Why do schools care so much about community service anyway? From the ones I’ve met, I think of Admissions Committee members at top schools to be above-average when it comes to personal qualities like generosity and altruism. They like helping other people and are encouraged and motivated by helping people achieve their dream (e.g. getting into a top graduate school). Yes, they are in the special position of getting/having to decide who gets a spot and who doesn’t. However, they also spend a tremendous amount of time talking with prospective applicants, traveling around the world to recruit students and answer their questions, and carefully reviewing each application—even the horrible ones that are hastily thrown together and submitted “just to see if I’ll get in.” So keep all of that in mind when you are deciding whether or not you are going to take the time to volunteer. Taking time to engage in community service tells the school a lot of things about you:
- You are able to handle multiple demands on your time—work, family, and community.
- You are interested in using the skills and talents you have to improve conditions for others.
- You are reliable, pleasant, and trustworthy enough for an organization besides your employer to bring you into their environment and accept you as a part of their community.