(Paraphrased) question I got from a parent on the phone yesterday:
son has an interest in medicine. So I was thinking of sending him to
stay with family in India this summer, and he could do some volunteer
work there at a local medical clinic where our family has connections. I
think there would be real value for him to experience a place where not
everyone has the advantages that he has, where he has to take the bus to
work and spend his days with people who don't have access to good
medical care. How would the colleges view that?"
"Anything your son does where he's helping other people is
a good thing. And having his eyes opened to less fortunate populations is something I would never tell you not to encourage. But if
he's really interested in being a doctor and making a difference, why
not let him seek out and secure those kinds of opportunities himself?
Why are you doing it all for him?"
Part of the value of taking on
anything in high school is the initiative you have to show to get
involved. If your parents set everything up for you and all you have to do is show
up and do what's ask of you, you'll miss out on a lot of the learning you could have done.