How to make this a hook?

<p>I love to volunteer and I spend a huge chunk of my time doing so. I volunteer year round at a hospital for 3 hours per week, tutor during the school year for 2-4.5 hours per week, and sing/hang out with patients at an Alzheimer's nursing home year round for 3 hrs a week. For the next two summers I am also participating in a zoo volunteer program for 120 hours each. How would I make this into a hook? I would feel weird asking to be nominated for some sort of award because that isn't what I'm there for. Is it enough to just keep track of hours?</p>

<p>You can't really turn volunteer work into a hook.</p>

<p>That's not a hook. Generally, a hook is being a minority, being a recruited athlete or legacy. I volunteer a lot too and on my college apps I just added it in as an extracurricular and wrote how many hours/week and weeks/year I volunteered. Verifying the hours wasn't that big of a deal (BUT if you get caught lying or embellishing, then you could get in a LOT of trouble). Maybe you should consider writing your essay about your volunteer work and how it has shaped your career goals or whatever.</p>

<p>I don't know that I'd call these hooks. I'd say you have some great EC's that are going to stand out. You should keep them up. Def keep track of your hours. No award is needed, or customary, for volunteer work. I would make sure that your are involved in something at your school as well. You don't have to be class president, but you should be involved at school and your community.</p>

<p>As you are interested in your local zoo, does your school have Science National Honor Society? (SNHS). If so maybe you could work with the school sponsor and your contact at the zoo to coordinate an event for the club. A service day, what have you? That would pull the two together and show leadership.</p>

<p>Hooks are generally things like being a legacy or URM. You don't have to have a hook to be a valuable candidate.</p>

<p>ECs are not hooks. You can use your experience to great advantage in one of your essays, typically the one about a life-changing experience or major influence. For example you could write about how a particular patient or student you tutor taught you an important lesson or changed your outlook.</p>

<p>There is a thread with comments by NSM, a Ivy alum interviewer, about what constitutes impressive ECs. The post is at <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/210497-those-ecs-weak-so-what-s-good.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/210497-those-ecs-weak-so-what-s-good.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>For another take on ECs, 2 interesting articles about ECs that stand out (same author, different examples) are at How</a> to Be Impressive Without an Impressive Amount of Work and How</a> Could We Save This Ridiculously Overloaded Grind? </p>

<p>BTW keep in mind that except at the most selective schools, ECs don't really matter that much. Admission at thousands of colleges is based primarily on grades and scores. If you give an idea of the type of schools you're considering you may get some more targeted advice.</p>

<p>It's not the hours that make a difference, it's what difference you make in the lives of other people or how you have changed due to the volunteering that you've done. You can reflect that in your essay.</p>

<p>I agree with the people who have said to put it in your essay. My son tutored for 3 hours a week during the school year. He didn't do anything phenomenal with it, but he helped some people. His main CommonApp essay was about what he had done and how it affected his career plans - nothing earthshaking. But based on his admissions, it was successful. </p>

<p>I would strongly recommend picking only ONE of those items and writing your whole 250-plus words on it; you have way more than 250 words to say about each one of them and if you try to cram all of them in, it won't tell The Flyingeagle1994 Story so much as look like the TOC for the story.</p>

<p>A hook is something that would help tip an underqualified (note: I didn't say *un*qualified, but rather less qualified than the typical Twhatever candidate) applicant into the accept pile. In your case, community service could serve as an important EC, but it's unlikely to get you admitted unless it's accompanied by high numbers.</p>

<p>flying-Pick one or two ECs.
Your time is best spent studying for your SATs and getting a high gpa.
Excessive volunteerism is not going to strengthen weak SATs and a mediocre gpa.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone! All the input was very helpful.. Now I'm not so worried that I don't have a "hook" because it doesn't seem to be something one can control. Oh and I don't just volunteer so I'm not really worried about being more involved.</p>

<p>I'm a board member on Mu Alpha Theta, I'm involved in my school choir program as well as an audition choir, I sing in a church choir, I take voice lessons, mathletes, state math, and debate.<br>
I also do park district soccer and basketball. (I suck at athletics). </p>

<p>Sometimes it's very intimidating reading these threads because everyone has these crazy sick ECs.</p>

<p>Repeat after me: No one cares how many ECs you have. What matters is how much you do with them.</p>

<p>Don't be intimated by laundry lists of ECs. All that demonstrates is an ability to manage one's time and perform menial tasks (<em>cough</em> all you French club secretaries). For you, it seems like math may be your think--run with it! If that means cutting a club sport or debate (assuming I'm not misinterpreting your talents), do it!</p>

<p>volunteering is never a hook.</p>

<p>Maybe try something about passion. Talk about your experiences with animals in the zoo or something.</p>