Parents routinely ask how many hours of community service their kids must complete in order to be competitive in the college admissions process, essentially commoditizing generosity for their personal gain, which is at odds with serving the needs of others. What, then, is community service and why can volunteerism be included in the college admissions process?
To effectively practice philanthropy, Greek for a “love of humanity”, often requires students to sacrifice their time and energy, defy others expectations and even challenge their own ignorance. Yet, in a modern sense, community service has become more a mandate for academic credit, where the student who is truly generous and less concerned with reward, a minority.
Therefore, I would argue that before practicing charity, a student develop the proper motivation for serving others by reflecting on what it means to be generous and why. Then seek opportunities to serve that align with one’s particular abilities in order to increase the likelihood of serving effectively while evolving your understanding in the process.
Applicants who demonstrate a willingness to consider the needs of others are sought by college admissions officers seeking to build a community of compassionate learners. Thus, when applying to college, students, who have practiced charity mindfully, should include community service as supporting evidence, listed in an extracurricular resume or explained in an admissions essay.
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