Show some industry.

Talk about what you’ve actually done – not just the groups you’ve joined. Sure, you were in your church’s youth group. And you can put “Four years in my church youth group” in your application if you want. But if you do that, you’re not telling me much. Since I haven’t been to your church, I don’t know what your church’s youth group does. For all I know, you could be building full-scale models of Noah’s Ark and doing research at the Dead Sea, or you could all be taking a one-hour nap every Sunday. I have no idea. You have to tell me.

Set yourself apart, then, by talking about what you did over that time. Let’s say you spend four years in your church youth group serving meals to the homeless one day a week in a soup kitchen. Maybe you served an average of 150 people on each of those days in the soup kitchen (it’s OK to give an honest estimate — you’re not expected to be exact on matters like this). There are 208 weeks in four years, and that means you served 31,200 meals to homeless people during high school.

Now that’s impressive. But I’d have never known about it if all you put on your scholarship application was “Spent 4 years in church youth group,” now would I? If you want us to know you’re industrious, you have to tell us what you’ve done. That makes the difference between a boring, commodity essay and one that makes the committee’s eyes pop.

2 thoughts on “Show some industry.”

  1. Veronika Dikoun

    Hm. What if I really didn’t do much in my church youth group? (Okay, so I was never in a church youth group, but my volunteer experience could well be summed up as ‘taking a one-hour nap every Sunday.) Do you think it’s better to lie, and beef up your accomplishments, or just avoid the unimpressive facts by not going into specifics?

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