Ivy League schools demand a lot from their applicants. Having high SAT scores, AP classes, good grades, and involvement in clubs and sports are all things that college admissions take into account when reviewing applications. But volunteering and community service is another area that colleges like to see on an applicant’s resume. Knowing what kind of volunteer work Ivy League schools smile upon will help you plan on getting into the college of your dreams.
Volunteer With Teens
According to “U.S. News and World Report,” the top colleges in America view volunteer work with DoSomething.org very favorably. Nancy Lublin, CEO of the organization, notes a trend toward colleges valuing consistency in community service work. She continues to tell “U.S. News” that when a student commits to volunteering for an organization over a period of time, it attests to college boards that the student is dedicated and stays focused on goals. Do Something.org is a non-profit group that supports troubled young people through issues of sexual identity, teen pregnancies and a number of other cases. The organization pairs volunteers to mentor troubled teens -- leadership roles that top colleges will view favorably.
As soon as you become a high school freshman, find a local shelter to volunteer with for the next four years. This may sound time consuming, but you can volunteer a few hours a week without disrupting your academic and social life. “The Huffington Post” reports that 92 percent of surveyed colleges say they are more impressed with candidates who spend four years volunteering at a shelter than they are with students who dedicate less time helping out with a project. (reference 3) You can check with the city to learn about local homeless shelters or shelters for battered women. These places are always looking for volunteers to assist in multiple sectors.
Legal & Child Services Volunteering
According to its website’s admissions page, Harvard seeks applicants of multiple backgrounds who demonstrate they have “contributed in various ways to the lives of their schools or communities” and who possess “enthusiasm, creativity and strength of character.” Finding an organization to volunteer with that demonstrates these characteristics will look good on paper. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) accepts volunteers to represent children in court custody hearings. Volunteers go through a training program, are sworn in by a judge and work on the child’s behalf. This type of volunteer work attests to a candidate’s strength of character, creativity and enthusiasm.
Academic and Cultural Hybrid Volunteering
When applying to colleges, be sure to check their admissions guidelines. You can find clues on these pages that will point you to the right direction in looking for valued volunteer work. On Princeton’s admissions page the college states it is looking for “high-achieving, intellectually gifted students from diverse backgrounds” who are “accomplished in and out of the classroom.” By volunteering in an academic sector for a cultural organization that differs from your own, you can demonstrate extracurricular experience and cultural sensitivity. Groups like the NAACP and the Pew Research Hispanic Center consist of diverse members who often embrace volunteers to help tutor their community members or assist in their archives departments.
Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.