Colleges that really like to see community service

I often see lists of extracurriculars that “count” towards Ivy/T20 admissions but many of these seem extremely hard for an average student to achieve (I saw “being an Olympic athlete” listed as an extracurricular). My DD (in HS) received the Bronze Presidential Service Award last year and is aiming towards Silver/Gold this year. Are there colleges that specifically really like to see community service, especially community service in the local community?

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Brandeis, all the quaker schools, many of the Jesuit schools. Too many to list without a better understanding of what your kid is looking for in a college!!! Location, budget, stats???

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Many many colleges like to see community service . More important than any community service award is a true interest in helping the community , a resume that indicates a longstanding relationship with that community, and the ability to articulate why it matters. Community service is not a box to check, it has to matter.

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The awards don’t matter. What she does, what impact sue makes…that’s what matters! Anything you can quantify…hours, impact.

But you need to do for the right reason…not to get into college because for a top 20, odds are she won’t.

Be true to yourself. And there will be lots of colleges for her.

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Yes, all of her community service is towards local causes near/through her home/school community. I always thought it seemed disingenuous to see 14 year olds who founded multiple nonprofits or kids who went on mission trips just for a college app. but she does enjoy getting an award for her hard work haha

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she is a rising junior so no SAT score yet :slight_smile: but we are flexible for location and budget. She is strong academically - took 2 AP classes last year and plans on taking more next year. Interested in journalist or pre PT/OT at the moment

Few, if any, schools will highly value an amalgam of community service hours. If she is able to focus more on areas of interest to her and that support the overall narrative of her application, that will be more valuable than a mish-mash of school/community/religious activities that happens to add up to enough hours for an award.

Certain schools will value community service more than others, but even those schools want to see thoughtfulness of purpose, initiative, and creativity in which projects an applicant has pursued. Rather than worrying about achieving a certain number of hours, as she gets into her upper class years she should focus on being intentional about the community service. All schools will value that kind of initiative and maturity.

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Yep. Be herself and she’ll be fine. U don’t need to cure cancer. Just make a positive impact on her own way or have a job etc. think tenure and impact. It may be helping get dogs adopted at the shelter. Babysitting. Tutoring. Anything that interests her. 1-2 things. Sports. Band. School plays. All good etc

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Notre Dame and Dayton very much value volunteerism and community engagement. Very much a part of the Brothers of the Holy Cross values.

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Just to comment in more detail since you mentioned Top20/ivy: the most important thing for these schools, right on their websites for many, is the transcript, which means course rigor and grades. For this level of school, she needs to be taking the hardest courseload available at her school and make all As or very close to all As, particularly junior and senior year. If she already has straight As, make sure she is on the path to take the hardest courses offered next year(which is more than number of APs). It does not benefit her to take a lower level of a class to have time for community service, if she wants that level of school.Her community service won’t make up for any deficiencies in these areas, but it could set her apart if she has the rigor and grades.

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Look into schools that partner with foundations committed to service. One example is the Bonner Foundation. Here is a link to the schools participating.

http://www.bonner.org/bonnernetwork

Note that this particular organization has an emphasis on supporting lower income students. However, my D and several of her friends who do not qualify for need based aid participate at their school (they were accepted a bit after the initial cohort). For students who do have financial need, Bonner offers scholarships and funding for experiences.

“More important than any community service award is a true interest in helping the community , a resume that indicates a longstanding relationship with that community, and the ability to articulate why it matters.” per @2Devils

(Having issues with quote function)

Absolutely this.

My D21 was your typical CC average excellent student but had very strong ECs in community service and leadership. I don’t know that it helped much in admissions but it definitely did with merit scholarships.

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Often times a school will have service scholarships. My daughter has one at College of Charleston. She was a finalist for one at Colorado b4 she withdrew her application.

So taking a step further. Find the right school. You might then find within that school opportunities to serve and get paid. My daughter is leading a club to help the refugeee resettlement effort in her city.

I think most ‘holistic’ schools like to see service or other ‘extras’. But I think many will also provide a continued opportunity to serve.

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@2devils speaking from personal experience, I strongly disagree with this post. Applicants need to meet a benchmark but I am not sure academic rigor gets anyone into a Top20/Ivy. I would counsel deeper involvement in community service, an art, sport or other significant EC over another AP, for example.

Clark has a merit scholarship for community service. Just a random piece of info…

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No community service, except perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize, will make up for lack of rigor. Top 10 schools need to see great grades in classes with the highest rigor before ECs will even matter.

I also say this from experience. I have a student who has been recognized with some of the most prestigious service awards and scholarships in the country, had all As, but rigor that was not on par with most Ivy+ applicants. My child attends a T25 school and has a full tuition scholarship from an outside group because of the service accomplishments (which were specific, not a collection of service hours) but breaking into the top 10 or so schools requires rigor (and grades) first and foremost.

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We can agree to disagree given the difference in our personal experiences. We may actually agree anyway. The definition of rigor varies and for some EC’s, for instance in the arts, rigor often has to be compromised in order to achieve those factors that do actually make a difference, and top colleges understand that. I think we can also agree that achievements less than a Nobel or Pulitzer may make a difference :slight_smile:

Many many kids who apply to top schools have highest rigor and great grades and scores, so putting all your time and energy into academics is not going to distinguish you.

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My statement was based on multiple examples as well as advice given by highly regarded Magnet/private HS CC’s in the area who have shared data to back it up. By most rigorous I do not mean “one more AP” vs any community service, it is deeper and broader than that, and depends on what the HS offers. The OP already has a lot of community service; i was merely pointing out that deepening that for the sake of targeting certain Top schools will not matter at all if the rigor and grades are not there, and as a rising junior it is the perfect time to really hone in on those factors, if they are not already top-level.

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Yes, I do agree that top grades and highest rigor are not enough. Where I thought we disagreed was in how to choose classes if a student is interested in these highly rejective schools. You had said earlier not to bother with another AP and focus on ECs. My comment would be if the student can’t handle APs (or whatever the standard of rigor is at that high school) AND be dedicated to interesting ECs, the student won’t be competitive in a HPYSM-type applicant pool.

The poster hasn’t explicitly said where she thinks her daughter’s sweet spot for schools might be, so we are probably disagreeing on how to approach a very tiny sliver of schools. There are so many wonderful colleges where the decisions aren’t made on the razor’s edge.

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I wasn’t actually addressing your comments. I agreed with what you said initially. I was disagreeing with compmom.

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I would say most Catholic schools value community service and provide many opportunities to continue doing so in college.

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