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Dickinson parents: High school volunteer work?

inthegardeninthegarden 1114 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
Daughter is a junior. So far, Dickinson checks most boxes for her, more so than any other school that we have visited or researched for a number of reasons (though no need to detail those reasons here). She felt excited about the school when we visited.

In most ways it seems Dickinson may be a good match school when the time comes to apply next year. The one area she is weak in is in volunteer work. Dickinson, however, lists volunteer work in their "Most Important" category along with GPA and course rigor in the Common data set.

My question is, if your child was admitted to Dickinson, what intensity/quality of volunteer work did your child have? Do you know anyone admitted without significant volunteer work?

So far, daughter has only participated in the school-related volunteer work required for graduation. She's certainly not an uncaring person (and I've been encouraging her to get involved in the community in some way for a few years) but she's been busy with other ECs and not a type-A person who can juggle a lot and keep grades high without anxiety. Marching band alone takes up more than twenty hours per week in the fall, when you include after-school practices, football games Friday nights and 12-14-hour days every Saturday traveling to out-of-town competitions into November. Add in another instrument (lessons and practice) and that doesn't leave a lot of time. ECs are listed in Dickinson's "Important" category, but not "Most Important".

Does this mean she should think of Dickinson as an unlikely admit? She recently applied to start doing volunteer work this fall but she'll unlikely be able to do more than an hour or two per week (and I dont think her chosen activity will look terribly impressive to adcoms, even if it's meaningful to her). Too little, too late for this school?
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Replies to: Dickinson parents: High school volunteer work?

  • mom2andmom2and 2820 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    My son was admitted a few years ago with fairly limited volunteer experience and no leadership in his ECs. His main EC was his sport, which he played both for the HS and on a club team. He also participated for all four years in some clubs and volunteered a bit. He loved Dickinson, but with no merit money chose a less costly option.

    If she is already involved with school-based volunteer work, perhaps she can bump up her participation. Or find one other volunteer gig.
    edited September 11
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1114 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    [email protected] gives me some encouragement. I wonder if Dickinson's priorities have changed in that regard in the last few years?

    Had been wondering how to interpret Dickinson's CDS....whether it literally means volunteer work is an essential component of the application, or if it simply means that any significant volunteer work a student does will have a favorable impact IF it is a part of the application (but not a serious flaw if the student has other strengths to offer).

    @intparent?
    edited September 11
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9155 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It makes me chuckle when a parent or student says they “only” volunteered, worked, whatever. Your daughter HAS volunteered. I highly doubt Dickinson would say no just because the volunteering wasn’t done off campus.

    FWIW, my D had only minor volunteering experience and was accepted with a nice scholarship four years ago. She nearly chose Dickinson and we all think it’s a great school.

    @intparent might have some thoughts on this.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1114 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That's helpful, @Lindagaf, thanks! Some of her volunteer work was done off of school grounds (i.e. cleanup crews, tree-planting) but organized by teachers and required no personal initiative whatsoever. She'll be inducted to NHS this fall but her school chapter does very little other than pose for photos, it seems.

    She has applied to shadow and work with the activities director for an assisted living center... playing music, visiting, doing crafts, games and other activities with the elderly. She has no plans for a related career but it should expand her perspective on life (and her heart). We have a very large elderly population in our town.

    Sadly, it looks like our Dickinson expert @intparent said her last goodbyes in July...another CC casualty who will be missed :(
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3430 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @inthegarden My D17 applied and was admitted with their top merit scholarship. Her volunteer work/community service was minimal at best, because of a very time consuming EC. It didn't seem to hurt her admissions results, at Dickinson or at comparable LACs to which she applied.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1114 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thank you, @mamaedefamilia, another sign of encouragement. I hope D21 follows up with the volunteer work (for its own sake) but if she doesn't do anything earthshaking it seems it won't hurt her.
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