Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2015 : Page 10

z EXTRA EDGE continued from page 9 ➍ Student Government Colleges like students who are engaged in formulating and executing policies and procedures at their school — not simply planning the prom. Elected offices and those who have responsi-bility for finances are highly valued. Colleges feel that these students are likely to be responsible citizens on campus and give back in the form of college governance and leadership. that integrates students with disabilities. One of the hottest topics on college campuses today is tolerance for individuals who are different. Colleges want students who will be leaders in teaching acceptance in their dorms and classrooms. ➑ Community Service Volunteerism on a student resume is a must. Many colleges want to see at least fifty hours per year, or about one afternoon a month. I recommend that students think about what they love to do, and then find a volunteer activity that matches. If you love to play the piano, help teach piano in an inner city music organiza-tion. If you are an avid drama student, help direct an elementary school play. Environmentalists can work for Save the Bay. Do what you love, and your time will be more enjoyable and serve as a proof point that you are passionate about that activity. ➎ Debate Team/Mock Trial Teams and activities that emphasize verbal skills are particularly well thought of because they help students be active in college classes once they matriculate. They also help develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Debate fosters an ability to think on one’s feet and to formulate a well supported argument for issues. Mock trial activities teach students legal procedure and valuable research skills. If you like to argue with your parents, these are the teams for you! ➒ Employment For some students, sports and clubs are a luxury they can’t afford. They must work to help support their families. Colleges rarely penalize a student who can’t participate in extra-curricu-lars because of family circumstances. Holding down a job shows responsibility and commitment. If you can demonstrate consistency and movement in attaining higher level positions (assistant manager, etc.), that’s even better. ➏ Internships, Research Opportunities Performing research outside of school is highly valued if you intend to pursue a medical or scientific career. It shows commit-ment to your field and gives colleges confidence that you understand higher level research protocols. Internships in any field will also impress a college, from working in an architectural firm to shadowing a physical therapist. Any opportunity that you seek out to learn more about a profession is valued by college admissions officers. ➓ Sports I intentionally placed sports last because so many students today are athletes. Seasonal sports have become year-round commit-ments, and travel teams dominate the lives of many families. There is no doubt that sports are a great opportunity to learn team work and stay healthy. However, colleges see so many athletes that it doesn’t stand out at many institutions. And, sadly, ➐ Diversity Club It doesn’t matter if you belong to a multi-cultural organization, an interfaith group, the gay-straight student alliance or a team 10 RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I HIGHER LE ARNING I 2015

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