Want to go to college in U.S.? Show compassion, not test scores

In January of 2016, a study from Harvard University proposed to reform college admissions by relying less on testing, and more on teens showcasing a demonstrated passion for learning and long-term volunteerism. Over 80 educators, including top admissions officials at major U.S. universities ranging from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University to the University of North Carolina and Purdue University, have since endorsed this initiative – for a myriad of reasons.

Frequent community service allows young minds to find causes that mean the most to them, which gives college-bound teens a better understanding of their life interests outside of just being good a math, science, or art. Volunteering gives students a practical application for their education and allows them a better idea of what they’ll like to contribute to the world and how, once they are done in academia.

Volunteerism also develops a student’s character by giving them a chance to consider themselves as part of a community and overall society, rather than focusing on themselves in an insular way. This mindset can lead to students contributing more to a college’s community and culture when they arrive on campus, but also more easily integrating them into college life, increasing their comfort on campus, and making it more likely for them to stay after freshman year.