevant to your major, list it higher.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5596 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You may do better to write an essay about what you have learned about yourself by being an expat. You could list this as a single EC. (Semi-annual service learning trips.)

    DS went to a school that has rich (and mandatory) service learning opportunities. Some local, some international. All tied into course work pre and post trip and all rather immersive. The college counselors forbade them for writing their essays about it for all the reasons above.

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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29249 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your school (quite selective), will likely know how to best showcase these trips. It is important that you tie them in with the concerns you and your school have in addressing issues your country faces so that they are not viewed as bought experiences to pad the resume.

    It’s wonderful that your school sponsors trips and activities to see first hand, and work on these issues. This is community service. It’s also part of the school curriculum. It gives you excellent opportunities to tie this in with your future plans. Also you can work these experiences into your essays

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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3953 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I will go back to my question "what did you learn from your experiences?.??" I think it's great that you have an interest in all of this. How does that translate to you being part of a university community?
    My daughter is part of a food co-op and they eat dinner (vegetarian) daily together with like 25 students. They also try not to use plastic wrap and Styrofoam containers. It's important to them.
    What is important to you?
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