It is common for parents and students alike to ask, “How many community service hours do I need to get into college?” The answer: there is no magic number. For community service, regardless of whether you dream of attending Stanford or any other college, the commitment and the significance of your community involvement far outweighs the sheer number of hours you spend volunteering.
There is no magic number when it comes to the number of hours you need to get into college. Colleges will ask for how long you have been involved with an activity, how many hours per week you are involved with it, and the number of weeks per year. That is it.
Yet in a stack of 100,000 applications, the time spent volunteering does not paint a picture of why it matters to you, or more importantly, why it matters to an admissions officer. To tell this story, expect to write an essay describing why the service matters and shapes your view of the world and your position in it. Highlight what you learned in the activity and how it has influenced your perspective about your future plans. If you were a leader in the activity, it is also beneficial to explore what you learn not only in terms of the outcome but also how you can increase your impact in society. When admissions officers review your application, this is what they will be assessing—your ability to make a difference on their campus.
As this school year is in full swing, look for opportunities to make a difference and grow. Focus just on the few activities that matter the most to you. This will not only build your resume for college but, more importantly, provide you with the opportunity to learn about yourself and how you will contribute to society going forward.