Just because

Seth Godin’s post, Is kindness a luxury?, points out that someone who’s only willing to be kind when they have enough money, confidence, and everything else they want is actually working against getting where they want to go. Kindness is the foundation. If you start with that, you get closer to satisfying those other desires. And you enjoy the ride along the way.

That sentiment certainly applies to high school students (to all of us, really). But it’s also a good reminder for those who want to get into college that you shouldn’t reserve your best efforts, qualities, or contributions for only those tasks where there’s a guaranteed payoff.

Raise your hand in class even if participation doesn’t count toward your grade.

Help round up the balls after basketball practice because that’s what good teammates do.

Stay late to help clean up after the school dance even when it’s not your job.

Write thank you notes to your teachers and counselors who helped you apply to college, even if you don’t get into your first choice school.

Be nice to the kid that nobody else is nice to even if you’ll take some immature guff from students who are too insecure to do the same.

You can’t list most of these on your college applications. But you’re more likely to get rewards if you make a habit of doing the right thing just because.