Your contribution track record

“How will you contribute to the campus community?”

Colleges wonder this when considering every applicant. In fact, many colleges outright ask that question as an essay prompt within the application. As you progress through high school, it’s worth considering the examples you’re setting that show your potential to contribute as a college student.

What is “the campus community”? It’s the students, the faculty, even the residents who live near the school.  The football team, the classmates in your French Lit 201 class, your French Lit 201 professor, the members of a club or organization, the residents in your dorm, and your roommate are all part of the campus community.

In the college admissions sense, any effort you make that benefits one or more members of that community besides just yourself counts as a contribution. Volunteering, playing in the marching band, leading campus organizations, helping your roommate pass calculus, playing intramural sports, raising your hand in class—every one of those actions has an effect on those around you. It may or may not be an act of pure service. But your effort still amounts to a contribution.

And the best way to show colleges your potential to contribute to their campus community? Contribute to your current campus community.

Accolades, awards, and recognition are all effective ways to demonstrate your level of achievement. But contributions don’t necessitate formal recognition. Even the slowest runner on the cross country team can still find a way to contribute. In fact, the ability to make an impact even when you’re not the smartest or the fastest or best is an even stronger sign of your potential to contribute. It shows colleges that no matter where you choose to involve yourself, you’ll always find a way to make something happen.

As you consider ways to boost your chances of admission to the colleges that interest you, look for opportunities to get even more involved in whatever it is you choose to do. You’ll show plenty of potential with a strong contribution track record.