Selfish Volunteering

High school students faced with stiff competition at top schools are stepping-up their volunteering less out of the goodness of their hearts and more to get to the head of the class, according to last Friday's Wall Street Journal.  But colleges may not be falling for it, which could dissuade teens from volunteering and lead to labor shortages for nonprofits. Volunteering_1

One educational consultant says that mandatory volunteer work, which is common at many private schools, just "makes a lot of kids from the same school look the same."  Another argues that requiring volunteer work makes it "by definition not 'volunteer' activities" (No shit.  Leave it to an academic consultant to make such a nuanced observation).

Would it be better if high schools didn't require volunteer work so colleges would know which students are truly committed to getting ahead community service? That probably won't happen, so teens may have to go well beyond any mandatory volunteering to gain an edge with college recruiters.

"When it does as much for them as it does for the recipient, that's when it makes a difference", said one private school official.

I guess when it comes to college-bound teens and volunteering, being a little selfish just isn't good enough.

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