The one question not to ask colleges

If I could pick one question not to ask a college admissions rep at any fair, presentation, or tour, here it is:

How many hours of community service are enough/look good/should I do, etc.?

I understand why kids ask. But this question, which comes up all the time, highlights everything that’s wrong with college admissions. No admissions officer will ever quote you a number. And one of the few things that will annoy them more than the question is the student or parent who won’t take “There is no magic number” for an answer and instead keeps pushing for an exact figure.

Do it because you want to help people, because it’s the right thing to do, and because it makes you feel good. Your motivation—and the resulting impact—matter much more than the total number of hours does.