Holistic admissions, which consider both qualitative and quantitative aspects of a student’s profile when making admissions decisions, have increasingly become the norm. This means that character traits like intellectual curiosity and academic integrity are in-demand for students vying for spots at competitive schools.
One of the best ways to actively demonstrate your character is through volunteering. After all, engaging with service projects to make your community a better place shows a lot of valuable qualities in a college candidate! However, since volunteering is as varied as the projects themselves, it can be difficult to keep notes.
You’re not alone.
If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering: Do I need to provide a record of my volunteer hours to colleges? What if my hours weren’t logged anywhere? What can I do? Let’s see what advice the Empowerly Research Team has to offer. Nate, one of our research experts says:
Typically, service hours are self-reported in the college application. At varying stages of the application process (during application consideration or post-admissions offer), the colleges may conduct random audits and require the student to provide proof of their contributions and experiences. If your hours are not currently logged, I’d suggest working on getting them logged ASAP so that you have a running record moving forward.
What does that documentation look like?
It can be relatively informal, so long as you include the necessary information and days/hours worked. You could even search “volunteer hours log” or similar to find a generic form to adapt for your purposes. Once you finish, try to have at least one person of authority sign off on the hours for added credibility.
By the way, Nate adds, “colleges do not have a minimum number of hours required of each candidate, especially with COVID limiting a lot of volunteer opportunities nationwide.”
Great! So we know volunteering service hours are important, but there’s no quota.
Still… what if you don’t have any volunteering under your belt yet? How can you get started from zero?
- Try searching your city or community boards to see if there are any local projects happening near you.
- Try searching the internet for online or virtual volunteering opportunities.
- Stuck searching for a service project or position that aligns with your interests? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your high school counselor or a private counselor like Empowerly. Sometimes, a list of suggestions is just what you need to get started!
We learned that holistic college admissions are becoming the norm. This means that college admissions officers are searching for qualitative traits in addition to quantitative skills and scores. Volunteering is a great pathway to put emphasis on your student’s best character traits. As long as you keep in mind a few key tips, and remember to log your hours in a way that works for you, you’re well on your way.
Have any other burning questions about college admissions? The Empowerly Research Team is part of our student experience designed to help you sort out the most helpful answers. If you feel lost for where to start, or need support throughout your college admissions journey, reach out to Empowerly today to learn more about our program.