If you are looking at giving your SAT or your ACT and heading abroad for your Undergraduate degree, congratulations! You will have a great time, from both a learning and lifestyle perspective.
You will know that your Application can stand out in many ways. You can have a stellar score on the SAT or the ACT. You can have great marks or grades throughout your school career. You can spend months on your essays, so that they reflect deep thought and intent to succeed better than anyone else’s do. You can work with the best counselors and experts available, so that your coaches keep you one step ahead of the competition, always.
You can also add to your profile, by acquiring experience that not many in your application class will have. One great example of this is Volunteer work, where you spend your time, free of cost, working with a non profit or NGO to bring social impact. Most people will tell you that this is work which will put a smile on both your face and the faces of those whom you are helping, and substantially improve the quality of your application.
But how exactly will this happen? In this Jamboree special feature, we take you through some of the specifics of how volunteer work with an NGO can help your application for undergraduate studies abroad:
It makes your application more complete
Volunteer work can help your chances of getting into a university abroad in many different ways. Since many NGOs are either small or have a flat management structure, you will be able to build networks with senior, respected professionals at leadership levels. A recommendation by such people could be very helpful – both because of their credibility, and the fact that they have likely worked very closely with you, and can write a richer account of your skills.
In addition, you will be able to write about your volunteer work powerfully, and add to your profile as portrayed in your essays and elsewhere in your application.
It can speak volumes for your team work skills
If you are able to demonstrate, through your application, that you had significant impact in your non profit work, admissions boards will assume that you can work well with a team, given that achieving anything at all in an NGO depends on how well one can leverage the skills of one’s colleagues.
The very skills that help you do great things in a volunteer setting – resourcefulness, working under budget constraints, and thinking of ways to solve problems – are things that your dream colleges value as being components of good people to be a part of their undergraduate cohorts.
You get to practice and demonstrate leadership
The key to creating advantages for yourself while applying for undergraduate studies abroad is differentiation. If you can show that you have proven leadership skills, that is always one sure way to pull ahead of the pack, since not many have had a chance to demonstrate this skill.
This is something that you are almost guaranteed in any volunteer work. Since you will be managing operations of large scope almost single handed, you will have to pull together resources and people to make your target happen. Since you will have to make people work for almost nothing, your ability to motivate will be honed and perfected.
You can speak about impact greater than that in any other project or award in your profile
Social impact is always huge, and sometimes unquantifiable. Even with a few months of work with an NGO, you might be able to say that you changed the life of one person, and this alone is a statement that could transform the quality of your application. No matter what else you have accomplished, this achievement will shine brightly in your application, and create another spike in your profile that will make it harder for any undergraduate admissions board to ignore your candidature.
Your passion will shine through in any account of your volunteer work
Another valuable way to create differentiation in your application is to show that you are deeply invested in everything that you take up. When you talk about any volunteer work, this is usually taken care of automatically; the very fact that you are doing it at all speaks volumes about your dedication, and your account of your work in your essays is a great opportunity for you to show how important the work was for you – both personally and professionally.
It will help you while looking for jobs and internships once you secure undergraduate admission abroad
When you do any work for a non profit, you experience a microcosm of what it is like to work in a professional setting anywhere. This is something that can find its way to your resume once you have secured admission abroad, and that can be valuable when you interview for internships or jobs (whether part time or full time) in your life as an undergraduate.
Employers across the world value every kind of professional experience, and volunteer work is especially valuable to them, since it provides an indication that the candidate in question can get things done on the ground, and can pull together resources and people to ensure success in any assignment. For them, work with an NGO is often a good indicator of a ‘can do’ attitude, something in which they set a lot of stock.
It can help you get scholarships to partly fund your undergraduate education
Finally, in case you are looking for financial assistance for your undergraduate education, volunteer work can help here as well. In case you are approaching a large trust for this purpose, they have limited scholarships that they can give, and a large number of applicants.
They are often happy to choose those with a strong profile who have worked in an NGO, because this is further evidence of social responsibility, and indication that the student in question could do well in his / her career abroad. In addition, any fund raising skills you acquire in your volunteer work will likely help you build a better scholarship application profile for yourself, when the time comes.
It is a huge boost to personal satisfaction
Quite apart from all the measurable impact that volunteer work has on your application, it also makes you much happier. Helping someone in need can brighten your whole day, and the magnitude of the good work that you are doing can wash away all the stress of completing an entire application.
Working with an NGO and helping other people will help put you in the right frame of mind to manage your application along with everything else in your school or college life. Its benefits – both tangible and intangible – are immense.
We hope that this Jamboree in depth feature has helped in crystallizing your thoughts on how and why to spend time on volunteer work ahead of your SAT and ACT. The benefits in terms of both application quality improvement and personal satisfaction can scarcely be overstated, and we have worked with many students for whom such work definitely made a difference.
If you would like to learn more about this or about any other aspect of undergraduate admissions and SAT / ACT test prep and our unique coaching methodology, do call one of our centres or use our website to set up time with one of our counselors. We will be able to craft a plan to get you into your dream schools, and start your career off on the best possible note.
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