Does starting a non-profit for a good cause help with admissions? Does starting during senior year is ok?

Doing this as a senior will likely look like a transparent attempt to boost your app, which is what it seems right now.

It’s okay to start a nonprofit. At this stage though, you are better off expanding the role you have in things that are already on your resume. Lead a project, mentor younger students, improve the outreach of your club, work to bring needed changes that will help the club down the road.

Starting a nonprofit will bring scrutiny to your app. If you do this, you go all in. What lasting change is your motivation? You are not the first person to do this, so you’d better have a good reason as to why you create a new group, rather than doing your best for an existing one.

Ladies and Gentleman, may I present the most overused EC of 2020. Starting a YouTube channel has now slipped to #2.

Without getting into semantics on the definition of non-profit and 501(c)(3), starting a non-profit for the purpose of assisting people long after you’ve left HS is great. The challenge is that many students want to do so to pad their resumes thinking that college admissions simply requires completing a checklist. Start a non-profit. Check. Publish a book. Check. Get 100K views on my YouTube channel. Check. Unfortunately, admissions does not work that way, and AOs will see right through the obvious ploys.

MIT actually says it really well:

The person who starts a non-profit will intrigue the AO not simply because s/he checked a box, but because of other factors related to it, some of which are intangible. The same, though, can be said for other ECs.

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Also, what you do is important. Not the tax status.

Can I agree with @skieurope more than once?