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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
When Saving the World Is Not Enough
In piecing together all aspects of the college admissions portfolio, the job of every student is to buff it to its glossiest sheen. Some sections are hard to polish. Test scores and grades don't lend themselves well to refurbishing, though the personal statement may be the only place to explain away foibles and fallibilities. The essay is also a self-marketing tool and one of the greatest challenges for students is selling themselves with sincerity. The Achilles heel for many students-community service.

Perhaps no aspect of the essay can be more transparently hollow than a loosely cobbled together string of volunteer accomplishments. Community service is important to colleges. Want to help eradicate poverty? Go green? Save the animals? There are many sites that tell you where to go. But they also offer this advice: it isn't hard for colleges to sense it when students are padding a resume.

A recent poll conducted reveals that seventy percent of admissions officers prefer to see students involved consistently in a single issue, rather than a large variety of different causes. A whopping 95.8% of admissions officers placed a high value on students who used a gap year to engage in a service project.

Experiences, insights, hardships, aspirations and community service all have a home in the admission essay. The art of drafting a good one depends on a student's ability to thread these concepts together in a sincere, meaningful way. Just remember, if your public services are just another series of bullet points on your resume, your reader will probably know.


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